Vol. 6, No. 7                                                                                                                   October 2002

Options to Help Low-Income Noncustodial Parents Manage Their Child Support Debt

By Michelle Ganow Jones

Background

Noncustodial parents can owe child support arrears for several reasons, including a failure to pay current support. Arrears can also arise if, at the time the order is entered, retroactive support, medical expenses, attorneys’ fees, genetic testing costs, and/or interest are included in the award. In that case, arrears exist from the time the order is entered. If the noncustodial parent’s children receive cash assistance, current support and accumulated arrears¾up to the amount of assistance provided¾are assigned to the state. If the children are not receiving assistance, current support goes to the family. If the children never received cash assistance, they will also benefit from any arrears collected. If the children have received cash assistance in the past, the family’s claim to arrears depends on a few factors.

Some noncustodial parents do not make child support payments because they are unwilling to do so. Yet many low-income noncustodial parents do not meet their child support obligations because they do not earn enough to pay what is ordered. For more information on the characteristics of noncustodial parents who do not pay child support, see Elaine Sorensen and Chava Zibman, Poor Dads Who Don't Pay Child Support: Deadbeats or Disadvantaged? (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, April 2001), at http://newfederalism.urban.org/html/series_b/b30/b30.html.

As policymakers acknowledge that some parents do not make regular child support payments because they are “dead broke” rather than “deadbeat,” they have increased their understanding of the burden child support arrears can place on some noncustodial parents. Some states have begun to explore options for helping low-income noncustodial parents avoid the accumulation of child support arrears or, for those who have accrued arrears, manage their debt. This Issue Note provides an overview of the issue of child support arrears, discusses strategies that states and localities can consider to help noncustodial parents avoid and reduce arrears and make current child support payments, and suggests sources for more information. More information on child support and on noncustodial parent/fatherhood issues can be found on the Welfare Information Network (WIN) web pages on Child Support, at http://www.welfareinfo.org/childsupport.asp, and Fatherhood, at http://www.welfareinfo.org/fatherho.asp.

Policy Issues

What are child support arrears and how much do noncustodial parents owe? Child support arrears are payments owed to the custodial parent and/or the state. They can include unpaid current support, unpaid retroactive support and, in some states, court and attorney fees, paternity testing costs, and birth-related medical costs. The state has a claim to arrears that accrue when a family is receiving welfare. Federal law requires families that receive welfare cash assistance to assign the state the right to claim child support as reimbursement for the cost of providing public assistance; the state may collect up to the amount of cash assistance provided. The rules for assigning and distributing child support after a family leaves welfare are complex and depend on factors such as a family’s welfare status when the arrearage occurred and the method of collection; generally, however, once a family has left welfare, child support payments go to the family first. For a discussion of child support assignment and distribution rules, see the Center for Law and Social Policy fact sheet series, Reauthorization Issues: Child Support Distribution, at http://www.clasp.org/Pubs/Pubs_ChildSupport.

In fiscal 2000 nearly 10 million noncustodial parents owed a total of $84 billion in arrears, with arrears per case ranging from approximately $4,000 per case in Louisiana to $16,000 per case in Alaska. Of the $84 billion owed, which includes cumulative arrearages from previous fiscal years, states collected only $6 billion—or less than 7 percent—of the total amount owed [see U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Annual Statistical Report for Fiscal Years 1999 and 2000 (Washington, D.C.: Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, 2000), at http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2000/datareport/].

Why are child support arrears a concern for states? The child support program has made incredible strides in demonstrating effectiveness. Since the passage of the 1996 welfare reform law, which strengthened the enforcement tools available to states, collections have increased nearly 50 percent. In 2000 states made collections in 67 percent of all cases with orders, a dramatic increase over 1994 when only 38 percent of cases with orders had collections. Yet, despite these successes, program administrators worry that the more than $80 billion in arrearages will prompt perceptions of inefficacy.

