New Report Details Role of Child Support in Reducing Dependency without Adding Costs

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Naples, FL –  A new report released today by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) underscores the important and cost-effective role of child support in lifting millions of single-parent families out of government dependency.

Child support boosts incomes for single-parent families by an average of 54 percent and helps more than one million children escape poverty. Yet less than 25 percent of single-parent families on food stamps receive any amount of child support.

According to the report, authored by FGA Vice President of Research Jonathan Ingram and Senior Research Fellow Nick Stehle, it is critical that single parents on food stamps be required to cooperate with child support enforcement agencies as a condition of eligibility. This cost-effective reform, when implemented in Kansas, increased child support collections by nearly 40 percent and increased child support payments to poor families by an estimated $1.8 million. Estimates show an increase of $300 million per year in child support if the reform were to be adopted nationally.

According to the report, state experiences in Kansas and South Dakota have proven that this reform could be implemented without increasing administrative costs or burdens and would help children escape dependency. The reforms included in the House Farm Bill would ensure that child support cooperation is a requirement for single-parent families receiving food stamps and could be implemented within existing administrative budgets.

“By requiring single parents on food stamps to comply with child support mandates, more single-parent families can move from welfare to self-sufficiency. This commonsense reform would not add administrative burdens but would result in millions of dollars paid to children in need,” said Stehle. “Single-parent families already face unique challenges—being stuck in government dependency shouldn’t be one of them.”

The full paper can be viewed here.

The Foundation for Government Accountability is a non–profit, multi–state think tank that specializes in health care, welfare, and work reform. To learn more, visit TheFGA.org.

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