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Work Oriented Child Support Programs

Work-Oriented Child Support Programs

Updated February 2014

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Many child support programs provide services to parents to help them find and keep jobs so they can remain in compliance with child support orders. Unemployed noncustodial parents currently owe the most child support. Many unemployed noncustodial parents face multiple barriers, including intermittent employment, limited education, and criminal records. Many states have addressed this issue by creating programs that may include case management, fatherhood/parenting education, and work-oriented services such as job readiness training, job search assistance, access to job developers, and job training.

As of February 2014, at least 24 states and the District of Columbia were operating approximately 38 work-oriented programs for non-custodial parents with active child support agency involvement. Most of these programs are not statewide, but some are. 

For more information about work-oriented child support programs, visit our Child Support Digest Index for newsworthy updates on programs across the country.


Work-Oriented Programs for Non-Custodial Parents with Active Child Support Agency Involvement

State Name of Program Description of Work-Oriented Programs
Alabama AL Department of Human Resources Fatherhood Initiative 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. The AL child support program has worked closely over the years with the Family Assistance Division (FAD) and CTF to develop and strengthen their programs for fathers and families. 
Alabama Dallas County Fatherhood Initiative

The Fatherhood Initiative offers job training and abuse prevention education, in addition to helping fathers get their GED. The program is under the umbrella of the Dallas County Children’s Policy Council.

