Improving Child Well-Being by Focusing on Low-Income Noncustodial Parents in Maryland.

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Year Published
Author (Individual)
Primus, W.
Daugirdas, K.
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Resource Format

Only 18 percent of child support cases in Maryland were fully paid during fiscal year 1999. This report describes the importance of child support to child well-being and proposes several policy changes that will improve compliance with support orders. One of the primary reasons for failure to pay is that some fathers, especially African American men, lack income because they are unemployed or underemployed. Existing programs intended to help low-income fathers have not been effective in engaging men. The report recommends a comprehensive strategy that provides employment services as well as assistance with child support problems such as high order amounts and accumulated debts. The state of Maryland is advised to restructure the child support system to focus on employment and income for noncustodial parents by offering a wide range of employment resources for parents, stipends for job training or preparation, access to Medicaid, counseling for cooperative parenting, realistic child support order amounts, and economic incentives for payment of child support, such as matching payments. In addition, children whose parents do not or cannot provide child support should be eligible for financial assistance as part of an assured child benefit program. 1 figure, 16 tables.

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