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Refugees and the Wisconsin Child Support Enforcement System

Unlike most immigrant groups, refugees are eligible for a number of public assistance programs which trigger mandatory participation in the child support system under Title IV-D. This report divides refugees living in Wisconsin into geographical and ethnic groups and analyzes their economic status, location, and family characteristics. It examines interactions with the child support system for refugees as a whole, and by group. The analysis was completed using the Multi-Sample Person File (MSPF) 2010 database which merges CARES and KIDS (the Wisconsin child support enforcement data system) with data from the state Unemployment Insurance program.

Most refugees in Wisconsin are concentrated in urban areas of the state, particularly in Milwaukee County. The analysis finds that over 76 percent of minor children of refugees living in Wisconsin live with both of their parents and that an additional 5 percent have a deceased parent. These findings suggest that overall child support enforcement needs among the refugee population are comparatively low. However, outcomes could be improved with targeted efforts to establish paternity and set orders among urban refugee populations.


Child Support, Child Support Policy Research, Related Social Policies, WI Administrative Data Core


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