Child Support is an integral part of the U.S. social welfare landscape, providing billions of dollars to families annually and lessening the depth of poverty for many. Given the vast scale and significance of the U.S. child support system, it is increasingly important to understand the characteristics of parents who enter the system, and further, the characteristics of those who comply with their orders. A deeper understanding of parents’ characteristics and challenges helps to explain system entry and order non-compliance, and in turn, inform the types of supports and services that might be used to improve compliance. To address these topics, this brief draws on a unique dataset combining Texas parents’ obligation and payment histories from administrative child support records with a bank of rich survey data collected by the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP). Together, these data help paint a detailed portrait of unmarried parents who enter into, and comply with, the Texas child support system. (Author abstract)
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