Gov. Kristi Noem: Empowering Families and Lifting Kids out of Poverty

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South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is leading a statewide effort to protect children and lift working families out of dependency by requiring parents to meet child support obligations in order to stay eligible for food stamps.

Unpaid child support is a big problem nationwide. Absent parents currently owe billions of dollars in child support, which leaves working families stuck without the resources needed to support their children. With no other options in place, working families often turn to welfare programs to make ends meet. In fact, when absent parents neglect child support obligations, the child’s household is 60 percent more likely to be on food stamps.

Gov. Noem believes that all parents have a responsibility to support their children, whether they are living with the kids or not. South Dakota’s child support cooperation requirements will help hold parents accountable to their most basic parental responsibility—supporting the well-being of their children.

Similar child support requirements in other states have proven to increase household income, reduce dependency, and save taxpayer money. Paid child support results in a 54 percent increase in household income on average for single-parent families and helps over one million children escape poverty each year.

“It’s an opportunity for [us] to have a better dialogue with that family on goals supporting their children, making sure they’re there with them—not just physically or in spirit—but also financially to help that family be much more successful,” Gov. Noem explains in the video.

Too few families are receiving the support they deserve. With this commonsense reform, Gov. Noem is making sure welfare programs have the correct incentives in place to protect children and strengthen working families.

Child support cooperation connects adults with pathways to self-sufficiency and helps provide children with the financial support they are owed—and desperately need.

Protecting children while promoting work—now that’s a win-win for South Dakota families.