Child Support Assurance: Overcoming Political Barriers
May 01, 1997 | Tina Marie Perry and Leslie Anne Argenta
TABLE OF CONTENTS
STRATEGIES AND TECHNIQUES FOR A SUCCESSFUL LEGISLATIVE CAMPAIGN
INTRODUCTION TO READER
A. THE NEED TO EDUCATE ADVOCATES ABOUT CHILD SUPPORT ASSURANCE (CSA)
B. PROJECT GOALS
C. HOW TO USE THIS MANUAL
D. CONTENTS OF MANUAL
II. THE CHILD SUPPORT ASSURANCE SYSTEM
A. DEFINITION AND BASIC COMPONENTS OF CSA
B. BENEFITS OF CSA
C. CSA EFFORTS ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL
D. STATE CSA PROGRAMS AND PILOTS
E. NEW CSA ACTIVITY
F. CSA IN OTHER COUNTRIES
III. SUCCESSFULLY "SELLING" CSA TO STATE LEGISLATIVE LEADERS:
WHAT ARE THE ARGUMENTS THAT ADVOCATES MUST OVERCOME?
A. CSA IS A DISINCENTIVE FOR PARENTS TO WORK
B. NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTS ARE NOT ABLE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT
C. EXPANDING THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
D. CSA IS JUST ANOTHER FORM OF WELFARE BY ANOTHER NAME
E. CSA WILL DISCOURAGE MARRIAGE AND ENCOURAGE OUT-OF WEDLOCK BIRTHS
F. DISINCENTIVE FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
G. CSA IS COSTLY
IV. CHILD SUPPORT ASSURANCE IS POLITICALLY FEASIBLE
A. BASIC COMPONENTS FOR EFFECTIVE CSA LOBBYING
B. CREATING BIPARTISAN SUPPORT
C. PLAUSIBLE CSA PROPOSALS
D. RECOMMENDED DESIGN ALTERNATIVES FOR STATE CSA PROGRAMS
VI. CHILD SUPPORT ASSURANCE BIBLIOGRAPHY
This project would not have been possible without the assistance and patience of Professor Lucie White. We extend a sincere thank you to Paula Roberts for her advice, ideas, support, and expertise. We also appreciate the time and counsel of Theda Skocpol and David Ellwood who spoke with us about their personal experiences with the politics of Child Support Assurance. We gratefully acknowledge Jennifer Murphy for her guidance on how to lobby for children and family issues. We would like to recognize Shari Zimble, Wendelyn Killian, Andrea Watson, and Christine Johnson Staub for their continuous assistance and support. We also wish to thank an integral part of our project- the advocacy groups who will use this manual in their future endeavors.
The statements made and the views expressed are solely those of the authors.
Tina Marie Perry and Leslie Argenta
Strategies And Techniques For a Successful Legislative Campaign
The politics of implementing a Child Support Assurance program boil down to how you "sell" it. Advocates must understand not only the program itself, but also how to go about "selling" it to state legislatures. Child advocates must become involved in framing and mobilizing the idea of CSA to the public and state legislatures.
CSA: Definition & Basic Components
CSA has emerged as one method of ensuring the financial well-being of children growing up in single parent homes. It stems from the idea that parents are responsible for supporting their children and that the government is responsible for ensuring that children who live apart from a parent receive the child support to which they are entitled. Under a CSA system, in any month in which the child support paid by the noncustodial parent is less than the assured level, a public subsidy will be paid to families with current child support orders. The burden of collection is then shifted to the government which forces the state to pay for its failure to collect from the father.
The CSA system has three basic components:
- child support guidelines which establish the child support award as a percentage of the non-resident parents income,
- routine income withholding, which deducts child support owed from wages and other sources of income, and
- an assured child support benefit, which provides a government guarantee of a minimum level of child support to the resident parent of a child legally entitled to private support.
THE BENEFITS OF CSA
This assured minimum payment will provide greater economic security to children and working single parent households.The assured payment ensure that even if there was a temporary interruption in the payment of child support, families would get some support.CSA provides an incentive for the custodial parent to establish paternity and seek an order. CSA emphasizes the need for both parents to contribute to the well-being of their children.CSA allows all parents to be working parents. Even when parents are working in low wage jobs, the assurance of regular, guaranteed support may significantly reduce the poverty of these families and help them to avoid the need for public assistance.
HOW TO SELL CSA?
Focus on work and responsibility when "selling" CSA. Discuss CSA in the terms of single parent working families. "Sell" CSA as assisting working families.. Learn more about work assistance programs for noncustodial parents. If your state does not have an employment assistance program, contact local non-profits or grassroot organizations who are committed to job training and employment issues. When legislators criticize CSA as expanding the role of government, focus and link this expansion to child support enforcement. Argue CSA will bring more noncustodial fathers into the child support system and will hold them accountable for their financial responsibility to their children. CSA is more likely to be accepted if it is "packaged" as a program for working and middle class custodial parents. The program is politically feasible framed this way because it is not viewed as a substitute for work or another form of welfare. The likelihood of passing CSA legislation is better if advocates can separate CSA from the politics of welfare and organize working and middle class parents to support the program. Stress CSA actually strengthens the parent-child relationship. Discuss how CSA will encourage a continual relationship between noncustodial parents and their children. "Sell" the program by linking CSA to a noncustodial parents' responsibility to his/her children. Linking CSA to child support enforcement also brings the focus back to the children who are entitled to this money. The cost should not matter when the lives of children are at stake.
LOBBYING FOR CSA
Understand CSA and its benefits. Work with advocates to gain a large constituency that will be more visible and have a greater impact on legislatures. Build a coalition with the business community. Businesses often appear nonpartisan and their support is very important to state legislators. Be Bipartisan. When drafting legislation, be educated on the philosophical differences between parties and then respect and integrate those differences into your work. Use factual and statistical data when "selling" CSA. Legislators respond best to reasoned, thoughtful and data supported arguments. Use data from other CSA programs to show cost effectiveness. Get involved early in the budget process. Identify the key legislators on the budget committee. Organize and educate the public district by district. Legislators are elected by their district, and respond more to lobbying by their constituents. Focus on family. Argue that CSA brings fathers into the child support system and holds them accountable. Understand the legislative process. Work with the Governor and the legislature before submitting legislation. Discuss and sell CSA outside the "politics of welfare." One way to do this is to design your program so that all custodial parents, except welfare recipients get the assured benefit Sell CSA as a good way to change the economic position of single parent families without expanding welfare. Connect CSA to work and responsibility! Put CSA in terms of assisting working families. The minimum CSA benefit is not a substitute for work.
