State Strategies for Improving Child Support Outcomes for Incarcerated Parents
- Child support agencies rely on state-level exchanges with criminal justice agencies to obtain information on incarcerated parents housed in state jails and prisons.
- State child support agencies do not have access to a single, comprehensive source of data on incarcerated parents across federal, state, and local incarceration facilities.
- Partnerships between child support agencies and justice agencies build a bridge between parents who are incarcerated and the child support agencies that oversee their support orders.
- Formerly incarcerated parents with child support orders often struggle to secure stable employment and in turn make child support payments following incarceration.
The Child Support and Criminal Justice Study is funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation to learn about states’ approaches to meeting the modernization rule. The 2016 child support modernization rule is designed to ensure that child support orders align with parents’ ability to pay. The rule requires that states notify parents who will be incarcerated for more than 180 days of their right to request a modification of their child support order. To improve outcomes for families and comply with the modernization rule, state child support agencies across the country have partnered with justice and social service agencies to share data and connect with incarcerated parents. This brief describes four key strategies states use to identify and connect with incarcerated parents with child support orders.