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Culture change: Implementing a new approach to child support

Changes in family structure have led to a substantial increase in single-parent households. The child support system is designed to ensure that noncustodial parents contribute financially to the upbringing of their children, but for many families it does not work well. As detailed in the introduction to this issue, the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration Program (CSPED) offered a new approach to child support, intended to make child support payments by unemployed noncustodial parents more consistent. CSPED was a rigorous, randomized controlled trial with three primary study components; an implementation analysis, an impact analysis, and a benefit-cost analysis. This article summarizes the key findings of the implementation analysis.


  • A child support agency-led intervention that includes case management, employment, and parenting components offers a feasible and promising approach to promoting the reliable payment of child support.
  • Keeping noncustodial parents engaged in program services requires a well-developed and flexible approach.
  • Culture change within child support agencies, from an enforcement-oriented to a service-oriented approach, is necessary to improve the way child support services are delivered.


Arrears & Related Policy, Child Support, CSPED, Employment, Enforcement, Family & Partnering, Labor Market, Orders & Payments, Parenting


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