I. INTRODUCTION TO READER
A. The Need to Educate Advocates About Child Support Assurance
Today, an unprecedented number of children live in single parent families and that number continues to grow. The majority of these families are headed by women. Unfortunately, nearly a third (32.4%) of single mother families are poor, and those who are not officially below the poverty level are very close. Poverty among children is a serious problem, and the inadequacies of the current child support system and recent welfare reform are demonstrated by these families' continued poverty. It is essential that child advocates and state legislators consider other options for helping these families help themselves.
Child Support Assurance (CSA) has emerged as one method of insuring the financial well-being of children growing up in single parent homes. Under a Child Support Assurance system, a custodial parent receives a child support check each month from the government. The government in turn pursues the noncustodial parent for reimbursement. CSA programs typically consist of three key components: 1) routine income withholding which deducts child support payments from the noncustodial parent's income, 2) child support guidelines which establish a standard percentage of income formula for establishing child support obligations, and 3) an assured child support benefit to the child equal either to the amount paid by the noncustodial parent or to the government's assured benefit, whichever is higher. CSA programs emphasize that parents are responsible for supporting their children and the government is responsible for ensuring that children who live apart from a parent receive the amount to which they are entitled.
CSA has encountered great opposition and has had difficulty gaining bipartisan support. The politics of CSA boil down to how you "sell it." Advocates must understand not only the program itself, but also how to go about "selling" it to state legislatures. Child advocates must become involved in framing and marketing the idea of CSA to state legislatures and the public.
B. Project Goals
The goal of our project is to educate child and family advocates on the concept of CSA, as well as aid them in presenting CSA to state legislators in a way that will garner bipartisan support. To reach our goal, this manual addresses the following questions:
- Why have more jurisdictions not adopted a CSA program?
- What are the political obstacles to CSA and how can advocates overcome them?
- How can advocates make CSA politically feasible?
- What are the difficulties in creating bipartisan support?
- What are the basic components of effective lobbying?
- What are plausible CSA proposals?
C. How to Use This Manual
CSA has been quickly dismissed as an option to aid poor families primarily because it has not been successfully presented to legislatures. The purpose of this manual is to explore how advocates can "package" CSA so that it garners bipartisan support and becomes a politically accepted program. There have been previous legislative debates on the issue of CSA, but most have been on the federal level. Our manual will focus on gaining state level legislative support.
This manual can be used in a variety of ways. Its most common use will be to educate advocates on CSA and on how to overcome its political barriers to gain bipartisan support in state legislatures. It can also be used as a general guide to current CSA programs and ideas on how to draft CSA legislation. Another possible beneficiary of this manual is the non-advocate who is trying to organize a group to lobby for a more effective child support system.
This manual is not intended to be a comprehensive analysis of CSA but instead provide a general overview of the concept of CSA. For those interested in pursuing CSA in greater detail, the Appendix includes a CSA bibliography and a list of children and family organizations. The main purpose of this manual is to demonstrate that CSA is a politically feasible option and to aid advocates in illustrating this to state legislators. We leave it to you to obtain any further information that you need.
Contents of Manual
Section II of the manual is a broad overview of CSA. It defines CSA and explains the three basic components of the program. It also includes a summary of the history of CSA, including past efforts on the federal level and state programs and pilots. It briefly discusses recent pushes for CSA legislation in a several states and CSA programs in other countries. It concludes clarifying why states should implement CSA programs.
Section III discusses how advocates can successfully "sell" CSA to state legislatures. This section lays out the common criticisms of CSA and the political obstacles, such as the fathers' inability to pay and the costs of the program. It then concentrates on how to overcome the common arguments against CSA and effectively "package" the program to state legislators.
Section IV of the manual focuses on demonstrating CSA is a politically feasible program. It begins by reviewing the basic components of effective lobbying, such as understanding the advocate/legislator relationship and how to frame children's issues. Next, it considers the difficulties of creating bipartisan support, focusing on the current political climate of children and family policies. It ends with plausible Child Support Assurance proposals, focusing on making CSA work under PRWORA and recommending design alternatives for state CSA programs.
The final section discusses the case for adoption of CSA on the state level as a politically feasible way to combat the economic insecurity of children.
II. The Child Support Assurance System
A. Definition And Basic Components of Child Support Assurance
Child Support Assurance is a publicly guaranteed minimum child support payment. The program guarantees that every custodial parent will receive a minimal amount of child support every month. If the government collects the child support from the noncustodial parent, it will be fully reimbursed for the payment. If more is collected than the government disburses, then the custodial parent will receive the extra money. If however, the government does not collect child support, or collects less than the guaranteed minimum, then the family would get the guaranteed minimum and the government would aggressively pursue the noncustodial parent and obtain reimbursement for what the government paid out. The burden of collection is shifted to the government and forces the state to pay for its failure to collect from the father. The design of CSA will drive the child support system toward greater efficiency. In any month in which the child support paid by the noncustodial parent is less than the assured level, a public subsidy will be paid to families with current child support orders.
The Child Support Assurance system has three basic components:
- child support guidelines which establish the child support award as a percentage of the non-resident parents income,
- routine income withholding, which deducts child support owed from wages and other sources of income, similar to income or payroll taxes,
- an assured child support benefit, which provides a government guarantee of a minimum level of child support to the resident parent of a child legally entitled to private support.
The assured benefit part of the program calls for the caretaker of the child legally entitled to child support to receive either the award money that the nonresident parent pays or an assured child support benefit, which ever is higher. When the nonresident parent pays less than the minimum child support benefit, the government makes up the difference. The assured benefit would be universal, not income tested. The assured benefit insures all children legally entitled to child support against the risk the noncustodial parent will fail to pay. This benefit would last until the child is nineteen.
The original CSA design has evolved and developed over the years. However, the philosophical premise and basic design have been altered very little over the years. The Child Support Assurance system is patterned after The Survivors' Insurance program administered by the Social Security Agency. Like Survivor's Insurance, CSA aids children of all income classes who suffer an income loss due to the death of a parent. Survivors' Insurance also compensates for the loss of income arising from widowhood. Child Support Assurance compensates for the loss of income arising from divorce, separation, and nonmarriage. Child Support Assurance stems from the idea that parents are responsible for supporting their children and that government is responsible for ensuring that children who live apart from a parent receive the amount they are entitled.
B. Benefits of CSA
CSA provides support to economically vulnerable children in single parent families. Each month, Child Support Assurance provides assistance to families whose child support orders are low because the noncustodial parent has low earnings or because the noncustodial parent is unwilling to pay. This assured minimum payment will provide greater economic security to these children and may allow families to escape from poverty.
