Promoting Child Well-Being & Family Self Sufficiency Fact Sheet Series

The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) recently launched a Fact Sheet Series. The child support program serves a quarter of all children and half of all poor children. Created primarily to recover welfare costs, Congress has steadily embraced a broader mission for the child support program through legislative change, resulting in a gradual shift to a program that promotes child well-being and family self-sufficiency by making child support a reliable source of income.

While working well for most families, the program has faced a greater challenge serving low-income parents. To improve child support outcomes for all, State child support agencies are now using a wide range of family-centered innovations to increase the ability of parents to support their children, in recognition that collection of support depends on the noncustodial parent’s employment, cooperation between parents, and parents’ emotional connection with their children.

Often, the most effective way to make sure that children can count on regular child support payments is to address the underlying reasons parents are not paying their obligations, whether they are unemployment, parental conflict, or disengagement. State child support agencies are partnering with fatherhood, workforce, and reentry programs in outreach, referral, case management and other strategies that are often organized into six areas:

1. Preventing the need for child support enforcement,

2. Engaging fathers from the birth of their first child,

3. Promoting family economic stability,

4. Helping build healthy family relationships,

5. Ensuring that families have meaningful health care coverage, and

6. Preventing and reducing family violence.

To celebrate Father’s Day, OCSE released a series of fact sheets highlighting how child support innovations in each of these areas can improve child support and child well-being. The fact sheets provide examples of promising practices from across the country.