Working with Low-Income Cases: Lessons for the Child Support Enforcement System from Parents' Fair Share. A. Probability of Sanctions


While NCPs who fail to appear in response to a notice or fail to meet their existing child support obligations are theoretically subject to serious penalties, including the possibility of arrest and incarceration, few of the CSE agencies in PFS consistently applied these sanctions. This is probably due to several factors, including (1) the cumbersome legal procedures necessary to support such action — that is, official service of process, contempt hearing before a judge, and issuance of a bench warrant; (2) shortage of jail space for those not paying their child support; and (3) the fact that CSE agencies usually rely for arrest actions on other agencies such as sheriff’s offices, which often accord child support violations a low priority. Most sites in PFS also indicated that the majority of NCPs who are arrested on outstanding bench warrants for child support violations have been picked up by police on unrelated charges such as traffic violations. This feeds into the perception that the CSE system is in reality a part of the criminal justice system, further alienating some parents from cooperating and raising special issues for people of color.