The White House Domestic Policy Council has issued a new report that outlines several plans aimed at helping families across the country. Inside this report are two announcements regarding changes to the way the federal government will treat child support. The report explains that the Obama administration will begin issuing waivers designed to help noncustodial parents who have trouble making child support secure occupational training and employment, allowing them to better provide financially for their children.
Maryland is one of 29 states that currently operate work programs for noncustodial parents on the state and local levels, but now a similar federal program will be available for any states that choose to participate. The program will distribute federal money to the child support enforcement offices of each state, which will then allocate these funds as they see fit with the goal of helping noncustodial parents to more easily make scheduled child support payments.
The president with the Center for Urban Families explained that the current child support system often spends significant sums of money to imprison parents who cannot pay child support, which taxes government funds and causes parents' child support debts to further increase. The president added that it is "anecdotally known" that programs helping parents find work allow enforcement officers to collect child support payments from individuals who have had difficulty finding the money to meet their obligations in the past.
Other experts like the president of the National Fatherhood Initiative have praised the move, explaining that dealing with each case individually tends to work better than enforcement-based approaches.
While the program is likely to help parents in Maryland meet their child support obligations, some face unaffordable orders despite being gainfully employed. In such circumstances, these parents may be able to seek a child support modification.
Source: The Root, "Does Child Support Need an Update?" June 15, 2012