A Cut to Child Support Funding Would Jeopardize Successful Employment Programs for Noncustodial Parents

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Celia Cole /(512) 320-0222 x110

September 13, 2010

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As the U.S. Congress returns to work today from their Labor Day recess, members must take action on Senate Bill (SB) 1859 to further their commitment to strengthening American families.

The contribution of fathers in the form of consistent child support payments provides the economic boost that single mothers need to become economically independent. But a sizable group of poor noncustodial fathers have little or no connection to the formal labor market, and therefore cannot pay consistent support.

A number of states are tackling this problem by helping these men gain and keep employment. These noncustodial parent (NCP) employment programs have proven successful at getting fathers employed, increasing the amount and consistency of child support payments, and increasing the household incomes of custodial parents.

Despite their success, these programs are in jeopardy. Child support enforcement programs are bracing for significant federal funding cuts with the expiration of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) on October 1, 2010. Unless Congress acts to maintain child support funding, successful NCP employment programs have little chance of continued operation.

The President's 2011 budget includes a one-year extension of the child support funding restoration, and Congress should include that in its budget actions. A bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators are co-sponsoring the Child Support Protection Act (SB1859) to permanently restore child support funding formulas to pre-Deficit Reduction Act levels.