The snowball effect : externalities from state-mandated child support enforcement from non-custodial parents
Cascio, Marsha L.
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Single parenting leads to several outcomes directly affected by the payment, or nonpayment, of child support. For many single mothers, receipt of child support payments is what pulls their households above or pushes them below the poverty level. Several correlations have long been made: Poor youngsters and decreased abilities in school (e.g., test scores), decreased competencies in school with less extracurricular activities, both test scores and extracurricular activities with positive productive members of society. That said, child support payments (or lack thereof) have positive and negative externalities for youngsters. Literature review, research and data collection regarding child support system legislation, poverty of single parent households, test scores, and extracurricular activities were correlated with child support enforcement and positive childhood outcomes for children previously below the poverty level. Because the federal and state governments have stepped, enforcement of child support orders has increased the level of return to single mothers which can explain, to some degree, the decrease in poverty rates for mother-only households. Decrease in poverty rates may provide explanation for the increased involvement in extracurricular activities and the increase in test scores among young children. Child support enforcement, therefore, correlates with children becoming more positive and productive members of society (as a result of their increased test scores and extracurricular activity involvement).