Negotiating the Child Support System: Recommendations from a Discussion of Policy and Practice.

Negotiating the Child Support System
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Pate, D. Roulet, M., Boggess, J.
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Between July 1998 and October 1999, the Center on Fathers, Families, and Public Policy (CFFPP) held a series of colloquia that focused on the experiences of low-income fathers as they negotiate the systems of paternity establishment and child support enforcement. The meetings were attended by low-income, mostly never-married noncustodial fathers, caseworkers from community-based organizations who work with low-income, never-married noncustodial fathers, researchers, policy analysts, and poverty lawyers whose work has centered on low-income noncustodial fathers and their families. The purpose of these meetings was to gain a sense of how low-income noncustodial fathers and those working with them experience the system of child support enforcement and how they manage their relationships with their families as they negotiate this and other government agencies and programs (e.g., TANF, housing, food stamps, etc.). The reports of the first three of the meetings are incorporated in a publication entitled Negotiating the Child Support System: Report from a Discussion of Policy and Practice. In addition to those meetings, CFFPP held a final colloquium that included several of the participants of the earlier meetings. This final meeting was directed at determining the issues that generated most concern over the course of the colloquia and developing some means of addressing them. The current publication pulls together some of the suggestions made at the meetings and, where appropriate, includes specific recommendations for addressing particular issues. The concerns and recommendations listed are not necessarily presented in the same form as at the meetings, but rather represent CFFPP’s understanding of the primary issues and concerns that were raised throughout the colloquium series.

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