Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED)

Prepared for
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families
father with young son

Child support is a critical financial resource for children living apart from one of their parents. An effective child support system must enforce and enable noncustodial parents’ contributions, and include policies to encourage their employment. The National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) is testing the effectiveness of programs that aim to increase employment among noncustodial parents, with the ultimate goal of increasing the likelihood that they meet their child support obligations.

Mathematica is conducting a five-year evaluation of CSPED projects with our partner organization, the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin.

We are evaluating programs that have received grants from the Office of Child Support Enforcement within the Administration for Children and Families to provide employment, parenting, and child support-related services to noncustodial parents--mainly fathers, including some who are ex-offenders. Most of the grantee programs target parents who have weak employment histories and substantial child support arrearages.

The study uses a random assignment design to measure program impacts and includes an implementation and benefit-cost analysis. Programs are being tested in eight states: California, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. Impact findings are based on surveys with the noncustodial parents, conducted 12 months after random assignment, as well as administrative records on child support payments, employment, and other outcomes.