Release of New Access and Visitation Program Data for Services Provided to Parents in FY 2004
DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER
ATTACHMENT: Preliminary Data: Child Access and Visitation Grants- State Profiles (FY 2004)
DATE: July 29, 2005
TO: All State IV-D Directors All State Child Access and Visitation Program Coordinators
RE: Release of New Access and Visitation Program Data for Services Provided to Parents in FY 2004 (October, 2003 – September, 2004)
I am pleased to provide you with a copy of the attached document, “Preliminary Data: Child Access and Visitation Grants – State Profiles (FY 2004).”
The goal of this $10 million per year, legislatively-mandated grant program is to “…enable states to establish and administer programs to support and facilitate non-custodial parents’ access to and visitation of their children…”. Allowable services include: mediation, development of parenting plans, counseling, parent education, visitation enforcement (supervised visitation and neutral drop-off), and development of guidelines for visitation and alternative custody arrangements.
This report is divided into three sections:
Section I: Overview;
Section II: State Program Trends & Statistical Highlights; and
Section III: Individual State Profiles & Contact Information.
This document highlights access and visitation services provided by states to nearly 71,000 parents during October 1, 2003 – September 30, 2004. In addition, this report includes information on the socio-economic characteristics of parents served and, of particular importance, linkages to state and local, court, and community and/or faith-based service providers. A summary of the year-in-review is as follows:
Record Number of Parents Served: Nearly 71,000 were served in FY 2004 (1,000 more than in FY 2003 and 51,000 more than in FY 1998, the first year the program became operational). The introduction of a relatively new data element has allowed states to collect information on the number of children relative to the number of parents served.
Nearly Equal Number of Mothers and Fathers Served: Approximately 35,217 mothers and 32,906 fathers were served in FY 2004. An additional 2,300 clients served were either grandparents of or legal guardians to the children.
State Efforts Focused on Unmet Child Access Needs of Unmarried Parents: The largest group of parents served during FY 2004 were unmarried parents (40%) with divorced parents second (28%). Approximately 19% of parents were separated, and 13% reported they were married to each other.
Majority of Clients are Low-Income: The majority of parents served earned less than $20,000.
For a more comprehensive review and discussion of these findings and other data please refer to the attached document.
The Access and Visitation program will be featured in two important ways during our upcoming 15th National Child Support Enforcement Training Conference: 1) there will be two “cross-over” workshops open to all conference attendees; and 2) there will be a day-and-a half private meeting between State Child Access Program Coordinators, Federal OCSE staff, and invited experts in the field. We hope you can join us October 24-26, 2005 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Virginia.
Given that our two programs often serve the same children and families, I thank all of you for recognizing the need for program collaboration. This report is evidence that our joint partnership is working to provide child access services to those who need them.
David H. Siegel
Office of Child Support Enforcement
cc: ACF Regional Administrators
Regional Program Managers