The Role of Child Support in Texas Welfare Dynamics

Researcher(s):Deanna T. Schexnayder, Jerome A. Olson, Daniel G. Schroeder and Jody McCoy
Date Published:
September 1998
Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources, The University of Texas at Austin

Abstract: The Family Support Act of 1988 (FSA) mandated a number of policy changes to increase the employability of caretakers receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and to improve the collection of child support from noncustodial parents. Some states, including Texas, enacted state legislation to strengthen their child support enforcement procedures prior to these federal mandates. This research study measures the influence that increased child support enforcement strategies have had on welfare dynamics in Texas, which has one of the lowest AFDC grant levels in the U.S but relatively high rates of paternity establishment and child support collection.

This project investigated four primary research questions: Which factors have the greatest influence on the award and collection of child support in Texas? To what extent does child support influence AFDC exits in Texas? To what extent does child support reduce AFDC recidivism in Texas? What is the combined influence of child support and earnings of the custodial parent in removing families from poverty?


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