Working with Low-Income Cases: Lessons for the Child Support Enforcement System from Parents' Fair Share. V. Conclusion


Recent reforms of the federal and state public-assistance and child support systems increase the need for creative and successful approaches to CSE. With the likely introduction of time limits in public assistance, low-income families will increasingly have to rely on parents’ income, and the child support system is under great pressure to improve its performance. Until recently, many IV-D systems spent little effort on cases involving low-income obligors, believing that they offered little prospect of financial return. Thus, meeting the challenge of the new reforms will require careful thought as to the best ways to allocate the already strained resources of state and local CSE agencies. The operational experience of PFS suggests that current enforcement remedies — based largely on a view of the world more appropriate for higher-income families — are inadequate to address the underlying problem of ensuring that children living in poverty get as much support as they can from both parents.

The early lessons from PFS provide insights into ways to improve CSE administration. Future research results from the demonstration will address the issue of the longer-term effectiveness of the program in increasing the employment, earnings, and child support of the NCPs and their ability to participate consistently and effectively