If Child Support Assurance is not income tested (which means it is available to custodial parent families without regard to the income of the custodial parent), it can help single parent families who are not poor but are at risk of becoming poor through illness, job layoff, etc. to keep above the poverty line. CSA supplements earnings and avoids much of the stigma attached to programs targeted to the poor. The role of the assured payment would be to ensure that even if there was a temporary interruption in the payment of child support, these families would get some support.
If Child Support Assurance is only available to those with court orders, it provides an incentive for the custodial parent to establish paternity and seek an order. CSA emphasizes the need for both parents to contribute to the well-being of their children
CSA reinvests the savings from increased child support collections in poor, single parent families who have child support orders. Currently, most of the child support collected by states for poor children goes to offset the costs of welfare. Single parent families on welfare do not get the entire amount paid by the noncustodial parent. This money taken from the poor noncustodial parent is used to reduce the tax burdens on the middle and upper class.
CSA encourages single parents to enter and stay in the paid labor force. When parents are working in low wage jobs, the assurance of regular, guaranteed support may significantly reduce the poverty of these families and help them to avoid the need for public assistance.
Recent evaluation of New York's CAP suggests that it could be a cost effective way to encourage work efforts, supplement wages, increase the number of families with child support orders, and help families minimize their need for public assistance.
C. CSA Efforts on the Federal Level
A handful of federal bills have been proposed that authorize CSA demonstrations to be run by states. Partisan politics have greatly contributed to the defeat of most of the proposed legislation.
Senate Action: In 1992 Senate Bill 2343, Child Support Assurance Act, was proposed by Senator Christopher Dodd (Democrat-Conn.). The bill provided for demonstration projects in six states to establish or improve a system of assured minimum child support payments. These bills did not receive a "real" hearing beyond the subcommittee level. This is primarily because at the time President Clinton was preparing a welfare reform plan of his own, the Democrats were unwilling to push anything significantly different. Similar to the Dodd bill, the Clinton plan did contain CSA pilots, but they were subject to greater restrictions. Clinton's bill was introduced by Senator Moynihan in the Fall of 1994, however because the Republicans swept the House and the Senate and had plans of their own, Clinton's bill was defeated. The Republicans did have a welfare reform agenda, but CSA was not part of it. The Democrats began to focus on more urgent issues like immigration and time limits and CSA was put on the shelf.
House Action: The Downey-Hyde Child Support Enforcement and Assurance proposal was initially a concept paper for a universal CSA system. The paper was floated around Congress until hearings were held in Summer and Fall of 1992. Before its chief sponsor, Tom Downey (Democrat-New York), could draft legislation which reflected the comments from the hearing, he was defeated for reelection in November 1992. The conservative Republicans taking over the House and budget problems in Congress left Representative Hyde (Republican-Illinois) interested in CSA but discouraged from sponsoring a bill. The Downey-Hyde proposal was supported by most women and children advocates but opposed by the governor and state legislators. The states interpreted CSA as an enormous strain on their budgets by requiring them to provide more child support enforcement services. Also, this was at a time when federal government provided substantial subsidies for poor families through the AFDC program, (Aid to Families for Dependent Children) so there was minimal incentive for states to support the proposal.
D. State CSA Programs and Pilots
Child Support Assurance has been investigated and implemented in a handful of states. New York, Virginia and Connecticut have implemented pilot programs. The New York program provides solid evidence that CSA is a successful program. The Connecticut program was terminated soon after implementation due to computer interfacing problems. The Virginia pilot is still running, but it is unlikely the political climate will allow an evaluation to track the results of the program. Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota have all designed CSA demonstrations, but have not passed legislation to implement them.
Child Assistance Program (CAP) was established in October 1988. CAP was initially implemented as a demonstration project in seven counties, but was then was extended to an additional seven counties, including one in New York City.
CAP is a voluntary, income-tested program that was developed by the New York State Department of Social Services as an alternative to AFDC. It is the only child assurance program that has so far been studied in any detail. Participation in CAP is voluntary for those who are eligible. However, to enroll a family must have a child support order. If a child support order has not been obtained, assistance is provided to obtain one. Once the order is in place, the family is eligible for a monthly guaranteed child support payment, the amount of which varies by the number of children in the family. The family's food stamp benefits are cashed out, the resource limit that would apply to an AFDC family is removed, and any child care subsidy that would be available through the AFDC program is paid in advance. In addition, the family is returned its Medicaid eligibility.
CAP has several features that distinguish it from the treatment of child support payments under the former AFDC program. To be eligible, a parent must obtain a child support order for at least one child. AFDC required the custodial parent to cooperate with the child support enforcement system; whether or not an order was obtained was irrelevant. CAP guarantees a regular child support payment whether or not support from the noncustodial parent is actually collected. AFDC provided no such guarantee. If collected CAP does not provide a disregard, while families under the old AFDC program were allowed to disregard the first $50 paid each month in determining eligibility.
CAP differs from the basic Child Support Assurance discussed above, in that the guaranteed child support payment phases out as the custodial parent's income increases and only those who meet the income and assets eligibility criteria for AFDC are offered the opportunity to participate in CAP. CAP also differs from the traditional model of CSA in that it makes no real effort to actually collect the support owed to the CAP family. CAP participants do have to obtain support orders for at least one of their children, but efforts to annually collect support owed have not differed from the minimal efforts expended in a normal AFDC case.
Between 1988 and 1996 CAP has undergone numerous independent evaluations. These evaluations deemed CAP a favorable program having significant positive impacts on the lives of its recipients. The evaluations revealed:
- Families participating in CAP improved their economic status while decreasing their reliance on government assistance.
- CAP was successful in moving families out of poverty.
- CAP positively impacted its clients' earnings, support orders, and total income.
- CAP helped motivate and helped clients to obtain complete child support orders
- CAP allowed clients to attain enough income from earnings and child support and accumulate enough resources to move into sustained self-sufficiency.
- In January 1997, New York released a five year evaluation of CAP.
- The Abt Associates' report, CHILD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FIVE YEAR IMPACTS, COSTS AND BENEFITS, confirms that this approach creates a cost-effective, non-punitive alternative to welfare which improves the lives of children being raised in single parent families.
The most significant results of the evaluation were that CAP:
increased employment earnings, increased child support orders and collections, generated tax revenue and lowered expenditure for public assistance, saved $10 for every $1 of administrative expenses. The evaluation results, especially the most recent results, demonstrate that Child Support Assurance can encourage work and parental responsibility in a way that saves states money and helps--not hurts--single parent families.
E. New CSA Activity
There are efforts in California and Missouri to pass CSA legislation. The legislation would provide for a CSA component in each states' welfare bill. In California, proponents of CSA are pushing for a program similar to the New York CAP. At this time, very little information is available about the efforts to pass CSA programs in either state. We encourage advocates to closely follow activities in California and Missouri. If this legislation is passes, it will serve as models for other states.
