Earnings and Child Support Participation Among Reentering Fathers

09/13/2017

A father’s incarceration can represent a serious threat to economic stability for his children and family, yet little is known about earnings and child support payments among justice-involved men over the course of incarceration and release. This brief presents findings on pre- and post-incarceration wages and child support participation in the five impact sites of the Multi-site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering (MFS-IP). This analysis matches MFS-IP survey data with state administrative data on wages and child support participation to examine this gap. We find that most of men in the study and their partners were involved with the child support system; the majority had at least one child support case for one or more of their children. And, child support arrears often increased substantially during incarceration. With regard to earnings, the findings suggest that pre- and post-incarceration earnings were not sufficient to avoid poverty.

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