Work-Oriented Programs for Noncustodial Parents
Program Innovation Maps
As of February 2014, at least 30 states and the District of Columbia have work-oriented programs with active child support agency involvement that serve noncustodial parents. Most of these programs are not statewide, but three are (Georgia, Maryland, and North Dakota).
- State Has Work-Oriented Program
The Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, also known as the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF), monitors 19 community-based fatherhood programs to assist fathers in securing employment through educational programs and skills training.
Noncustodial Parent Outreach Work Referral Program (NPOWR!) is a voluntary program operated by the Arkansas child support program that serves as an alternative to punitive support enforcement actions to help noncustodial parents establish employment through a structured and monitored course of skills assessment, educational or training referrals, and job placement. The program is also available to the courts as an alternative to civil or criminal sanctions.
Stanislaus County: The Stanislaus County Child Support program has partnered with the County’s WIA provider (Alliance Worknet) and a nonprofit called the Center for Human Services to provide employment services, fatherhood/parenting services, enhanced child support services, and intensive case management. It is part of the OCSE funded demonstration called the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration.
Los Angeles County: The Los Angeles Child Support Program (CSSD) has partnered with the County’s WIA program to ensure that WIA participants with a child support case have individualized child support services. There are four WorkSource Centers in Los Angeles and CSSD provides on-site services at each.
The Magnolia Project is a collaboration between the County Child Support Office, the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the County’s WIA program, and the County’s Community and Senior Services. The goal of this collaboration is for the Judicial Officer to order unemployed noncustodial parents to the WIA program to receive employment, individualized child support services, and community services.
CO-Parent Employment Program – The Arapahoe, Boulder, El Paso, Jefferson, and Prowers County child support programs are part of the OCSE funded employment demonstration for noncustodial parents called the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration. They have partnered with their local Workforce Centers and community based programs to provide employment services, fatherhood/parenting services and individualized child support services.
Parent Opportunity Program – The El Paso County child support program has partnered with Goodwill Industries and other community agencies to provide noncustodial parents a wide range of services to help them become self-sufficient and give them opportunities to become more involved in their children's lives..
Parents-to-Work Program – The Arapahoe child support program has partnered with the local Workforce Center and community-based programs to provide employment services, fatherhood/parenting services and individualized child support services since 2006 using county funding.
In May of 2015, the Delaware Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) formed the Delaware Fatherhood Initiative. One component of the initiative was the formation of the Delaware Fatherhood Program (DFP). The DFP is the program that works with non-custodial parents in an effort to provide training and educational programs, GED assistance, and help with job search efforts. Delaware DCSS has partnerships with other state agencies such as the Division of State Services Centers, Division of Social Services, and Department of Labor in job search efforts as well as community partners and non-profit organizations with a focus on helping the non-custodial parent find long term sustainable employment is the primary goal.
The child support program in the Jacksonville area works with several employment agencies to find jobs for unemployed noncustodial parents.
The Georgia Division of Child Support Services operates a Community Outreach Council that works with employers throughout the state to place noncustodial parents into employment. Additionally, The Georgia Office of Child Support Enforcement established the Georgia Fatherhood Program to increase child support payments by improving the employment prospects of noncustodial parents. The program is statewide and it provides life skills training and job placement assistance to all participants. Other services, such as short- and long-term career training programs, are provided, as needed.
The Georgia Child Support Problem Solving Court helps noncustodial parents overcome barriers to meeting their child support obligations. The program uses intense monitoring, judicial oversight, and partnerships with community agencies.
The Illinois child support program in the Chicago area works with a large number of community-based programs and workforce centers to offer employment services to unemployed noncustodial parents.
Workforce, Inc. is one of seven grantees in DOL’s Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration. It is collaborating with Indianapolis WorkOne, the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, and the Indiana Child Support Bureau. Workforce, Inc. assists ex-offenders by providing transitional jobs and other services so that they can meet their own needs as well as that of their children.
The Iowa Department of Human Services Child Support Program and the Evelyn K. Davis Center (EKD) run a program called Reliable Employment and Child Support Help, or REACH. The project aims to improve the financial well-being of children by increasing the engagement of noncustodial parents in Polk County through a variety of coordinated service offerings. Staff members provide noncustodial parents with job development, child support assistance, and parenting and financial education training at the center’s one-stop shop in Des Moines.
