Does Child Support Increase Self-sufficiency? Results From Virginia

Colleen Heflin, Syracuse University
Len Lopoo, Syracuse University
Mattie Mackenzie-Liu , Maxwell School, Syracuse University

The Child Support Enforcement (CSE) program was signed into law in 1975 to create legal obligations for non-custodial parents to contribute financially to child rearing. While some child support orders are created when parents separate or divorce, many begin when a parent applies for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). In principle the CSE creates a legal obligation for non-resident parents; in practice, for TANF recipients, the CSE reimburses states and the federal government for welfare expenditures to single parent families. A small set of earlier research has investigated the relationship between child support receipt and self-sufficiency; however, this research was conducted before the Great Recession and often focused on the Aid to Families with Dependent Children in the state of Wisconsin. Since then, social program participation increased and the demographic composition of caseloads shifted. It is unclear the extent to which previous estimates reflect current policy and economic conditions.

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 Presented in Session 2. Children & Youth