- Joseph Jean, Hilary Shager, and Carolee Dodge Francis
- August 2023
- Link to CSRA-2020-2022-T10-08222023 (PDF)
Within the United States, tribes and tribal consortia are authorized and funded to operate Title IV-D child support programs to serve tribal families. Today, 60 federally-recognized sovereign tribes and tribal consortia in 22 states implement Title IV-D tribal child support programs, including nine tribal nation programs in Wisconsin (National Tribal Child Support Association, n.d.; Office of Child Support Enforcement, 2018). This literature review systematically reviews and synthesizes existing published research related to tribal child support processes and outcomes within the context of the nine tribal nations operating programs in Wisconsin. The goal of the review is to thematically analyze published bodies of knowledge while recognizing significant gaps in the formal academic literature and the need to expand the research lens within this scholarship to include different ways of knowing and culturally responsive evaluation practices.
We provide an overview of laws and policies that shape tribal child support programs; investigate the demographic and economic contexts of tribal communities; describe state and tribal program implementation; summarize the small body of academic research regarding tribal child support programs and outcomes; and conclude with opportunities for future investigation. This review identifies significant gaps in the traditional academic literature regarding this area of study. We conclude that important considerations regarding tribal sovereignty; differing conceptions of family structures in Indigenous communities; and cultural, demographic, and economic contexts must be developed in future literature. We also caution against generalizing across tribal child support programs as their inherently unique designs make such generalizations difficult and imprudent. Further, we highlight a need for community-driven future research that places the interests and needs of tribal communities at the center of efforts.