States are concerned about child support arrears for several reasons. Most fundamentally, child support enforcement agencies want to collect child support debt because it is part of their mission. Collected arrears benefit the custodial family to which they are owed or reimburse the state for the cost of providing welfare. The federal government even evaluates state performance and uses as a performance indicator the number of cases in arrears with collections.

Agencies also worry that having a significant amount of outstanding arrears will create a perception of poor program performance among state citizens and legislators. As the welfare caseload has fallen, the percentage of child support cases that are current welfare recipients has similarly declined. Because of the fall in current assistance cases, the state and federal governments retain fewer child support collections as reimbursement for the cost of providing welfare, and legislators are increasingly being asked to provide more state funds to operate the child support program. For more information on child support financing issues, see the WIN Issue Note “New Challenges for States in Financing Child Support” by Michelle Ganow Jones, at http://www.welfareinfo.org/csfinancingissuenote.htm.

In addition, some states have begun to realize that large arrears can drive noncustodial parents away from the child support system and dissuade them from making any child support payments. Some noncustodial parents are overwhelmed by the amount of arrears they owe and even work in the underground economy to avoid having child support payments withheld from their paychecks. Strategies to help noncustodial parents make regular child support payments could lead to their paying more current support and being more involved in their children’s lives.

At the same time, many states are hesitant to address the issue of child support arrears. Some see arrears as rightfully owed to the state or to the family of the children the noncustodial parent was ordered to support. These states do not want to be perceived as rewarding noncustodial parents for nonpayment, particularly when many other noncustodial parents are working hard and making sacrifices to remain current on their child support. In addition, states want to ensure that any policies to help noncustodial parents manage arrears benefit only those parents who have been unable rather than unwilling to pay child support.

What strategies can states consider to prevent the accumulation of arrears? States can consider prevention strategies to keep arrears from reaching unmanageable amounts. These strategies could include changing the calculation of retroactive child support, ensuring that child support orders accurately reflect earnings, engaging in regular review and modification of orders, revising policies on how interest and payments are calculated, and providing more job services programs to noncustodial parents.

When a support order is established, the noncustodial parent can be ordered to pay retroactive child support, which, depending on the custodial parent’s welfare status, would be owed to the custodial parent or the state. All states have retroactive support policies, but these policies vary; for example, some states do not charge for retroactive support as standard practice, while other states routinely charge for support retroactive to the date of the child’s birth. Some states also include other charges when a support order is established, such as court and attorney fees, paternity testing costs, and birth-related medical costs.

Another consideration for states is to determine the amount of child support to be paid. In cases where the noncustodial parent is willfully or voluntarily unemployed, fails to appear at a hearing, or does not provide documentation of income, income is often imputed in order to calculate support. States use different methods to impute income, basing the amount, for example, on the minimum wage, average wage, or welfare benefit in the state. This approach can prove problematic, particularly when the imputed income is higher than the noncustodial parent’s actual income and leads to a support order that a noncustodial parent finds difficult or impossible to pay.

Strategies to address this problem include ensuring the a noncustodial parent appears at his or her hearing (e.g., by sending a hearing notice that reads, “YOU MUST APPEAR”); using appropriate sources of income data, such as the National Directory of New Hires, to estimate actual income; and, when no income data are available, basing the order on as much case-specific information as possible (e.g., occupation, past work history, assets, etc.) rather than setting a default order based on imputed income. At the same time, states must be concerned about setting orders too low for higher-income noncustodial parents who fail to appear because they are “gaming” the system and know the default order will be set lower than if they provided proof of income. Some states issue provisional default orders for a limited period during which the noncustodial parent can provide current income information and have the order adjusted.

Another strategy states can consider is regular review and modification of support orders. Review and modification can be helpful in cases where income has fallen or risen since the order was established. Noncustodial parents may not always understand their right to have an order reviewed and modified. Currently, either parent can request that an order be reviewed once every three years, or sooner in some states. Either parent can also request that an order be reviewed if circumstances change significantly, as defined by the state. States could consider initiatives to make noncustodial parents more aware of their rights to review and modification, particularly when they become unemployed. Information about review and modification is especially important for noncustodial parents who are incarcerated and accruing arrearages while in jail or prison. Some states view incarceration as voluntary unemployment, however, and do not permit modification of orders for this reason.