F. CSA In Other Countries
Denmark, Sweeden, Australia, and Norway have adopted an advance maintenance program or Child Support Assurance system to help single parent families. Denmark enacted the first Child Support Assurance system at the turn of the century. Sweden has had a CSA program since 1937. Australia implemented its CSA program in 1988.
The basic principles of the programs are the same, but there are differences between the countries. In Sweden, the benefit is available to any custodial parent who seeks to establish paternity. In Australia, only custodial parents who have obtained child support orders are eligible. In some countries the guaranteed benefit roughly equals the average child support payment (to limit government costs) while in others the benefit exceeds the average child support payment. Recently, Germany, Austria, and France have developed more limited CSA programs.
SUCCESSFULLY "SELLING" CSA TO STATE LEGISLATIVE LEADERS
WHAT ARE THE ARGUMENTS THAT THE ADVOCATES MUST OVERCOME?
As Section II explained, a Child Support Assurance program does not exist nationally. However, a handful of states have taken the initiative to either investigate the possibilities of implementing a CSA demonstration project or drafted legislation. Only two states, New York and Virginia, have activated a CSA demonstration. Why have only two states successfully implemented a Child Support Assurance program?
The most common criticisms of Child Support Assurance are:
A. CSA IS A DISINCENTIVE FOR PARENTS TO WORK
Many people believe the poor of this country are lazy and unwilling to work. Critics believe CSA will encourage custodial parents to stay home and wait for their assured benefit, rather than seek or continue employment.
This argument is not persuasive when you link CSA to work and responsibility. CSA was designed to supplement not replace a parent's employment income. The minimum benefit will not replace work, but it will help families raise their children. An ideally structured CSA program would require all participants to be employed in order to receive their entire assured benefit. If CSA is not linked to a work requirement, it is likely to be "dragged" into the controversial "politics of welfare."
ADVICE FOR ADVOCATES:
It is important to focus on work and responsibility when "selling" CSA. It is important to discuss CSA in the terms of single parent working families "Sell" CSA as assisting working families and as a program that was not intended to replace employment income.
B. NONCUSTODIAL PARENTS ARE NOT ABLE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT
Many suggest the reason that a large portion of nonresident parents pay no child support is because they cannot afford to pay. When discussing methods to improve the child support system it is quite common to hear the phrase, "You cannot get blood from a stone." Critics of CSA ask "why implement a program assuring child support to families if the state cannot 1. recoup payment from the father because he is unemployed and 2. the father does not earn enough to pay support."
It is true some noncustodial parents are unable to fulfill their child support obligations due to unemployment or low-income. However, there are ways to address these problems.
UNEMPLOYED NONCUSTODIAL PARENTS
Some parents do not pay child support because they are not employed or have not received adequate training to move them out of low-wage contingent employment. For these unemployed noncustodial parents an employment assistance program should be established. This program would target unemployed noncustodial parents with child support obligations. Several states have an employment assistance demonstration for unemployed noncustodial fathers with child support obligations. These programs explore alternatives for providing employment and training services to noncustodial fathers. Some are administered by the state child support agency, others by the county, and some are sponsored by non- profit, public-private partnerships. See Section IV. CSA IS POLITICALLY FEASIBLE, A. Recommended Design Alternatives for more information about employment assistance programs.
ADVICE FOR ADVOCATES:
While educating yourself about Child Support Assurance, it would be wise to learn more about alternative noncustodial parent programs and become familiar with these programs in your state. If your state does not have an employment assistance program, contact local non-profits or grassroot organizations who are committed to job training and employment issues. Noncustodial fathers should not be looked to just for their ability to pay. Developmental support is also vital. Several assistance programs focus on improving the relationship between the father and child and teaching parenting skills. Employment assistance programs are a also great way to help unemployed noncustodial fathers generate income to fulfill their child support obligations.
NONCUSTODIAL PARENTS ABILITY TO PAY
Regardless of the income level, it would be unfair and unwise to subject all noncustodial parents to the same child support obligations or to require the parent to pay a support amount that almost equals his income. Consequently, a variety of obligation guidelines can be used to generate formulas to derive what is considered equitable child support amounts. The child support obligation can be based on numerous factors: the income of the resident parent, child care and medical care expenditures, and whether the nonresident parent has started a new family. For CSA there are two approaches to determining child support standards: income sharing and percentage-of-income standards.
Most states now use the income shares model. First used in the state of Washington, this model assumes (1) child support should be based on the combined income of both parents; (2) the child should receive the same proportion of parental income that he or she would have received if the parents were living together; and (3) as combined income increases, the proportion of income spent on the child should decrease. Using this model, it would be important for the guidelines to be adjusted each year to take into account the general price level and average wages. Under the income shares approach, the nonresident parent's child support obligation would decline as a percentage of his/her income when the total amount of both parents increases. Thus, the amount the nonresident parent pays depends on the resident parents income.
The percentage-of-income approach, first used in Wisconsin, is the one we recommend. Under this standard, the child support obligation is equal to a fixed percentage of the nonresident parent's income, varied by the number of children owed support. Composed by a fixed percentage of the nonresident parents income, varied by the number of children to be supported, the child support award automatically adjusts for the fact that children in high-income families receive more than children whose parents have less to spend. The public insurance feature of the assured benefit complements percentage-of-income child support standards.
Under either model, amounts for support would be added for child care expenses, extraordinary medical and dental expenses, and educational expenses. Application of the guidelines in individual cases would take into consideration such circumstances as joint physical custody, split custody or extraordinary visitation expense.
ADVICE FOR ADVOCATES:
Before you begin lobbying for a CSA program in your state it is important to know what guideline your state uses and consider proposing an alternative. Both guidelines address the problem of forcing fathers to pay child support beyond their income ability to pay. Establishing a guideline that calculates an equitable amount of child support a father should pay will provide greater fairness to the nonresident parent who becomes unemployed or ill and will encourage fathers, who work low-wage jobs, to actually pay the child support ordered by the court because it is a fair percentage of their income. When "selling" CSA it is important to stress the importance of parents sharing the responsibility of raising their children, but it is also important to stress the inequalities in the current child support system and the disincentives in the system for mother to establish an order and for father to pay support.
C. EXPANDING THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
At first glance, Child Support Assurance and the assured benefit appear to be expanding the role of government. One consistent theme in the 104th and 105th Congresses is the notion that limited government is better and that expanding government is wasteful, expensive, and inefficient. The passage of Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) and the replacement of the AFDC program with TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) block grants to the states exemplify the political climate in Congress. However, even its critics believe the assured child support benefit increases the role of government only marginally.
