What We Learned from Recent Federal Evaluations of Programs Serving Disadvantaged Noncustodial Parents

Project Overview

This brief summarizes the impact findings from three recent federal evaluations of programs serving disadvantaged noncustodial parents: the Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration (ETJD), the Parents and Children Together Demonstration (PACT), and the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED). It finds positive results on employment and earnings and parenting outcomes, but no impact on the amount of child support paid. It discusses possible explanations for this null effect and suggests that future research will want to further examine this issue. 

The three demonstrations took place between 2011 and 2017, starting with ETJD, which included four noncustodial parent programs that operated in Atlanta, GA; Milwaukee, WI; San Francisco, CA; and Syracuse, NY. PACT started shortly thereafter with two programs in Minneapolis, MN, one in St. Louis, MO, and one in Kansas City, KS. CSPED was the final demonstration. It operated in the following eight states: California, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. 

All three demonstrations were evaluated using random assignment. ETJD was primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. PACT and CSPED were funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Office of Family Assistance and Office of Child Support Enforcement, respectively. The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation within DHHS contributed funding to the ETJD evaluation and oversaw the PACT evaluation. The evaluations were led by MDRC (ETJD), Mathematica (PACT), and the Institute for Research on Poverty (CSPED). 


The point of contact is Elaine Sorenson.

Related Resources

This brief summarizes three recently completed federal evaluations that address the following research question: How does offering employment and other supportive services to disadvantaged noncustodial parents affect their employment and earnings, parenting, and child support payments?