HB 2636 Would Increase Child Support Collections and Strengthen Low-Income Families

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Celia Cole /(512) 320-0222 x110

March 27, 2009

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Historically, federal and state welfare policies focused on moving low-income, custodial parents off of public assistance and into the workforce, and very little attention was paid to the circumstances of low-income non-custodial parents. Texas’ Non-Custodial Parent (NCP) Choices program, a pilot program administered by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Division, expanded the reach of state welfare programs to include non-custodial parents. NCP Choices, which focuses on increasing the earnings of non-custodial parents who owe child support, shows that placing a greater emphasis on low-income, non-custodial fathers is a highly effective strategy to lift families out of poverty and improve child well-being. HB 2636 would expand this pilot program to make NCP Choices services available in every child support office in the state. This Policy Page explains how NCP Choices works and why this cost-effective, successful, and innovative program should be expanded.