The collection component of Child Support Assurance involves the largest increase in government responsibility. Any expanding of government that will occur under CSA will primarily occur under child support enforcement. The government is forced to expand in this area primarily because fathers are not paying the support ordered by the court. Establishing paternity, setting child support awards by a numerical standard, and creating universal payment to a government agency does involve substantial government interference in the private affairs of citizens.
It is true the assured benefit will increase the number of families receiving a subsidy from the government, it has great potential to decrease the number of families receiving TANF and limiting the number of families forced to enroll in TANF. With the two year time limit, TANF recipients exiting off of welfare will be able to better adapt receiving the child support owed by the father. The assured benefit undoubtedly has potential to reduce welfare dependence substantially; therefore, despite increasing the number of beneficiaries, it is likely to reduce administrative costs and the overall scope of government. The child support benefit is an ideal mechanism for supplementing the earnings of single mothers not on welfare.
ADVICE FOR ADVOCATES:
When legislators criticizes CSA as expanding the role of government, focus and link this expansion to child support enforcement arguing that CSA will bring more noncustodial fathers into the child support system and will hold them accountable for their financial responsibility to their children.
D. CSA IS JUST ANOTHER FORM OF WELFARE OR WELFARE BY ANOTHER NAME
Unlike TANF, CSA was designed to supplement not replace a parents income. It is a way to decrease the number of people receiving TANF (formerly AFDC) and other welfare benefits. In the past the attraction to welfare was that, although the benefits were low, they were certain. With the passage of PRWORA welfare is no longer certain. After two years of receiving TANF, recipients will be ineligible. The assured child support benefit makes life working and outside of welfare more secure and less intimidating. The assured benefit does not reduce dollar for dollar like welfare, because CSA objective is to insure all children receive the child support they are entitled to. If families are to escape poverty or be independent after welfare their custodial parents earnings must be supplemented by child support.
The assured benefit assures all children are legally entitled to private child support against the risk that the nonresident parents will fail to pay and the government will fail to collect. For the poorest of families, an assured child support benefit is more likely to be a long-term supplement to private child support paid by the nonresident parent, until the parent can receive training and employment to pay the support in full. The assured benefit reduces economic insecurity, not only by providing insurance, but also by increasing income.
ADVICE FOR ADVOCATES:
Child Support Assurance is a great program for low-income working families, however, it is more likely to be accepted if it is "packaged" as a program for working and middle class custodial parents. The program is politically feasible framed this way because it is not viewed as a substitute for work or another form of welfare. Although the new welfare program now has a work requirement, by bringing in welfare recipients you bring CSA into the politics of welfare, which make it difficult to garner bipartisan support. Furthermore, it will be difficult to encourage the middle class custodial parents to advocate for CSA if it is "sold" as a program for welfare recipients. Although welfare recipients will not receive CSA, once their benefits are terminated or they leave the program CSA is available to supplement their employment income. The likelihood of passing CSA legislation is better if advocates can separate CSA from the politics of welfare and organize working and middle class parents, specifically women, to support the program.
A question to ask state legislators is how do we allow parents to be parents and workers? The answer is Child Support Assurance. Single parents raising a child today need assistance, unless the parent is upper middle class. Never will the minimum benefit replace work, but it will help families, all families, raise their children. Discuss Child Support Assurance as a way to help the working parent but realize in this group the working poor will be included. Do not approach a minimum benefit as just a program for the working poor.
E. CSA WILL DISCOURAGE MARRIAGE AND ENCOURAGE OUT-OF WEDLOCK BIRTHS
Millions of American children are affected by the negative consequences of broken families and disrupted marriages. The effects of divorce and out-of wedlock childbearing on the parent child relationship are negative. Often children lose all the benefits that come from a mother or father figure as a role model and caretaker and often the financial advantages of having both parents, even if child support is paid. Some critics claim Child Support Assurance encourages mothers to have children outside of marriage because they will receive financial support regardless if the parents marry. CSA has been accused of deteriorating the social, economic, and legal status of marriage. Some opponents believed the program makes raising a child outside of marriage easier.
There is no empirical evidence that a program such as Child Support Assurance will discourage marriage and encourage divorce. CSA brings noncustodial parents into the child support system and makes both parents more accountable. Efficient child support enforcement would make it unattractive for men to father and abandon children. Child Support Assurance forces noncustodial parents to provide financial assistance. CSA may actually discourage divorce. No parent should have to do the work of two. By forcing a parent to provide support financially, noncustodial parents are encouraged to lend emotional, disciplinary, and developmental support as well.
ADVICE FOR ADVOCATES:
The argument that CSA is "deteriorating" the family can be defeated by stressing CSA actually strengthens the parent-child relationship. When discussing CSA it is important to discuss how the program will encourage a continual relationship between noncustodial parents and their children. Advocates should "sell" the program by linking CSA to a noncustodial parents' responsibility to his/her children.
F. DISINCENTIVE FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
Domestic violence is a prevalent problem among low-income women. Batterers often try to control their partners by preventing them from working or going to school. Even after the women get away from these abusive relationships, for many of them, the mental and physical effects of domestic violence interfere with their becoming self-sufficient.
Critics contend domestic violence victims will be unwilling to participate in CSA because they fear CSA will aggravate and intensify their abusive relationship. In order for the government to collect child support from noncustodial parents, paternity needs to be established and child support collection regulations enforced. This often requires detailed information about the noncustodial parent. Abused women often cannot safely cooperate without increasing the likelihood of additional abuse. Many victims have gone underground to avoid violence and are scared to seek child support because this might alert their abusers to their location. Also, paternity and child support enforcement court proceedings involve physical contact with the abuser in the courtroom which could lead to additional and emotional trauma.
Unfortunately, this is valid and persuasive argument that cannot be overcome by stressing the basic components of CSA. However, states can alter the fundamental design of CSA and provide a "good cause" exemption from mandatory cooperation in paternity and child support collection efforts if the woman is afraid that serious physical or emotional harm will come to her from participating in the program. See Section IV CSA is Politically Feasible for further discussion about domestic violence exemptions.
ADVICE FOR ADVOCATES:
It is important when designing a CSA program to consider the problem of domestic violence and search of innovative solutions to allow domestic violence victims to take advantage of CSA programs.
G. CSA IS COSTLY
The most common argument against the assured child support benefit is cost. People often assume that a CSA program will be extremely expensive to implement, and they do not want to pay for it. How much CSA will cost depends primarily on the extent to which its collection side components increase child support collections compared to the extra costs associated with the assured benefit. CSA was initially thought to be cost-neutral because the increased cost of the assured benefits are offset by TANF savings that arise principally from increased child support payments and its improved work incentive. However, even if CSA as a whole is cost neutral, that does not mean that it is costfree. The assured benefit component can be considered independent of the collection provisions, and it does have costs.