Arkansas Noncustodial Parent Outreach Work Referral Program (NPOWR!) NPOWR! Is a voluntary program which serves as an alternative to punitive support enforcement actions to help non-custodial 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.
California TransitionsSF TransitionsSF is a program run by the San Francisco Mayor's Office of Workforce Development, along with the California Department of Child Support Services and Goodwill Industries. The program offers free educational services (GED etc.), employment skills training, help finding paid employment, and help modifying support orders.
California Pathways to Self-Sufficiency Project California Department of Social Services, Stanislaus County. On September 30, 2012, the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) awarded grants to state child support agencies, directing them to develop and implement programs that assist noncustodial parents in the child support system. OCSE identified four objectives for these programs including (1) case management; (2) employment-oriented services that include job placement and retention services; (3) fatherhood/parenting activities using peer support; and (4) Child support order modification.
Colorado Colorado Parent Employment Project (CO-PEP) The program is funded through a grant from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement and is active in five counties (Arapahoe, Boulder, El Paso, Jefferson, and Prowers), serving 1,500 parents. The type of assistance offered includes parenting classes, work assistance and job skills training, and modification of child support orders.
District of Columbia DC Fathering Court The DC Fathering Court provides non-custodial parents who are  re-entering mainstream society after having been in prison with opportunities to secure employment and strengthen family ties through job and life skills training. Services include job training, counseling, employment services, and judicial access.
District of Columbia NCP Employment Program The NCP Employment Program assists noncustodial parents through an intensive job training and placement program.
Georgia Georgia Fatherhood Program The Georgia Office of Child Support Enforcement established the Georgia Fatherhood Program (GFP) to increase child support payments by improving the employment prospects of non-custodial parents. The program 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 program was originally offered in Georgia’s 36 technical colleges and through a small number of other service providers.
Idaho DUI/Drug Court and Child Support Partnership The Bannock County Drug Court partners with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to improve accountability of drug court participants. The drug court has a staff of professionals that collaborate regarding every aspect of services needed to produce success for participants.  The group includes Probation and Parole, Public Defenders, Prosecuting Attorneys, Family Court Coordinators, Substance Abuse Counselors, and Mental Health Counselors.  Team members meet each week prior to the weekly drug court when participants are required to attend.  A child support staff member is invited to attend once a month to review and discuss each case that is connected to the child support program.
Indiana Enhanced Transitional Jobs Program The IN child support program works with a private, non-profit program, called Recycleforce, which serves ex-offenders transitioning from prison to Marion County (Indianapolis) Indiana. 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. It is one of seven sites in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration.   
Indiana Allen County IV-D Court Collaboration with WorkOne Indiana The Allen County IV-D court and county prosecutors are collaborating with WorkOne of Northeast Indiana to provide re-employment services to parents who are delinquent on their child support payments. When a parent cites unemployment as the reason for delinquency, the court may refer them to WorkOne, which will help them get jobs, training, or their GED.
Iowa Connecting Noncustodial Parents to Employment On September 30, 2012, the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) awarded grants to state child support agencies, directing them to develop and implement programs that assist noncustodial parents in the child support system. OCSE identified four objectives for these programs including (1) case management; (2) employment-oriented services that include job placement and retention services; (3) fatherhood/parenting activities using peer support; and (4) Child support order modification.
Kentucky KY -Turning it Around TIA 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.  Between June 1, 2009 and June 5, 2011, 421 TIA participants have paid $1,005,669.
Maryland Family Employment and Support Program(FESP) FESP is imbedded into the normal operating procedures of the Baltimore county CSE agency and at this time no special funding is associated with the program. The key feature of the program is to develop strong working relationships/partnerships with other government and community agencies. The core collaborative entity for FESP involves alignment between child support, court, local workforce development agencies, community employment agencies and a local community college along with direct referral capacity to local employers. 
Michigan Problem-Solving Child Support Court Project In 2009 the Michigan  Office of Child Support Enforcement received a grant from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement to fund a pilot project. The project implemented a holistic services approach to child support enforcement and collection. The services included psychological services, anger management, mental health services, transportation, housing, job training and job placement. The project served “at risk” families, especially those who are struggling during economic crisis (i.e., numerous factors including current or recent unemployment) to meet the challenges in providing for the emotional and financial needs of their children.
Michigan BAFF/REACH This grant-funded project increased the financial well-being of children through the collaboration of local agencies that provided services to educate and assist non-custodial parents in building assets and in improving their financial literacy skills. The local county child support agency [Kent County Friend of the Court (KCFOC)] partnered with the local Assets for Independence (AFI) agency and a local non-profit agency (Hope Network) specializing in workforce development. Over the course of the grant, the partners provided financial assessment, financial management and planning, employment counseling, and a referral to AFI’s IDA program for approximately 540 primarily non-custodial parents.
Minnesota Mind the Gap Mind the Gap was a pilot project that offered services from 2010-2012. Minnesota’s “Mind the Gap” project addressed the barriers offenders must overcome to become employed and consistent payers of child support, and the lack of collaborative practices to bridge that gap. To improve service delivery and supports for returning offenders, Minnesota implemented a strategic statewide plan, the Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Plan (MCORP), a collaborative effort of 20 key state and local agencies under the direction of the commissioner of Corrections, through a grant from 2003-2004. A primary goal of MCORP was to align Minnesota’s many re-entry programs into an integrated and coordinated whole. The inclusion of the Minnesota Child Support Enforcement Division in MCORP assisted in building lasting collaborative relationships between state and local corrections, community partners and successful re-entry of offenders.
Minnesota The Father Project Affiliation with Goodwill/Easter Seals allows for multi-partnerships with community agencies and providers in a diverse range of services – child support referral, employment and training services, parenting classes, legal services, life skills empowerment, GED classes and other support services as needed. 
Nevada Nevada Employment and Training Program Provides TANF recipients the ability to acquire employment related education, vocational skills, work experience and job seeking/retention skills to allow them to achieve economic independence through employment.
North Dakota Parental Responsibility Initiative for the Development of Employment The project provides case management, job skills training, and job placement to help noncustodial parents obtain or improve employment. The initial design created a formal process in which non-custodial parents who appear before the court for a contempt hearing and are unemployed or underemployed may be referred to job services and required to comply with an employment plan. This project was originally started in one location and has been expanded statewide.
New Jersey NJ - Operation Fatherhood Operation Fatherhood serves the fathers of Mercer County through Parenting Skills classes and Job Readiness workshops. Additionally, Operation Fatherhood develops contacts with area businesses that will accept applications from the hardest to reach populations (never employed, undereducated, and those with criminal backgrounds). Other programs held in conjunction with Operation Fatherhood through UIH Family Partners/Fatherhood Programs include group sessions that include topics such as Health and Hygiene, Financial Literacy/Credit Repair, Interview Skills including Mock Interviews, Dress for Success and Computer Literacy. Operation Fatherhood works closely w/the Office of Child Support Services to help their clients meet their child support obligations.
New York The Parent Success Initiative The Parent Success Initiative (PSI) was a partnership involving state and local governments and several non-profit service agencies. These partners have created a court-based screening and referral system to link non-custodial parents involved in child support proceedings with parenting and employment services.   PSI was selected as one of seven sites to be part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration. The pilot project was slated to end in 2009.
Ohio OH Fatherhood Commission The OH Fatherhood Commission organizes statewide programs to support fathers in building parenting skills, securing employment, strengthening family bonds, and through increasing the awareness of the role fathers play in the lives of their children.
Ohio REAL Dads Program Non-custodial parents are referred from child support into the REAL Dads program, the referral can be either court-ordered or voluntary. The REAL Dads program is a partnership with the local child support and family court and the local one-stop employment program (“Super Jobs Center”). CSE conducts a review and adjustment of the existing order which includes suspension of all child support enforcement actions while the NCP is an active participant in the fatherhood program and debt leveraging on a case-by-case basis. The grant funding for the program ended in 2011.
Ohio Right Path for Fathers Partnership

On September 30, 2012, the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) awarded grants to state child support agencies, directing them to develop and implement programs that assist noncustodial parents in the child support system. OCSE identified four objectives for these programs including (1) case management; (2) employment-oriented services that include job placement and retention services; (3) fatherhood/parenting activities using peer support; and (4) Child support order modification.

