University of Wisconsin–Madison

Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration Evaluation (CSPED)

About CSPED

Child support is a critical financial resource for children living apart from one of their parents. Recent demographic and policy changes have made an effective child support system increasingly important. A successful system must both enable and enforce noncustodial parents’ contributions and requires effective policies to encourage noncustodial employment. Despite policy innovations designed to improve enforcement, the amount of unpaid support is at record levels.

The National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED), launched in October 2012, is designed to identify effective policy alternatives to address these needs. A rigorous evaluation of CSPED conducted by IRP researchers and colleagues at Mathematica Policy Research, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families has the potential to inform critical national debates about how best to serve noncustodial parents and their children.

The demonstration is an initiative of the Office of Child Support Enforcement in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, which awarded grants totaling $6.2 million to child support agencies in eight states to link parents with employment services and to evaluate the programs. The programs provide

  • Integrated case management;
  • Employment-oriented services that include job placement and retention;
  • Fatherhood/parenting activities using peer support; and
  • Enhanced child support services including the review and appropriate adjustment of child support orders.

The eight demonstration site states are

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

The five-year evaluation of the CSPED projects utilizes a random assignment design in which eligible noncustodial parents are randomly assigned into treatment and control groups, in order to gauge programs’ impact on participants. An implementation study and a benefit-cost study are also included.

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Culture change: Implementing a new approach to child support

  • Jennifer L. Noyes, Lisa Klein Vogel, and Lanikque Howard
  • Focus & Focus+
  • July 2019
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Can a redesigned child support system do better?

  • Maria Cancian, Daniel R. Meyer, and Robert G. Wood
  • Focus & Focus+
  • July 2019
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Do low-income noncustodial fathers “trade” earlier families for newer ones?

  • Lawrence M. Berger, Maria Cancian, Angela Guarin, and Daniel R. Meyer
  • Focus & Focus+
  • July 2019
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Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) Evaluation: Weighting Specifications

  • Amy Beyler, Nancy Clusen, and Emily Weaver
  • Discussion Paper
  • March 2019
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Final Impact Findings from the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED)

  • Maria Cancian, Daniel R. Meyer, and Robert G. Wood
  • Report
  • March 2019
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Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED): Findings from the Benefit-Cost Analysis

  • Quinn Moore, Katherine Anne Magnuson, and April Yanyuan Wu
  • Report
  • March 2019
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Final Impact Findings from the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED): Technical Supplement

  • Maria Cancian, Daniel R. Meyer, Lawrence M. Berger, Angela Guarin , Leslie Hodges, Katherine Anne Magnuson, Lisa Klein Vogel, Melody Waring, Robert G. Wood, Quinn Moore, and April Yanyuan Wu
  • Report
  • March 2019
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Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) Evaluation: Survey Methodology Report

  • Jennifer Herard-Tsiagbey, Emily Weaver, and Quinn Moore
  • Discussion Paper
  • March 2019