As we mentioned in Section II C., New York's Child Assistance Program is one of the only programs that has been studied in any detail that has actually monitored cost. CAP's five year evaluation found that the program led to an increase in child support orders and collections, generated tax revenue and lowered expenditure for public assistance, and saved $10 for every dollar increase in administrative expenses. It is important to keep in mind that CAP is only available to those families eligible for welfare benefits (formally AFDC, now TANF). The cost effectiveness of the CAP program is directly related to the number of people on their welfare rolls and the costs savings of their welfare programs. Therefore, although favorable, CAP's evaluation may not be accurate if you structure a CSA program that excludes welfare recipients. The costs analysis will be very different because CSA's influence on the welfare numbers is not a primary consideration.
ADVICE FOR ADVOCATES:
It is essential to link CSA to child support enforcement. By doing so, CSA becomes a way to crack down on deadbeat parents. Therefore, when people get upset about the costs of the program, they will go after the noncustodial parents who are not paying their child support. Linking CSA to child support enforcement also brings the focus back to the children who are entitled to this money.
It is also important to become educated on the costs and evaluations of CSA before lobbying state legislatures. Arm yourself with facts and figures so that you appear knowledgeable, reasonable, and honest. It is highly recommend that advocates contact designers and administrators of the New York CAP program and discuss with them the cost effectiveness of the program. This will enable advocates to provide statistics and data on costs and to consider counter arguments that will have to be overcome.
IV. CSA IS POLITICALLY FEASIBLE
A. Basic Components for Effective CSA Lobbying for CSA
Understand the relationship between child/family advocates and state legislators.
Keep relations friendly. Many legislators see advocates as disrespectful of the legislative process and the leaders themselves so they are hesitant to support the advocates' legislation. Your attitude does matter so have a good one.
Be educated. Legislators lose respect for advocates who do not understand the legislative process or the specifics on their legislation. Understand what is going on before talking to the legislature because a lack of understanding of the political process is a major barrier to advancing child and family agendas
Be visible to leaders. State legislatures have to know what child and family issues exist before they can pass legislation. Work with other child and family advocacy groups to gain a large constituency that will be more visible and have a greater impact on legislatures. One way to do this is to build coalitions with businesses. Businesses often appear nonpartisan and their support is very important to state legislators.
Be Bipartisan. Most legislators assume advocates for children and families are liberal and Democratic while the legislators, themselves, are increasingly conservative and Republican. This perception can cause a great deal of tension between advocates and legislators. Therefore, when drafting legislation, be educated on the philosophical differences between parties and then respect and integrate those differences into your work. Try to keep the discussion of the assured benefit from becoming a partisan political issue.
Understand how to address and frame children's issues when discussing CSA.
Get to know your legislative leaders. Who are the leaders in your legislature? Who is important? To get legislation passed, you must build an ongoing relationship with and gain the support of important leaders. Find someone who is well respected and is willing to spread the word about CSA and make it their specialty.
Pursue a realistic and manageable agenda. Prioritize. Be willing to compromise. Do not ask for everything at once because legislators will think that you are asking for too much and are unwilling to compromise. Focus on two or three of your main priorities. However, make sure you do not sacrifice the essence of Child Support Assurance.
Obtain factual and statistical data. It is imperative to use data from other Child Support Assurance programs to show cost effectiveness. Independent studies showing the significance of the program in increasing household earnings, reducing the dependency on welfare money and increasing the number of families who remain independent of the system after entrance or graduation is quite persuasive. Legislators respond best to reasoned, thoughtful, and data supported arguments. However, keep in mind that legislators seldom take the time to read lengthy documents and usually rely on briefings from individuals.
Do not threaten. Legislative leaders respond to large constituencies and organized campaigns, not threats.
Remember the budget. Everything is predicated on the budget so identify the key legislators in the budget, get involved early in the budget process, and stay involved. It is most important that you get involved early because any legislation requiring funding is more likely to be approved if funding is in place at the beginning.
Work district by district. Legislators are elected by their district and therefore respond more to lobbying by constituents from his or her district.
Focus on family. Many legislators will worry that CSA encourages a breakdown of the nuclear family. This opposition can be overcome by linking CSA to child support enforcement. Argue that CSA brings fathers into the child support system and holds them accountable for their children. CSA is a crack down on deadbeat dads which is essential because no one parent should have to do the work of two.
Become involved in the political process. Some advocacy groups choose not to be involved because they regard their work as separate from the government. Other groups are limited by finances and IRS regulations governing tax-exemptions. However, to get legislation passed, you must be involved and be familiar with the process.
Secure the Governor's support. Work with the Governor's office and the legislature before submitting legislation. Most state agencies have worked with the state legislature and then are delayed by the Governor's office.
Beware of welfare! The politics of welfare are very controversial and tense, so it is best to avoid them. One way to do this is to design your program so that all custodial parents only get the assured benefit except welfare recipients. Otherwise, people will argue that CSA is only welfare by another name. Sell CSA as a good way to change the economic position of single parent families without expanding welfare. Another suggestion to avoid welfare is to emphasize the benefit of CSA to middle class parents. Get middle class parents to talk about the problems they encounter when they do not receive their child support check. This draws CSA out of the realm of welfare which is so dangerous.
Be specific as possible in your legislation. Push for authorizing legislation that is specific about what the parameters of the CSA project are. State officials should know from the start how many counties are to be involved, what the range of assured payments are to be, and who is eligible to receive them. Do not leave the legislators thinking that the designers could design something very different from what the legislature had envisioned.
Connect CSA to work and responsibility! Put CSA in terms of assisting working families. The minimum CSA benefit is not a substitute for work. Many salaries and child support collection levels are so low that a guaranteed payment is needed if people are going to be able to combine child support with wages from work in order to leave welfare.
B. Creating Bipartisan Support
State legislators agree that poverty among children is a serious problem, and both political parties want to help these children. However, one reason why more states have not adopted a CSA program is because it is difficult to gain bipartisan support for such a concept. Some of the reasons for this difficulty are as follows:
The current political climate is to reduce costs and save money. Today, nobody is an advocate of welfare. Expanding government intervention to child and family issues costs money and "handing out free money" does not provide adequate incentives for families to make it on their own. Many leaders argue that taking care of children must rest with the parents, not the government. These leaders see CSA as another form of welfare which they are unwilling to support.