The Work for Success program is an intensive four-week personal and professional development training program for fathers. The program includes relational skills training, financial management, family violence prevention, fatherhood education, employment skills training, employment assistance, and mentoring. Participants celebrate the completion of training with family and friends in a commencement ceremony. Work continues with participants up to one year with supported employment services. The child support program manages the five grantees providing the Work for Success program across the state. Participants may receive arrears forgiveness towards child support owed to the State of Kansas. In addition, arrears adjustments may be granted for GED completion and 529 college saving accounts.
This grant is managed by Connections to Success by providing on-site assessment, training modules, on-going technical assistance and on-going assessment of the grantees. This program is funded by a TANF funded grant from the Kansas Department of Children and Families.
Turning It Around is a voluntary counseling program sanctioned by the Court as an alternative to incarceration to assist individuals sentenced to jail for contempt/non-support who are willing to make consistent child support payments and attend 12 classes designed to encourage and increase cooperative parenting. The program is completed while the noncustodial parent is in the Home Incarceration Program (HIP). HIP is an alternative to jail incarceration allowing individuals to serve their sentence at home while being electronically monitored.
CSEA Noncustodial Parent Employment Program Mini-grants: In SFY 2015, CSEA created the child support Noncustodial Employment Mini-grants program. This funding opportunity is available annually to any eligible jurisdiction to operate programs that provide employment services to customers with child support cases. Those services must include, but are not limited to employment training, employment placement and employment retention. Jurisdictions are also required to utilize a regional approach to leverage available employment resources to serve more noncustodial parents.
Supporting, Training, and Employing Parents (STEP) Up!: CSEA is implementing the STEP Up! program as an alternative to contempt of court proceedings in Baltimore City. The program is designed to serve low-income unemployed or underemployed noncustodial parents in Baltimore City over a period of three years by assisting them in obtaining job training and employment and becoming economically self-sufficient, thereby enabling them to be compliant with their child support obligation.
The Massachusetts Workforce Development Program is a collaboration among DOR’s Child Support Division, the Probate and Family Court, and the state’s workforce development agency. The goal of the program is to address employment-related barriers that noncustodial parents face in achieving economic stability and supporting their children. The program was piloted with 86 participants in FY16 in Fall River (Bristol County), Massachusetts, which had a 38% employment placement rate. For FY17, the program is being expanded throughout Bristol and Suffolk (Boston) Counties.
The key features of the program were adopted from the best practices and lessons learned from grant evaluations and were designed to leverage existing resources effectively. Child support staff identify noncustodial parents who are unemployed, underemployed, and otherwise meet the established criteria for participating in the program; the Court issues an order for the parent to participate in the program; Court Probation officers connect parents to the Massachusetts Department of Career Services (DCS) by scheduling the first appointment. DCS provides job search assistance which includes coaching on job search skills, workshops on a variety of job search strategies, access to computers, reference materials, and resume building software.
Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC), with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is embarking on an important research project, the Families Forward Demonstration (FFD), and Michigan is participating. FFD will rigorously test new strategies to improve the earnings capacity, skill attainment and financial literacy of low-income parents who owe child support but are unable to fully meet their obligations due to low earnings. In this effort, MDRC has partnered with child support agencies in Michigan and five other states to develop and implement an employment-focused program model and to evaluate the effectiveness of the model using a random assignment research design. The objective of FFD is to identify effective employment-focused approaches that can be integrated into child support programs across the country to improve earnings outcomes for noncustodial parents, thereby increasing their capacity to make reliable child support payments and improving the economic well-being of their children.
Statewide: The Family Support Division (FSD) established the Responsible Parenthood Initiative (RPI) to promote improved relationships between noncustodial parents (NCPs) and their children and increase financial support for families. FSD enters into partnerships with community agencies that promote responsible parenthood practices. These agencies administer programs that focus on providing services that help NCPs achieve self–sufficiency and encourage increased emotional, parental and financial involvement with their children. RPI aims to increase child support payments by negotiating payment agreements and improving the employment prospects of noncustodial parents. The program serves individuals throughout the state.
Jackson: The Child Support Court in Kansas City is modeled after the drug court there. The Child Support Court works with noncustodial parents who were charged with criminal non-support who are later identified as struggling with alcohol, drugs, and/or employment and mental health issues. The Court’s case manager uses community agencies and programs to assist noncustodial parents with re-establishing relationships with their children, teaching responsibility, and addressing financial barriers. This program was expanded statewide by the legislature, although present funding for this expansion is not available
Operation Fatherhood serves the fathers of Mercer County through parenting classes, job readiness workshops, and other programs. It also develops contacts with area businesses that will accept applications from the hardest to reach populations (never employed, undereducated, and those with criminal backgrounds). The child support program works closely with Operation Fatherhood to ensure that the clients of Operation Fatherhood have the child support services that they need.
