Characteristics of Families Using Title IV-D Services in 1997. Introduction


The purpose of this analysis is to identify the characteristics of the custodial parent families who used the services of the child support enforcement system authorized under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act in 1997. The analysis uses survey data from the Census Bureau to describe this population by various family characteristics, including income, poverty, and participation in government programs, including cash assistance. It also provides information on demographic characteristics such as the gender and marital status of the custodial parent and the residence of the noncustodial parent. Finally, it addresses the question of whether the family has an child support agreement in place or has received child support payments.

The report examines these outcomes for the entire population of child support-eligible families in 1997, as well as for those both receiving and not receiving IV-D services. In addition, subgroup analysis has been done for families reporting different racial and ethnicity status, and for those families with incomes both below or near the federal poverty line.

Participation in the IV-D system was determined by a number of variables that are detailed below and in the technical appendix. Respondents are further broken down into three categories:

  • Families receiving cash benefits through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program;
  • Families using other means-tested non-cash public assistance programs (i.e. Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)), and
  • Families that reported no public assistance usage during 1997.