The current political climate led to the PRWORA. PRWORA repeals the old AF
DC program and creates the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant (TANF). These two programs act to reduce the assistance available to poor families by putting a five year lifetime limit on welfare receipt and requiring mothers to work after two years on welfare. The welfare reductions established by PRWORA were fueled by the predominant belief in Congress that the government should not be giving free handouts to the poor. It is very difficult to gain support for CSA with such major legislation on the books that adheres to the view that financing mothers and children living in poverty is not a priority of our government.
Another reason CSA has not been implemented is because it is extremely difficult to get legislation passed. The legislative process is very involved, and a bill must overcome numerous obstacles passing through various committees before it is approved. Therefore, the already existing difficulty of creating bipartisan support of CSA due to the tense political climate that surrounds child and family issues is enhanced by the difficulty of passing any legislation due to the arduous process.
C. Plausible CSA Proposals
1. CSA Under the PRWORA: What a State Funded CSA Program Would Look Like Under PRWORA
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) presents a significant opportunity for states to implement a Child Support Assurance program. This section of the manual describes the legal framework and the basic design of CSA under this new legislation.
2. The Legal Framework
PRWORA created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant under which each state receives a block of federal money to be used as aid to needy families. To receive its full TANF block grant, each state must continue to spend from its own money at least 80% of what it previously spent on programs for the poor (this is known as the TANF maintenance of effort funds). A state may choose to spend its maintenance of effort funds on state programs wholly separate from TANF that primarily serve families otherwise eligible for TANF assistance.
Under PRWORA, there is a five year time limit to receiving assistance funded with federal TANF dollars. There are also work requirements for all families with adults (or minor heads of households) receiving assistance under the TANF program. In addition, families who receive aid under the TANF program must assign their child support rights to the state which then shares that money with the federal government.
If a state attempted to run a CSA program with federal TANF funds, all requirements of TANF assistance would be applicable. Families receiving assistance through the program would be subject to TANF time limits and work requirements, as well as the requirement to sign over their child support rights to the state. These requirements do not apply to a wholly state funded assistance program, even if it is structured to count towards TANF maintenance of effort (which means it is a qualified expenditure for TANF-eligible families.) The inapplicability of federal requirements to state funded assistance allows the states to develop CSA programs to aid families with child support orders. Therefore, it is critical to these families that any CSA system be funded strictly through state dollars.
3. Basic Design
The state would operate a federally funded TANF program for families with minor children who meet the state's requirements to receive such aid. The state would also offer qualifying families payments from a separate state-funded CSA system. Any eligible family with a support order could chose which program to participate.
The state would need to set an assured support level which might vary according to the number of children in the family. The state would then provide supplemental payments so that the combination of a family's actual child support and the supplemental payment did not fall below the assured level. The CSA program could be available as: 1) a Diversion Program - an alternative to TANF for families with a child support order who have not yet entered TANF and/or 2) a Transition Program-an option for TANF families with a support order who find employment and want to leave TANF.
In exchange for the CSA payment, the custodial parent would have to agree to use the state's child support system. This would help the state keep accurate records of collections and disbursements, and allow for immediate action to enforce the order if payments were not made. The custodial parent might also be required to agree to let the state retain arrearages applicable to the period when the obligated parent did not pay support allowing the state to recover at least partially the cost of the guaranteed payment. This keeps the cost of the program reasonably and the obligated parent is not tempted to rely on the state to avoid paying child support .
D. Recommended Design Alternatives for State CSA Programs
Domestic Violence Exemption
In Section III, the importance of designing a CSA program with a good cause exemption for domestic violence victims was discussed. In order to assist battered women, groups advocating for CSA must consider the safety of women and their children when designing a CSA program. One design alternative is to push for a program that offers victims of abuse sufficient time and services to recover from the trauma of the abuse. These services may take the form of an exemption for battered women to all the usual child support cooperation requirements.
For women applying for welfare benefits, current federal law mandates a good cause exemption from mandatory cooperation in paternity and child support collection efforts if the woman is afraid that serious physical or emotional harm will come to her or her children as a result of child support enforcement. It is possible for states, when designing a CSA program, to adopt a similar amendment which allows for good cause waivers for residency requirements, child-support reporting and other program requirements where complying would unfairly penalize victims or expose them to risk of further domestic violence. In the Appendix, there is a draft of the proposed Massachusetts regulation pursuant to the Family Violence Option. This regulation contains the type of exemption a state would want to include as a component of their CSA program.
Employment Assistance Program for Noncustodial Parents
As discussed in Section III, some parents do not pay child support because they are unemployed or in low-wage contingent employment due to lack of adequate training. Enacting an employment assistance program simultaneously with a CSA program is a creative and innovative way to solve this problem and would insure that the government would be able to collect child support from these fathers.
Two multi-state demonstrations have yielded successful results and a considerable amount of literature written on them is MDRC's Parent's Fair Share Demonstration and Public Private Ventures' Young Unwed Fathers Pilot. Currently, three state parental programs that explore ways to provide employment and training services to noncustodial fathers who do not pay child support: 1) Illinois' Noncustodial Parent Unit, administered by the Illinois Department of Public Aid, Division of Child Support Enforcement, a Non Custodial Parent Services Unit, 2)Arkansas's Alternative Parental Support Program run by the state and local agencies; 3) Prince Georges, Maryland Absent Parent and Young Father's Program.
Employment assistance can include the following:
- job search assistance
- short term job training
- GED training
- classroom remedial education
- job readiness and preemployment training
- community service work.
- on-the-job training
These programs primarily provide employment assistance to noncustodial parents unable to provide support to their children due to lack of employment and do not solely focus on the parent's financial responsibilities but also on the child's developmental and emotional needs.
c. States CSA Design Options
There are three different types of CSA programs that states can implement: Universal CSA, CSA Within the Welfare System, CSA for Everyone Except Welfare Recipients
A universal CSA program is one that allows every single parent to receive the assured benefit. It does not distinguish between recipients based on their incomes or their participation in TANF. Consequently, upper income custodial parents, middle income custodial parents, low-income working class custodial parents, and custodial parents receiving TANF would all be eligible to participate in CSA.
CSA within the Welfare System
CSA can also be implemented as a feature of state's welfare programs. In this CSA program, the only people eligible for CSA benefits are those eligible for TANF. This type of system targets the "truly needy" and confines CSA benefits only to the them.
CSA for Everyone Except Welfare Recipients
An alternative type of CSA program is one that allows all single parents to receive the assured benefit except for welfare recipients. Single parents would only receive the Child Support Assurance benefit if they were not also receiving welfare benefits. States can put a cap on the amount of income of parents eligible to receive CSA benefits (i.e. exclude custodial parents with incomes over $70,000.)
