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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

Is Child Support Enforcement an Effective Strategy for Helping Poor, Single-Parent Families?

Child support enforcement is one means of reducing welfare dependency and poverty among single-parent families. This report examines how effective the child support enforcement program has been in accomplishing these goals. Research indicates that legislation and policies enacted since the 1980s are improving the program's efficiency, but it is not clear that the program is any more effective in helping families leave welfare and poverty. This suggests that policy makers should consider other strategies such as a child support assurance programs and programs to help noncustodial parents meet their obligations.

Chapter one provides an overview of the report. Chapter two describes the child support enforcement program and discusses the pros and cons of child support policies. Chapter three offers a case study of enforcement efforts in Texas. Chapter four examines the effectiveness of the program in reducing welfare dependency and poverty. Chapter five offers conclusions and recommendations for developing a comprehensive approach to assist poor families.

-- Author's foreword.