University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Characteristics of Participants in the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) Evaluation

The final report on baseline characteristics of the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) participants was released on January 15, 2019. CSPED collected information from study participants on their demographic and socioeconomic characteristics through a survey administered when they enrolled in the program. The survey included sections on informed consent; demographic and socioeconomic characteristics; children and relationships; child support orders and payments; economic stability; parent background and well-being; motivation to participate in the program; and a follow-up contact information section.

As described in the report, nearly all noncustodial parents who enrolled in CSPED were men, and participants averaged 35 years of age. The largest racial and ethnic group was non-Hispanic blacks or African Americans (40 percent), followed by non-Hispanic whites (33 percent), and Hispanics (22 percent). CSPED programs served a relatively disadvantaged population. Participants generally had low levels of educational attainment—nearly 70 percent held a high school degree or less. These parents were also unlikely to be married, with 14 percent married at the time of study enrollment. CSPED participants often faced multiple and complex barriers to employment, including criminal convictions (70 percent), limited work histories, and limited earnings.

The report highlights the challenges that noncustodial parents who are struggling to meet their child support obligations parents face—including limited engagement with their own parents, histories of incarceration, and high levels of depression—but also substantial strengths and contributions.

Categories

Arrears & Related Policy, Child Development & Well-Being, Child Support, Children, Complicated Families & Multiple-Partner Fertility, CSPED, Employment, Employment General, Family & Partnering, Orders & Payments, Parenting