Oklahoma Court Liaison Program Oklahoma Child Support Services operates the Court Liaison Program (CLP), which serves 36 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. A family court judge orders noncompliant non-custodial parents into the program. CLP coordinators offer referrals, one-on-one coaching, and other support needed to help noncustodial parents become gainfully employed. They also monitor the progress of non-custodial parents in the program and report that progress to the court.
Oklahoma OCSS Prisoner Reentry Initiative Project (PRI) As part of a 36 month grant, Oklahoma Child Support Services (OCSS) collaborated with two other Federal Prisoner Re-entry Initiative grantees (Department of Corrections (DOC) and Community Service Council of Greater Tulsa) in Tulsa to establish and administer a formal program of support for incarcerated non-custodial parents reentering the community so they may find employment, take care of their child support obligations and lead productive lives. The project was housed in the OCSS West Tulsa office and the grant staff work with caseloads from the OCSS Tulsa West and Tulsa East offices.
South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families Alternatives to Incarceration An alternative to incarceration for low-income noncustodial parents who are at-risk of incarceration for non-payment of child support, non-custodial parents are court ordered to participate in a 24 week fatherhood program that helps parents improve job readiness, find employment, acquire life skills and parenting education, navigate the child support system and other supportive services to provide financially and emotionally for their children. Each program utilizes a standardized curriculum, best practices guidelines and eligibility requirements. Participants are expected to complete the 24 week program, obtain/maintain employment and pay child support within 45 days. 
South Carolina Family Economic Stability Services On September 30, 2012, the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) awarded grants to state child support agencies, directing them to develop and implement programs that assist noncustodial parents in the child support system. OCSE identified four objectives for these programs including (1) case management; (2) employment-oriented services that include job placement and retention services; (3) fatherhood/parenting activities using peer support; and (4) Child support order modification.
Tennessee Child Support Employment Program The TN Child Support Program has a family centered services grant in which it offers employment assistance for non-custodial parents in Nashville, Jackson area and Chattanooga. (Grant Number 90FD0139). It has an older program – TN Child Support Employment and Parenting Program - that began as an 1115 grant and has since been incorporated into the Department.
Tennessee Projects in Support of the Prisoner Reentry Initiative The three year project was a collaboration with the Department of Labor and Department of Justice recipients of PRI grants in Davidson County, and Nashville (which is in Davidson County), respectively. Through these projects, Davidson County has developed an extensive set of community collaborations to provide employment-focused services to soon-to-be-released and newly released prisoners in pre- and post-release settings. CSE hired a liaison to be co-located with the DOL and DOJ projects and to screen for child support issues among participants in those projects, as well as other ex-prisoners who seek reentry services from the Davidson County DOL project, which serves about 3,000 ex-prisoners per year. The goal was to add child support services to employment-centered projects offered to inmates and ex-offenders.
Tennessee Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration Project On September 30, 2012, the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) awarded grants to state child support agencies, directing them to develop and implement programs that assist noncustodial parents in the child support system. OCSE identified four objectives for these programs including (1) case management; (2) employment-oriented services that include job placement and retention services; (3) fatherhood/parenting activities using peer support; and (4) Child support order modification.
Texas Noncustodial Parent Choices NCP Choices provides enhanced child support case compliance monitoring and employment services for non-custodial 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.
Virginia Intensive Case Monitoring Program 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. This program has expanded to nine jurisdictions and has successfully served the population in securing employment and subsequently, child support payments. 
Wisconsin Wisconsin Works (W-2) Services Originally funded through ARRA, workforce and child support services are providing a transitional jobs program to non-custodial parents. The transitional jobs component provides a subsidy of about $7.25/hr for 6 months. The transitional jobs program is currently in operation and is administered by the Bureau of Working Families, the TANF program in the Division of Family and Economic Security.
Wisconsin Supporting Parents Supporting Kids

On September 30, 2012, the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) awarded grants to state child support agencies, directing them to develop and implement programs that assist noncustodial parents in the child support system. OCSE identified four objectives for these programs including (1) case management; (2) employment-oriented services that include job placement and retention services; (3) fatherhood/parenting activities using peer support; and (4) Child support order modification.

West Virginia Promoting Responsible Fatherhood: The KISRA Fatherhood Program 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. 

Source: Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement.

Additional Resources

*PLEASE NOTE: The National Conference of State Legislatures is an organization serving state legislators and their staff. We cannot offer legal advice or assistance with individual cases, but we do try to answer questions on general topics.

For more information regarding NCSL's child support work, please visit our Child Support Homepage.

About This NCSL Project

NCSL staff in D.C. and Denver can provide comprehensive, thorough, and timely information on critical child support policy issues. We provide services to legislators and staff working to improve state policies affecting children and their families. NCSL's online clearinghouse for state legislators includes resources on child support police, financing, laws, research and promicing practices. Technical assistance visits to states are available to any state legisalture that would like training or assistance related to this topic.  

The Denver-based child support project staff focuses on state policy, tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation, and technical assistance specifically geared to the legislative audience. Denver staff can be reached at (303) 364-7700 or cyf-info@ncsl.org.

NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child support issues before Congress and the Administration. In D.C., Joy Johnson Wilson (joy.wilson@ncsl.org) and Rachel Morgan (rachel.morgan@ncsl.org) can be reached at (202) 624-5400.

The child support project and D.C. human services staff receive guidance and support from NCSL's Standing Committee on Health & Human Services.

 

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