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Tag Archives: Fatherhood
How did your father influence your life’s path? My father taught me that I could think for myself and solve problems if I tried. He expected me to achieve.
Fathers matter to their children. In fact, research says that father-child relationships influence children as much as mother-child relationships. Fathers influence their children in different ways than mothers. Babies who interact with their fathers tend to acquire language skills more readily. Children whose fathers spend time with them do better in school, have more self-control, and are more ambitious and willing to embrace risk. Teens who feel close to their fathers start having sex later.
Fathers are more involved with their children than ever before. The roles of mothers and fathers are converging. Most families with children have two incomes and share in the care of their children. And more fathers provide the primary care of their children. The research says that African-American fathers are more likely to physically care for their children and prepare meals for them than other fathers. Most nonresident fathers maintain contact with their children, and many are involved with their children’s daily activities. Nonresident fathers who have jobs are more likely to be involved with their children. An equal number of moms and dads say that parenting is rewarding and central to their identity.
So what happens when a father is incarcerated? Emerging research finds that when fathers are sent to jail or prison, their children pay the price. And this is particularly true of sons. Sons of incarcerated fathers show more aggressive behavior and attention problems. Children of incarcerated fathers have more contact with the child welfare system.
The negative impact of incarceration on child well-being goes beyond parental separation of other kinds. Incarceration adds a barrier to employment and diminishes earnings potential. Incarceration can reduce a father’s ability to work, earn, and pay child support after release. Incarceration also negatively impacts the relationship between the parents. It can break up families. When a father or mother goes to prison, a child’s path is changed forever.
In recognition of Father’s Day and the fifth anniversary of Turner v. Rogers, the June 2016 Child Support Report (CSR) provides information on fatherhood program resources in the child support community. We also feature stories on procedural justice because this can be critically important when a child support office is determining a parent’s ability to make payments. In the June edition, you’ll also learn more about customer service at the federal level and how the child support program helps parents and state agencies.
We work in child support to help kids. Let’s put the needs of children first in our daily case decisions.
I am pleased to describe the child support-related legislative proposals included in the Administration’s FY 2017 Budget. We are renewing a number of prior proposals for efforts to ensure that children benefit when support is paid, promote access and visitation, improve program efficiency, and for dedicated research funding. We’re adding new proposals to further strengthen enforcement. And, this year, we’re proposing a Child Support Technology Fund to promote the replacement of aging child support systems.
Below are the six areas of legislative proposals related to child support. These summaries offer a quick read on the proposals; for more details, see our FY 2017 Budget fact sheet. It is a supplement at the end of the February-March 2015 Child Support Report (CSR).
Child Support Technology Fund — to promote the replacement of aging child support systems to increase system security, efficiency, and integrity
Child Support Research Fund — to spark research, build the child support evidence base, and tailor the appropriate child support enforcement tools for each family
Strengthening Establishment and Enforcement — to increase collections and program efficiency
Child Support and Fatherhood Initiative — to encourage noncustodial parents to support their children and play an active role in their lives; to build on the family distribution reforms included in the 1996 and 2006 statutes; to encourage states to pass through child support collections to TANF families so that when parents pay child support, their children benefit; to support safe increased access and visitation services and integrating these services into the core child support program to improve collections and parent-child relationships and outcomes for children
Medicaid and Child Support Proposals — to allow states to eliminate Medicaid’s requirement to assign the right to cash medical child support to the state as a condition of eligibility to reduce barriers to health care access and increase resources for the poorest families
NDNH Access Proposals — to allow certain additional programs and agencies authority to access NDNH data for program integrity, implementation, and research purposes
As we focus on the budget, in the February-March CSR, Washington and Nebraska child support offices share their insights on another important planning tool — the strategic plan. Washington shares its story on the systematic steps staff members took to develop their plan, including using a visual management tool to display progress. Nebraska staff and leaders used a roadmap analogy to describe their process in developing their strategic operations plan. We’ll continue the discussion on strategic planning in next month’s CSR.
In the meantime, we would like to hear your thoughts on the FY 2017 Budget.
We’re always looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of our child support program, particularly in three major areas, modernizing technology, increasing procedural fairness, and gathering evidence of programs that work. In honor of Father’s Day, our June Child Support Report focuses on programs and initiatives that help fathers deepen their financial and emotional commitments to their children.
For more than 20 years, OCSE has been involved in efforts to secure consistent support for children through programs to improve parental responsibility and increase child support collections. Ongoing research and evaluation efforts are designed to yield the evidence required for developing and replicating program models.
