Centering Child Well-Being in Child Support Policy

The central goal of child support policy must be child well-being. Child support policies designed to maximize child well-being can increase financial and other resources available to children, remove barriers to consistent child support payment, increase employment retention among noncustodial fathers with support orders, support noncustodial parental engagement, and facilitate healthy co-parenting. However, when child support policies are not designed to prioritize child well-being, they can interact with family life in counterproductive ways. They can push noncustodial fathers in low-wage employment out of jobs and into the underground economy, weigh them down with insurmountable debt, and make it harder for them to maintain enduring relationships with their children. Elevated inflation and economic uncertainty make strong and equitable child support policy imperative for the well-being of fathers, families, and communities.