The Child Support Program Provides More Support to Families in 2016

December 1, 2017
screen shot of 2016 infographic


The child support program continues to serve many families and children each year. Our recently released infographic (PDF) highlights the successes of the child support program in the areas of collections, caseload (number of children served), and cost-effectiveness. The infographic also compares child support to other programs that serve children. This blog takes a closer look at the data presented in the infographic.

Child Support Collects Nearly $33 Billion in FY 2016

State child support agencies collect child support payments primarily through withholding income from a noncustodial parent’s paycheck. Of the $32.8 billion in total collections (IV-D and non IV-D) in FY 2016, employers collected about $24.6 billion through income withholding, representing 75% of total child support payments. The remaining 25% was collected through various other sources, such as offsets of state and federal tax refunds and unemployment compensation. Of the total amount of child support payments collected, 95% went directly to families.

Child Support Serves More than 15 Million Children in FY 2016

In FY 2016, the child support program served 15.6 million children, or 1 in 5, in the United States, making child support one of the largest income support programs that serve children. When compared to other programs, child support served more children than Women, Infants, and Children; Social Security; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; Child Care Development Fund; and Supplemental Security Income programs combined.

Children in the Child Support Caseload in Comparison to Other Programs
(in millions)

Image removed.

Sources: Monthly Child Enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP (2017); Characteristics of SNAP Households (2015); Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement Preliminary Report (2016); WIC Program Monthly Data - State Level Participation (2017; preliminary); Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin (2016); TANF: Total Number of Child Recipients (2016); CCDF FY 2015 Preliminary Data Table 1 (2016); SSI Annual Statistical Report (2015).

Child Support is One of the Top Cost-Effective Government Programs in FY 2016

Nationally, the child support program remains one of the most cost-effective government programs that serve families. In FY 2016, the program collected $5.33 for every $1.00 spent, compared to $5.26 in FY 2015.

We hope to share more about the child support program in future blogs, and we welcome suggestions for blog topics. Please send comments to

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