In its reauthorization proposal, the Bush administration proposed that states be required every three years to review child support orders for families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Both the House-passed bill and Senate Finance Committee proposals contain a similar provision. For more information, see Vicki Turetsky, Side-by-Side Comparison of Child Support Provisions in House and Senate TANF Reauthorization Legislation (Washington, D.C.: Center for Law and Social Policy, July 1, 2002), at http://www.clasp.org/Pubs/DMS/Documents/1025022220.86/view_html.

States can also consider changing how they calculate interest and record child support payments. Many states charge interest on unpaid child support. States also decide whether to credit payments first to the principal or to interest; clearly, recording payments against outstanding interest first will lead to larger debt over time than if payments were first applied to the principal. On the one hand, some argue that states should reconsider interest policies to make child support debt easier for noncustodial parents to pay off. On the other hand, state officials worry that not charging interest or relaxing policies will lead to noncustodial parents paying down all other debt before child support arrears.

Finally, many advocates argue that noncustodial parents need greater access to employment supports, job training programs, and responsible parenthood services. They point to research showing that many noncustodial fathers of low-income children are just as poor and disadvantaged as the children’s mothers, but the noncustodial fathers do not have the same access to services as the custodial mothers. Congressional recognition of this inequity in access led to the expansion of eligibility under the Welfare-to-Work grants program to include noncustodial parents whose children receive TANF or are eligible for TANF. Some states and localities have initiated programs to provide services to low-income men, and Congress is considering additional funds for such programs during the current TANF reauthorization debate. For more information, see Shawn Fremstad, Zoe Neuberger, and Vicki Turetsky, Revised Side-by-Side Comparison of Family Formation Provisions in TANF Reauthorization Legislation (Washington, D.C.: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Center for Law and Social Policy, June 5, 2002), at http://www.centeronbudget.org/6-5-02tanf3.pdf.

How can states address arrears that have already accumulated? State strategies to reduce arrears or help noncustodial parents manage their child support debt include carrying out tougher enforcement, suspending enforcement tools within the state’s control, and enacting policies to reduce the arrears owed to the state.

To collect more from parents with child support arrears, states can use several new and strengthened enforcement techniques. The National Directory of New Hires matches child support orders to employment records, enabling states to identify parents who are working but not paying child support. The Financial Institution Data Match Program matches the records of delinquent parents with those of financial institutions, enabling states to “freeze and seize” the dollars. Other tools match delinquent parents with federal tax refunds. Revoking or suspending driver’s licenses, occupational licenses, and recreational licenses can also be effective in increasing collections.

Yet tougher enforcement policies may not be effective when applied to noncustodial parents who are unable to make child support payments because they are “dead broke.” Such policies could unintentionally discourage economically disadvantaged noncustodial parents from cooperating with child support enforcement agencies and could further distance them from their children.

Alternatively, some states have found that suspending enforcement tools that are within the state agency’s control can encourage noncustodial parents to make child support payments. For example, in exchange for a noncustodial parent’s cooperation with a payment plan, the state could agree not to pursue hunting and fishing license suspension, driver’s license revocation, and other policies at the discretion of the state agency. (Of course some policies, such as wage withholding, are mandated by federal or state law and cannot be negotiated.)

Finally, some states have contemplated or experimented with policies to reduce the arrears that a noncustodial parent owes the state; only a custodial parent can forgive arrears owed to that custodial parent. States could consider reducing arrears for successful participation in a service program for noncustodial parents. Another strategy is to forgive interest on arrears in exchange for a lump-sum payment. States could also create payment plans for noncustodial parents and offer debt forgiveness as an incentive to keep current with payments.

