Empowering families to support children
Child Support programs were designed for the "traditional" family structure in which Dad works outside the home while Mom cares for the children. In the event of divorce, Dad would be required to provide financial resources to Mom.
Families are now much more dynamic and often defy traditional definitions. According to Pew Research, 54 percent of U.S. children don’t live in a home with two heterosexual parents in their first marriage. Many Americans are delaying or foregoing marriage. One-third of U.S. kids live with a single parent.
At the same time, Child Support provides critical financial resources to children living in poverty. When collected, Child Support payments provide more support per month than SNAP/Food Stamps, WIC or TANF.
Given today’s dynamics, there’s an opportunity to fundamentally rethink how states approach Child Support—and embrace bold change to deliver better outcome for families.
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Child Support programs have an opportunity to evolve to meet the dynamic needs of today’s families. These questions can spark fresh thinking.
How would it look if we empowered both the custodial and non-custodial parents to decide how to support their children?
If states allowed complete pass-through of Child Support collections, how could this drive better outcomes for families?
What if states started using technology to take a more nuanced approach to establishing and enforcing support orders?
Hear from our experts and get their insights on the most pressing issues facing child support organizations.
Michigan’s Office of Child Support (OCS) plays a crucial role in helping to ensure children receive the financial support they need even when their parents are not together.
The OCS wanted to address a key challenge: that as many as one in five child support cases kept getting "stuck" in pre-obligation, the first step in obtaining an obligation to pay child support.
As a result, too many children were waiting to receive support, and the OCS was at risk of not meeting federal child support guidelines for the percentage of open cases for which obligation is established.
Reflecting Michigan’s strategic goal of using analytics to improve child support services and outcomes for families, the OCS decided to test predictive analytics as a tool for understanding—and reversing—that trend.