Some of the earliest examples funded by the Office of Child Support Enforcement include the Parents Fair Share demonstration grants of the 1990s and the Partners for Fragile Families demonstration grants of the early 2000s. Both project designs aimed to improve child support payment compliance by increasing employment, earnings, peer support, and cooperative parenting, and by improving child support services. Noncustodial parents who
participated in the projects said they felt better about their roles as fathers and their ability to support their children financially.
Today, ongoing research projects will add to the evidence base for child support programs.
These studies include
- Child Support Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) sponsored by OCSE (CSPED Fact Sheet #1)
- Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation of four Office of Family Assistance Responsible Fatherhood grantees conducted by the Administration for Children and Families (“Addressing Low-Income Fathers’ Legal Needs” article in the June Child Support Report and the Parents and Children Together (PACT) Evaluation webpage)
- Department of Labor Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release (LEAP) initiative designed to increase employment for individuals, including parents, who have been incarcerated
- Paycheck Plus, a demonstration conducted by MDRC with OCSE support to test Earned Income Tax Credit-like benefits for workers who do not live with children, including noncustodial parents (Behavioral Buzz newsletter article, Helping Paycheck Plus participants plan to participate in an informational meeting)
Ongoing research and evaluation efforts are designed to build the evidence required for developing and replicating effective program models. No other program has such extensive contact with fathers as child support does. We know that effective child support is linked with higher father involvement. Fathers who are involved with their children are more likely to pay child support, and fathers who pay child support are more likely to stay involved. We also know that parents — fathers and mothers — are more likely to engage with the child support program if they feel that they are treated fairly and even-handedly, receive timely information, and experience the child support program as genuinely helpful and concerned about their well-being.
The most effective child support programs combine modern technology with parental engagement and evidence-based strategies to increase collections and address barriers to
Read more about effective child support practices in our June Child Support Report.
The child support program continues to evolve as families change. Our Father’s Day issue of the Child Support Report highlights innovative strategies that child support programs are using to work with both parents to increase the support that children receive from their noncustodial parents.
Erin Frisch, Michigan child support director, describes how her state improved customer service and office efficiency by streamlining case management so that case workers can really help parents.
Former NBA player and fatherhood advocate Etan Thomas observes that “the programs that couple the inspirational messages with the tools to help fathers succeed often work the best.”
Chad Edinger, who prior to coming to OCSE had extensive experience implementing fatherhood and family-centered initiatives in Colorado, surveys child support-coordinated employment programs for noncustodial parents in 30 states and the District of Columbia and describes our National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration Project, or CSPED.
Susan Brown, Franklin County, Ohio, child support director, emphasizes the importance of research to help us understand and meet the needs of the communities we serve.
Freda Randolph Glenn, operations manager for the San Francisco child support program, describes the county’s innovative work with community colleges so that custodial parents can finish school and noncustodial parents can share parenting time.
Jeff Stocks, our OCSE specialist in Kansas City, partners with Kate Goudy-Haht from Iowa State University to describe a new high school curriculum developed by the Iowa child support program.
And Beatrice Locks reports on $26 million in collections for children and families from OCSE’s Insurance Match program.
This is today’s child support program. I am proud to work for a program that constantly innovates in order to stay true to its mission.
The child support program is one of the few government programs that systematically reach men, and the only one to do so in their roles as fathers. Because the program serves so many children—a quarter of all children and half of all poor children—and both their parents throughout childhood, it is uniquely positioned to connect men to a range of resources to help them be the fathers they want to be.
Across the country, child support programs are finding innovative new ways to help fathers provide for their children. State and local child support agencies have engaged in outreach, referral, case management and other activities in partnership with fatherhood, workforce, veterans, reentry, and asset-building programs to increase the ability of parents to support their children. They are working to engage fathers in the lives of their children, to increase noncustodial parent employment, to improve family relationships, and to address family violence prevention.
The OCSE “bubble chart” promotes the child support program’s vision for a more holistic family-centered approach to service delivery. Our collaborations with other public agencies and community organizations in the six domains of the bubble chart are enhancing the success of our program’s fundamental mission to reinforce the responsibility of parents to support their children when they live apart and to encourage fathers and mothers to be involved in their children’s lives.
OCSE reconfirms our commitment to fatherhood issues through participation in a range of federal interagency initiatives, including six listed on page 3 in the June Child Support Report.
This month, the Child Support Report also brings you voices of fathers—leaders of three national organizations—who discuss their views on fatherhood. Four other articles look at research and state perspectives about unwed parents in our program. Several highlight the need for more services that target fathers across the country and point out efforts that are showing signs of success. All of the articles—plus another (on page 8) about a North Carolina county partnership with the local library—demonstrate the child support program’s obligation to speak out about our commitment to fatherhood issues.
We have a long way to go, but our collaborative work at every level of government and with community organizations strengthens our important message that the child support program is here to help parents, children, and families.
Happy Father’s Day to all!