What challenges do states face in pursuing these strategies? Not all policymakers agree that noncustodial parents should receive assistance from the state to manage their child support arrears. Some believe the strategies described in this Issue Note are inconsistent with the child support program’s objectives. Some view these policies as rewarding past bad behavior. Further, it might be difficult for program administrators to ensure that the intended population (i.e., “dead broke” dads) is the one benefiting from the policies.

In addition, some of the policies described might require legislative changes, making them more difficult to implement. State legislatures might be unwilling to take action that reduces arrearages owed to the state at a time when many states are facing budget shortfalls and could benefit from child support collections. Finally, some strategies, such as job services programs for noncustodial parents, might require new or additional investments that states would be hard-pressed to find resources for in their budgets.

Research Findings

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) examined the policies used in 10 states to determine noncustodial parents’ child support obligations and analyzed the relationship between those policies and payment compliance (July 2000). The OIG review looked at policies ordering retroactive support, imputing income, and setting minimum orders. It also looked at the treatment of debt owed to the state and the use of job services programs for noncustodial parents. The agency found that none of these policies appear to be effective at generating child support payments. The OIG concluded that systematic experimentation is needed to test the effects of different policies. The agency suggested strategies that combine realistic support orders with employment services might be most effective.

The OIG made several recommendations about the policies that could be tested. First, states could test the payment effects of using different periods of retroactivity. Second, states could experiment with negotiating arrears owed to the state in return for compliance with payments. Third, states could test alternative means of identifying the actual income of low-income noncustodial parents and rely less on income imputation. Finally, the OIG recommended that state child support agencies experiment with formalizing ties to job services programs for unemployed noncustodial parents.

Elaine Sorensen of the Urban Institute is analyzing child support arrears in California on behalf of the state Department of Child Support Services after state legislators directed the state to conduct a study of the collectibility of child support arrears. The Department of Child Support Services contracted with the Urban Institute to review the data on arrears and determine who owes child support arrears, why they owe arrears, and what is collectible. Sorensen’s preliminary analysis found that 835,000 noncustodial parents in California owe a total of $14.5 billion; of those arrears, 70 percent is owed to the state.

Sorensen’s analysis reveals that the average debt held by a debtor, who may have more than one child support case, is $17,000, and the median debt is almost $9,500. Of the debtors, no recent income is reported for 25 percent; these noncustodial parents with no reported income account for 34 percent of the $14.5 billion owed. Sorensen found an inverse correlation between amount of income and debt owed (i.e., the higher the income, the lower the debt). Her analysis also included an examination of the award-to-net earnings ratio; on average, those with any reported income have child support orders that require payment of 35 cents in child support per dollar earned. A subgroup analysis revealed that the highest income group has child support orders that require payment of 10 cents per dollar earned, while the lowest income group has child support orders that require payment of $2.11 per dollar earned.

Sorensen performed a microsimulation analysis to determine the collectibility of the $14.5 billion owed. Assuming no new noncustodial parents enter the child support system and an annual payment rate of 10 percent of arrears owed, over 10 years the state would collect $2.2 billion in arrears payments. Due to accumulating interest¾in California payments are first applied to outstanding interest and then to the principal¾total arrears would reach $33.5 billion for the same period.

The Department of Child Support Services is preparing a final report of Sorensen’s findings, including reasons for accrual of the arrears. Scheduled for release at the end of 2002, this report will recommend ways to maximize collections and prevent future build-up of arrears and will include strategies for arrears management. For information on the study, contact Elaine Sorensen, Urban Institute, at 202/833-7200 or ESorense@ui.urban.org. For more information on the final report, contact Leora Gershenzon, California Department of Child Support Services, at 916/464-5195 or leora.gershenzon@dcss.ca.gov.

Jessica Pearson, Lanae Davis, and Nancy Thonnes conducted an evaluation of an experiment in Colorado to determine whether suspension of debt and retroactive support orders would lead to better child support payment behaviors among noncustodial parents (2001). Two counties in Colorado participated in the experiment, in which noncustodial parents from new intrastate child support cases that needed an order established were randomly assigned to two groups. The control group received normal treatment, while debt and retroactive support obligations were dropped for the experimental treatment group. Noncustodial parents were not aware of the different treatments between the two groups, and the two groups were statistically equivalent.