New York City: The New York City Office of Child Support Enforcement operates the Support Through Employment Program (STEP), which is a collaboration between itself, the New York City Family Independence Administration, the Family Court, and numerous community-based workforce development organizations. It is a court-based program that allows support magistrates to refer noncustodial parents in need of employment assistance to service providers throughout the city.
The Parent Support Program is a partnership between the NYC child support program, the Family Court and the Center for Court Innovation, a NYC-based nonprofit organization. This initiative targets low income noncustodial parents who have been summoned to the Brooklyn Family Court for violation of their child support orders. These noncustodial parents are connected to employment, mediation, and other services designed to address their specific needs.
Allegheny County: Based on requests from child support attorneys, Support Magistrates refer unemployed noncustodial parents to the Allegany County Employment and Training Office for assistance. The Employment and Training Office has been cooperative in placing noncustodial parents, where appropriate, into the same types of programs used for public assistance recipients.
Chenango County: Support Magistrates order unemployed noncustodial parents to report to the County Office of Employment and Training program by a certain date and develop and comply with their Employment and Training plan.
Cortland County: Cortland County has established a court ordered referral to “Career Works” which works with noncustodial parents to help them with the necessary tools to obtain employment.
Franklin County: The child support program obtains court orders to refer unemployed noncustodial parents to the Employment and Training Unit. Referrals are assessed and scheduled for appropriate employment activities such as job readiness training, educational training and job search. The child support unit communicates directly with one employment worker at the Employment and Training Unit
Onondaga County: Working with the Onondaga County Family Court, the Center for Court Innovations operates the Parent Support Program that helps noncustodial parents find employment and meet their child support obligations by providing intensive, hands-on employment assistance.
Ontario County: Support Magistrates refer unemployed noncustodial parents to the Workforce Development Office.
St. Lawrence County: Support Magistrates and Family Court Judges order unemployed noncustodial parents to report to the One Stop Career Center and the Dept. of Labor as part of a suspended sentence. They must provide proof to child support that they have reported to both offices within 48 hours of the hearing and that they are continuing to report each week.
Seneca County: Support Magistrates refer unemployed noncustodial parents to the local workforce office.
New Hanover County: The Fatherhood Support Program is operated by the New Hanover County Department of Social Services. It collaborates with community-based partners to provide intensive case management, employment oriented services, parenting classes, and family mediation services.
Wilkes County: The Wilkes County child support program collaborates with the Wilkes Community College and Goodwill Industries to help unemployed noncustodial parents receive employment-oriented services
The Parental Responsibility Initiative for the Development of Employment (PRIDE) project provides case management, job skills training, and job placement to help noncustodial parents obtain or improve employment. Referrals come from the court and the child support program. It began in 2005 and is now statewide. It is a cooperative effort involving Job Service North Dakota (the state’s WIA agency), the courts, and the Department of Human Services’ regional human service centers, TANF and Child Support Enforcement programs.
Franklin County: The Franklin County CSEA collaborates with the Columbus Urban League in its fatherhood program called Father 2 Father. The Columbus Urban League provides intensive case management, employment oriented services; the child support program provides individualized child support services, including order modification.
Stark County: The Stark County child support program is operating the Right Path for Fathers project as part of the OCSE demonstration called the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Project. The Right Path for Fathers is a partnership between Stark County Child Support, Goodwill Industries, Stark County Community Action Agency, and the Early Childhood Resource Center to provide employment services, fatherhood/parenting services, enhanced child support services, and intensive case management to unemployed noncustodial parents who are unable to meet their child support obligations.
The Court Liaison Program (CLP) has discontinued in Oklahoma. Those employees serving as court liaisons will be needed as full time case workers to manager the caseload with the reduction in employees. OCSS will continue to provide some community referrals for unemployed and underemployed noncustodial parents as part of the problem solving court program without staff dedicated to that function.
The Oregon Child Support Program does not offer any employment programs for Noncustodial Parents at this time. The Program does make referrals to employment programs offered in local communities.
Allegheny, Delaware, Montgomery, & Philadelphia Counties: New Employment Opportunities for Noncustodial Parents (NEON) serves unemployed noncustodial parents who are non-compliant with current support. Participants may be court-ordered, referred, or volunteer to participate. The program is a result of collaboration between many partners including the PA Bureau of CSE, PA County Domestic Relations Sections/Family Courts, and Educational Data Systems, INC (a private company).
Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Lancaster, Lebanon, York Counties: These counties have employment-oriented programs for unemployed noncustodial parents who are unable to meet their child support obligations. Each county has at least one staff person dedicated to monitoring and assisting noncustodial parents find work.
Crawford County: Work Search – Work Search program coordinator provides job readiness and job search assistance to unemployed noncustodial parents who are court ordered to seek work.
Project Restore is a program designed to help non-custodial parents who were paying their child support consistently, but can no longer do so due to job loss. Rhode Island’s child support program provides intake referral services to each NCP individually, so their individual needs will be met. Services may include: assistance with filing a Motion for Relief, referral for job training, referral for SNAP benefits, housing, counseling, parenting class etc. The primary goal of Project Restore is to help the NCP enter suitable employment. This often is accomplished through assistance with resume writing, interviewing skills, and job leads.
The SC Center for Fathers and Families collaborates with the SC Child Support Services program to serve low-income noncustodial parents who are at-risk of incarceration for non-payment of child support. Most noncustodial parents are ordered to participate in a 24 week fatherhood program that helps them improve job readiness, find employment, acquire life skills, and navigate the child support system.
Charleston, Greenville, & Horry Counties: The SC child support program is one of eight grantees in OCSE’s National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration. It is partnering with the SC Center for Fathers and Families to provide unemployed noncustodial parents with case management, employment services and parenting classes.
Davidson, Hamilton, & Shelby Counties: The Tennessee Department of Human Services, Child Support Services is one of eight grantees in OCSE’s National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration. It is partnering with the Department of Labor, Goodwill Industries, and other community organizations to provide unemployed noncustodial parents who are behind in their child support obligations with case management, employment-oriented services, parenting classes, and enhanced child support services.
NCP Choices – NCP Choices provides enhanced child support case compliance monitoring and employment services for noncustodial parents linked to a TANF/Medicaid case who are unemployed or underemployed and are not compliant with their child support obligations. Participation in the program is court ordered. The program is jointly funded by the Texas Workforce Commission and the TX Office of the Attorney General. NCPs ordered into NCP Choices have, on average, made no payments in the eight months prior to program entry and pay an average of $169 per month in the first year after program entry. Evaluation results show this as an overall 51 percent increase in child support payments for NCPs participating in this program as compared to a control group of similar NCPs in the OAG caseload.
NCP Choices: PEER – In Bell and Webb counties, the Texas child support program is implementing NCP Choices PEER as part of the OCSE-funded demonstration called the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration. This project is a partnership with the Texas Workforce Commission. It offers intensive case management, employment services, responsible fatherhood classes, and enhanced child support services
VT Office of Child Support is operating a program called Work 4 Kids statewide where judge’s order unemployed or underemployed noncustodial parents to obtain assessment and employment services at Creative Workforce Solutions, an initiative of the Vermont Agency of Human Services.
Intensive Case Monitoring Program is an alternative sentencing option for individuals who have faulted in making child support payments and who are facing possible imprisonment. It provides intensive case management, job search assistance, and referrals. The program is a collaboration of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, Department of Child Support Enforcement, Office of the Attorney General, local Departments of Social Services, Workforce Development and Employment Services Agencies and other community service organizations.
Statewide: The Washington State Division of Child Support Alternative Solutions Program is a new employment focused initiative to help struggling noncustodial parents resolve barriers and find employment before they reach the point of court contempt enforcement. Noncustodial parents in need of services will be referred to specialists called “navigators”. Navigators will provide extra assistance and coaching to noncustodial parents who need to engage with community based organizations for barrier removal and employment-related activities.
King County: The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (Seattle area) employs two navigators to assist noncustodial parents involved in the contempt of court calendar. The Seattle area has many community resources available to help noncustodial parents and these navigators work to ensure that noncustodial parents are connecting with the right services to help them overcome their barriers to paying child support, ensure orders are modified promptly when appropriate, and help them follow through with paperwork needed for potential debt write-off.
The WV Bureau for Child Support Enforcement works with Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action, Inc., a faith-based organization, which provides employment-oriented services, parenting training, and other supportive services to noncustodial parents who are referred to them by the family court.
The Children First Program provides employment and training services for noncustodial parents who are not paying child support due to being unemployed or under-employed.
Green Bay & Kenosha Counties: Supporting Parents Supporting Kids is a demonstration site within OCSE’s National Child Support Noncustodial Employment Demonstration. This site, like all sites in the demonstration, is providing employment-oriented services, parenting classes, enhanced child support services, and case management to unemployed noncustodial parents who are unable to meet their child support obligations.