Working with Low-Income Cases: Lessons for the Child Support Enforcement System from Parents' Fair Share. I. Identifying Potential Referrals to PFS


From the initial stages of the demonstration, sites participating in PFS recognized that change and instability were inherent in the lives of low-income custodial and noncustodial parents. This led to an expansion of the original definition of program eligibility to include NCPs who were underemployed and those whose affiliated CP was not currently receiving AFDC but had in the past. There was also a desire (not fulfilled in the demonstration) to expand eligibility beyond parents with a link to AFDC, to operate PFS as a preventive measure for families where the CP might otherwise need to rely on public assistance.

In seeking NCPs who were potential referrals to the program, sites also realized that the lack of a PFS-service option had led them to route some CSE cases to second-best options. The example from Montgomery County of cases routed to the PLS to determine employment was the most striking in this regard. With the new possibility of PFS, local CSE officials were able to identify many NCPs by retrieving cases from these alternates or reviewing the CSE caseload for nonpaying NCPs whose cases had received little prior enforcement priority.