A review of the groups was conducted at six, 12, and 24 months to determine whether their payment patterns differed. The researchers found no evidence that the treatment led to better payment patterns. The two groups paid statistically equivalent amounts of child support. However, the researchers recommend that future studies should be large enough to examine effects on subgroups of noncustodial parents. They also question whether payment behavior would have been different if noncustodial parents knew about the debt and retroactive support order forgiveness.

Innovative Practices

Alaska¾Alaska has adopted several innovative practices to help low-income noncustodial parents manage their child support arrears. Officials believe the state’s high debt-to-case ratio could be the result of its former policy of setting default orders based on imputed income at the state median annual income when noncustodial parents did not appear at support hearings or did not furnish information about their income. The imputed income could have been much higher than the noncustodial parent’s actual income.

To reduce the amount of debt owed by noncustodial parents, the state child support agency encourages noncustodial parents who have accrued child support arrears as a result of high default orders to provide documentation of their actual income at the time the order was set to have their arrears recalculated. In addition, Alaska uses its computer system to compare current orders with imputed income to actual income data to look for mismatches. The state also has a program for noncustodial parents who are experiencing times of economic hardship. Case managers can work with these parents to temporarily reduce income withholding for child support payments, especially when those payments are for state-owed arrears. For more information on these initiatives, contact Richard Romero, Operations Manager, Alaska Division of Child Support Enforcement, at 907/269-6803 or Richard_Romero@revenue.state.ak.us.

Iowa¾Iowa aims to prevent the growth of arrears owed by low-income noncustodial parents through several policies. These include setting low minimum orders, not charging interest on arrears that are owed to the state, and forgiving debt owed to the state in exchange for participation in a fatherhood program and making current child support payments. For more information, contact Doris Taylor at 515/242-6098 or dtaylor1@dhs.state.ia.us.

Maryland¾Maryland’s State-Owed Debt Leveraging Program began in July 2000 and targets low-income noncustodial parents, typically defined as noncustodial parents with incomes below the poverty level. Those who participate in a community-based job training program and make their current child support payments may qualify for forgiveness of their accrued child support arrears. Forgiveness can be granted up to the full amount of their arrears depending on the length of their successful participation in the program. Currently the program is being piloted in Baltimore City. Maryland recently received a Section 1115 grant to add a research component and expand the program to another county. For more information, contact John Langrock, Assistant Director, Maryland Child Support Enforcement Agency, at 410/767-3642.

Northeast Hub Meeting on Managing Arrears¾The Northeast Hub partnership of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) includes states and other jurisdictions from three ACF regions¾Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. State child support directors and managers and their private and federal partners have convened in April 2001, November 2001, and September 2002 to discuss child support arrears management. The Northeast Hub partnership developed a framework for thinking about arrears and divided policies into four categories: prevention, order establishment, early intervention, and accrued arrears management. The partnership intends to continue to meet to evaluate state policies and identify best practices. Summaries of the first two Northeast Hub meetings cover the entire realm of arrears management issues and are available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2002/reports/arrears/index.html. For more information, contact Jens Feck, Region II program specialist, at jfeck@acf.hhs.gov.

Pennsylvania—Goodwill Industries of Pittsburgh recently completed a pilot project in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania to help low-income, noncustodial parents with at least one child on welfare become gainfully employed and responsible for the support of their children. The program used a career development-based model and paid a percentage of arrears, up to a maximum of $5,000, owed by parents who went to work and paid consistent child support. Participants received services such as parenting education, life skills training, driver’s education, and postemployment career development. Participants completing the project achieved earnings and employment gains. For more information, contact Eric Yenerall at 412/390-2212 or YENERALL@goodwillpitt.org.