It is to the advocates' advantage to structure their CSA program for everyone except welfare recipients. This structure is the most politically feasible because CSA is more likely to garner support if it is "sold" as a program for working families. Allowing welfare recipients to receive the assured benefit brings CSA into the welfare controversial, where critics will argue that it is a disincentive for work. Although welfare now has a work requirement of its own, bringing welfare recipients into CSA links CSA to welfare and could easily lead to political failure.
One argument against this design is that it only helps those families above the poverty line and does not help the truly needed like the other two options. Although this may be true, to successfully garner bipartisan support, it is the most politically feasible option.
Today, more families then ever are headed by single parents, and many of them are living in poverty. This is a problem that cannot be ignored, especially with the current changes in the welfare system. CSA presents an alternative vision by which children from low-income families could see a substantial increase in the amount of income available to them each month. Such a benefit will reduce economic insecurity by securing a base of child support which is of value to single parents and their children. However, to make CSA work, above all else, advocates must become involved and educated. Only then, will CSA be able to be developed on the state level.
CHILD SUPPORT ASSURANCE BIBLIOGRAPHY
David L. Chambers, Fathers, the Welfare System, and the Virtues and Perils of Child Support Enforcement, 81 Virginia Law Review 2575 (1995).
Donald E. Chambers, Social Policy and Social Programs: A Method for the Practical Public Policy Analyst (1986).
Child Support Assurance Act of 1992: Hearings on S.2343 Before the Subcommittee on Children, Family, Drugs, and Alcoholism of the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, 102d Cong., 2d Sess. (1992).
Thomas J. Corbett, Social Policy: Essays Reflecting of the Difference Between Expectation and Actuality (1988) (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin (Madison)) (on file with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Library).
David T. Ellwood, Poor Support: Poverty in the American Family (1988).
Irwin Garfinkel, Assuring Child Support: An Extension of Social Security (1992).
Irwin Garfinkel, Child Support Assurance: An Additional to Our Social Security Menu, (Paul N. Van de Water & Lisbeth B. Schorr. eds., 1992).
Irwin Garfinkel, The Child Support Revolution, 84 The American Economic Review 81 (1994).
Irwin Garfinkel, A New Child Support Assurance System (1990).
Irwin Garfinkel et al., Child Support and Dependency (1987) (Discussion Paper #838-87, Institute for Reaseach on Poverty, Madison, WI.).
Irwin Garfinkel et al., The Wisconsin Child Support System: Estimated Effects on Poverty, Labor Supply, Caseloads, and Costs, Journal of Human Resources, Summer 1988, Vol. 25(1), 1-31.
Bruce L. Gates, Social Program Administration: The Implementation of Social Policy (1980).
Hearings on the Downey-Hyde Child Support Enforcement and Assurance Proposal, Before the Subcomm. on Human Resources of the House Comm. on Ways and Means, 102d Cong., 2d Sess. (1992).
Institute for Research on Poverty Study, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Child Support Assurance: Design Issues, Expected Impacts, and Political Barriers as Seen from Wisconsin (Irwin Garfinkel et al. eds., 1992).
Jason Juffras, Issues in Child Support Assurance (1991).
Yeun Hee Kim, The Economic Effects of the Combined Non-Income-Tested Transfers for Families with Children: Child Support Assurance, Children's Allowance, and National Health Insurance (1993) (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin (Madison)) (on file with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Library).
Robert I. Lerman, Policy Watch: Child Support Policies, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Winter 1993, Vol. 7(1), 171-182.
Daniel R. Meyer & Rebecca Y. Kim, Incorporating Labor Supply Responses Into the Estimated Effects of an Assured Child Support Benefit, (1994) (Discussion Paper #1033-94, Institute for Research on Poverty, Madison, WI).
New Directions in Child Support: Child Support Assurance: Hearings Before the Subcomm. on Children, Family, Drugs, and Alcoholism of the Senate Comm. on Labor and Human Resources, 103d Cong. (1993).
Ann Nichols-Casebolt, The Economic Impact of Child Support Reform on the Poverty Status of Custodial and Noncustodial Families, 48 Journal of Marriage and the Family 875 (1986).
Ann Nichols-Casebolt and Irwin Garfinkel, New Child Support Assurance Program: The Wisconsin Demonstration, 32 Social Work 445 (1987).
Paula Roberts, Child Support Enforcement and Assurance: One Part of an Anti-Povety Strategy for Women, 21 Social Justice 76 (1994)
Paula Roberts, An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Child Support Assurance, 26 Clearinghouse 766 (1992).
Theda Skocpol, Lessons from History: Building A Movement for America's Children (1997).
Theda Skocpol & William Julius Wilson, Welfare As We Need It, NY. Times, Feb. 9, 1994, at A21.
Elaine Sorensen & Sandra Clark, A Child-Support Assurance Program: How Much Well It Reduce child Poverty, and at What Cost?, 84 The American Economic Review 114 (1994).
Archibald Stuart, Rescuing Children: Reforms in the Child Support System, Social Service Review, June 1986.
Subcomm. on Human Resources of the House Comm. on Ways and Means, 102d Cong., Written Comments on the Downey-Hyde Child Support Enforcement and Assurance Proposal (Comm. Print 1993).
Stephen D. Sugarman, Financial Support of Children and the End of Welfare as We Know It, 81 Va. L. Rev. 2523 (1995).
U.S. General Accounting Office, Child Support Assurance: Effect of Applying State Guidelines to Determine Fathers' Payments (GAO/HRD-93-26, January 1993).
1. 0 The public subsidy portion of the assured benefit may be counted as taxable income for the resident parent.
2. 0 If you would like to learn more about these CSA pilots and proposals obtain Child Support Assurance: Pilots and Proposals from the Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington, D.C. This booklet discusses each states demonstration design and proposal, the politics behind "selling" CSA on the state level, and provides recommendations for future states interested in implementing a pilot.
3. 0 To obtain evaluations of the CAP program, contact Abt Associates, 55 Wheeler Street Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138.
4. 0 The Appendix includes a draft of the California bill.
5. 0 To read more about advance maintenance programs in other countries see Alfred J. Kahn and Shelia B. Kamerman, Income Transfers for Families with Children: An Eight- Country Study (1983).
6. 0 42 U.S.C. Sec. (a) (7), Family Violence Option.
7. 0 Many domestic violence advocates were disappointed with these guidelines, but agreed they were a good start in the right direction.
8. 0 This is not an issue in every state. In some states there is more of an opportunity to work within the welfare system. Advocates should evaluate their state's political climate before designing a CSA program.
9. 0 If advocates decide to design a CSA program with a work requirement, it is important to create a work exemption for parents who cannot work.