The Second CSDE Evaluation

The second evaluation, beginning in 2003, includes further analyses of the effects of a full pass-through and disregard of child support; new analyses of complex family formation patterns and their implications for child support policy, welfare policy and family law; ethnographic research; and child support enforcement projects.

Understanding the Effects of a Full Pass-through and Disregard

Six projects aim to further our understanding of the effects of a full pass-through and disregard. The projects focus on simple comparisons of outcomes for successive cohorts; an examination of changes in outcomes for the control group when they became subject to the full pass-through/disregard in July 2002; a cost-benefit analysis of the full pass-through/disregard; an exploration of the effects of different levels of pass-throughs and disregards using national data; an exploration of individuals' and workers' knowledge of policy rules and the effects this may have had on our estimates of the policy's effects; and an analysis of W-2 cases that transitioned to SSI caretaker cases.

Understanding Complicated Families and Their Implications for Marriage and Child Support Policy

Three projects focus on understanding complicated families. In the original CSDE evaluation, we found that many W-2 families had a very complex structure. For example, about a third of the families that included multiple children also included multiple fathers. And, even counting only mothers in our sample, 6 percent of fathers had children with more than one mother on W-2. The ethnographic research also found some fathers associated with multiple mothers, who were themselves associated with multiple fathers, and found many fathers who were both custodial and noncustodial parents simultaneously. Some of the fathers reported that they feel obligations not only to their biological children (those who live with them and those who do not), but also to their partner's children. The projects include an analysis of whether complicated families are associated with different levels of child support payment; an exploration of legal issues in complicated families; and an analysis of the effects of the full pass-through and disregard on marriage, cohabitation, and living arrangements.

Ethnographic Research Projects

A set of four projects will use ethnographic research to provide a more detailed understanding of the interactions of welfare and child support policies and implications for family well-being. The projects will highlight the experiences of white, black, and Latino families in Wisconsin as well as the experiences of families in other states.

Child Support Enforcement Projects

With the data collected for the CSDE, we have been able to explore several topics that help us understand the lives of TANF families and the potential role played by child support. These two projects are not specifically focused on the full pass-through, but provide important background information on child support enforcement. The projects look at the effect of child support arrears on subsequent payments, and the effect of child support enforcement on nonmarital fertility.