Virginia—Since 1987 Virginia’s KidsFirst Campaign has successfully used the threat of enforcement action against noncustodial parents with child support arrears to encourage payment of their child support debt. The state issues arrest warrants and gives noncustodial parents an amnesty period during which to pay their arrearages or enter into repayment agreements. In exchange for cooperation, the state quashes the arrest warrant. For more information on the KidsFirst Campaign, contact Phyllis Sisk at 804/692-1506 or pjs900@dcse.dss.state.va.us.

In addition, Virginia has implemented a study to assess the barriers faced by low-income noncustodial parents with arrears and to provide services to address those barriers and improve their ability to pay child support. The case manager refers noncustodial parents to services such as job training, job placement, and substance abuse treatment; in Spotsylvania County, where the project began, parents who received services paid twice as much child support as parents who did not. The program is now being replicated in two more counties. Virginia also recently completed an arrears study, for which preliminary data are available. The study analyzed cases with arrears to identify enforcement tools that seem to be effective in reducing arrears and to better understand arrears caseload characteristics and dynamics. For more information on the barriers study or arrears study, contact Todd Areson, Ph.D., at 804/692-1463 or txa900@dcse.dss.state.va.us.

Washington¾Washington has received a federal grant to study different outreach strategies to incarcerated noncustodial parents. The Division of Child Support is working with two other state agencies—the Washington Department of Corrections and the Employment Security Division—to determine whether a more expensive high-effort strategy is more effective than a less expensive low-effort strategy in generating child support payments. In the low-effort strategy, incarcerated noncustodial parents are shown a video that provides basic child support information. Parents are encouraged to be proactive about their child support cases and to work with child support to create manageable orders. The video also encourages parents to connect with employment resources once they are released. Child support forms are made available to incarcerated parents and, once the forms are submitted, child support case managers make recommendations based on each case’s circumstances. In the high-effort strategy, case managers meet one on one with incarcerated parents to work with them on their child support cases. Over time a comparison will be made of the two strategies to determine whether the high-effort strategy makes a difference in payment history. For more information, contact Dawn DeLong at 360/664-5064 or ddelong@dshs.wa.gov.

Resource Contacts

American Public Human Services Association, contact Justin Latus at 202/682-0100; or visit http://www.aphsa.org/.

Center for Law and Social Policy, contact Paula Roberts or Vicki Turetsky at 202/906-8000; or visit http://www.clasp.org/.

Center for Policy Research, contact Jessica Pearson at 303/837-1555; or visit http://www.centerpolicyresearch.org/.

National Association of Counties, contact Marilina Sanz, 202/393-6226; or visit http://www.naco.org/.

National Center for Strategic Nonprofit Planning and Community Leadership, contact Barbara Cleveland at 202/822-6725; or visit http://www.npcl.org/.

National Child Support Enforcement Association, contact 202/624-8180; or visit http://www.ncsea.org/.

National Conference of State Legislatures, contact Sheri Steisel at 202/ 624-5400; or visit http://www.ncsl.org/.

Policy Studies Inc., contact Jane Venohr at 303/863-0900; or visit http://www.policy-studies.com/.

Urban Institute, contact Elaine Sorensen at 202/833-7200; or visit http://www.urban.org/.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, visit http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cse.

Publications

Atkinson, Janet K., and Barbara C. Cleveland. Managing Arrears: Child Support Enforcement and Fragile Families. Washington, D.C.: National Center for Strategic Nonprofit Planning and Community Leadership, May 2001. Available at http://www.npcl.org/services/PLC%20on%20arrearsfinaltimesroman.pdf.

Feeley, Theresa J. Low-Income Noncustodial Fathers: A Child Advocate’s Guide to Helping Them Contribute to the Support of Their Children. Washington, D.C.: National Association of Child Advocates, February 2000. Available at http://www.childadvocacy.org/dads.pdf.

Jones, Michelle Ganow. “Child Support Issues in Welfare Reform Reauthorization.” Issue Note (May 2002). Washington, D.C., Welfare Information Network. Available at http://www.welfareinfo.org/childsupportissuestanfreauth_trn.htm.

Miller, Cynthia, and Virginia Knox. The Challenge of Helping Low-Income Fathers Support Their Children: Final Lessons from Parents’ Fair Share. New York, N.Y.: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, November 2001.  Available at http://www.mdrc.org/Reports2001/PFS/PFSHelpingFathers.pdf.

National Women’s Law Center and Center on Fathers, Families, and Public Policy. Dollars and Sense: Improving the Determination of Child Support Obligations for Low-Income Mothers, Fathers and Children. Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wis.: National Women’s Law Center and Center on Fathers, Families, and Public Policy, 2002. Available at http://www.nwlc.org/pdf/CommonGroundDollarsandSense.pdf.

Pearson, Jessica, and Esther Ann Griswold. New Approaches to Child Support Arrears: A Survey of State Policies and Practices. Denver, Colo.: Center for Policy Research, March 2001. Available at http://www.centerpolicyresearch.org/pub.htm.

Pearson, Jessica, Lanae Davis, and Nancy Thoennes. Dropping Debt: An Evaluation of Colorado’s Debt and Retroactive Child Support Initiative. Denver, Colo.: Center for Policy Research, April 30, 2001. Available at http://www.centerpolicyresearch.org/pub.htm.

Prillaman, Grant, and Jerry Tracy. Barriers to the Payment of Court-Ordered Child Support: A Pilot Project to Design a Case Management Model to Improve the Regularity of Payment. Richmond, Va.: Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement, December 2001. Contact Todd Areson, Ph.D., at 804/692-1463 or txa900@dcse.dss.state.va.us.

Roberts, Paula. An Ounce of Prevention and a Pound of Cure: Developing State Policy on the Payment of Child Support Arrears by Low-Income Parents. Washington, D.C.: Center for Law and Social Policy, May 2001. Available at http://www.clasp.org/DMS/Documents/997211611.561/an%20ounce%20of%20prevention%20and%20a%20pound.pdf.

Roberts, Paula. Pursuing Justice: A Strategic Approach to Child Support Arrears in California. Washington, D.C.: Center for Law and Social Policy, May 2002. Available at http://www.clasp.org/DMS/Documents/1023133797.96/Pursuing_Justice_A_Strategic_Approach_To_CS_Arrears_In_CA.pdf.

Ross, David Gray. State IV-D Program Flexibility with Respect to Low-Income Obligors¾Imputing Income; Setting Child Support Orders and Retroactive Support; Compromising Arrearages; Referral to Work-Related Programs and Other Nontraditional Approaches to Securing Support. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Support Enforcement, September 14, 2000. Available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/pol/PIQ/piq-00-03.htm.

Sorensen, Elaine. Helping Poor Nonresident Dads Do More. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, May 2, 2002. Available at  http://www.urban.org/Template.cfm?Section=Home&NavMenuID=75&template=/TaggedContent/ViewPublication.cfm&PublicationID=7673.

Thoennes, Nancy, and Jessica Pearson. Understanding Child Support Arrears in Colorado: An Empirical Analysis Based on a Random Sample of Cases with Arrears. Denver, Colo.: Center for Policy Research, March 2001. Available at http://www.centerpolicyresearch.org/pub.htm.

Turetsky, Vicki. Realistic Child Support Policies for Low-Income Fathers. Washington, D.C.: Center for Law and Social Policy, March 2000. Available at http://www.clasp.org/DMS/Documents/997217467.366/realistic%20child%20support%20policies.pdf.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Establishment of Child Support Orders for Low-Income Noncustodial Parents. Washington, D.C.: Office of Inspector General, July 2000. Available at http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-05-99-00390.pdf.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. State Policies Used to Establish Child Support Orders for Low-Income Noncustodial Parents. Washington, D.C.: Office of Inspector General, July 2000. Available at http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-05-99-00391.pdf

The Welfare Information Network is supported by grants form the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.