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View Research by Author - Elaine Sorensen

Publications


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Strengthening Families Through Stronger Fathers Initiative: Summary of Impact Findings (Research Report)
Elaine Sorensen, Kye Lippold

To help low-income noncustodial parents find work and pay child support, the New York Legislature enacted the Strengthening Families Through Stronger Fathers Initiative in 2006, offering a refundable tax credit and work-oriented programs to noncustodial parents. This report summarizes findings from our evaluation of the initiative and discusses the characteristics of noncustodial parents who participated. These findings suggest that allocating new funding to the employment-oriented component of the initiative and extending the tax credit would improve employment outcomes and child support compliance among noncustodial parents.

Posted to Web: December 03, 2013Publication Date: October 15, 2012

Characteristics of Families Served by the Child Support (IV-D) Program: 2010 Census Survey Results (Research Report)
Kye Lippold, Elaine Sorensen

This report uses the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau to describe custodial families served by the IV-D program, a federally mandated program that promotes parental responsibility and family self-sufficiency by providing families with child support services. According to the data, over 60 percent of custodial families participate in the IV-D program, approximately half of the families in the IV-D program had incomes below 150 percent of the poverty threshold, and custodial parents who are poor, never married, under the age of 30, and have limited education are much more likely to receive IV-D services than other custodial parents.

Posted to Web: October 17, 2013Publication Date: October 17, 2013

The Moynihan Report Revisited (Research Report)
Gregory Acs, Kenneth Braswell, Elaine Sorensen, Margery Austin Turner

In 1965's The Negro Family: The Case for National Actions, Daniel Patrick Moynihan described a "tangle of pathologies" --from disintegrating families to poor educational outcomes, weak job prospects, concentrated neighborhood poverty, dysfunctional communities, and crime--that would create a self-perpetuating cycle of deprivation, hardship, and inequality for black families. Today, although social progress has created opportunities for many members of the black community, the United States still struggles with many of the problems Moynihan identified. If we don’t enhance economic opportunities and social equity for black families, we may spend the next 50 years lamenting our continued lack of progress.

Posted to Web: June 13, 2013Publication Date: June 13, 2013

Evaluation of the $150 Child Support Pass-Through and Disregard Policy in the District of Columbia (Research Report)
Kye Lippold, Austin Nichols, Elaine Sorensen

In April 2006, the District of Columbia implemented a child support pass-through and disregard policy for families in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) caseload, passing through the first $150 per month of child support paid to these families and disregarding this amount when determining their TANF benefits. This study provides a process evaluation of the policy implementation and uses a difference-in-difference framework to assess policy impacts. Our results suggest that noncustodial parents with a current support order for children on TANF paid 5.6 percent more child support as a result of the pass-through policy.

Posted to Web: March 29, 2013Publication Date: November 29, 2010

Tax Credits and Job-Oriented Programs Help Fathers Find Work and Pay Child Support (Research Brief)
Elaine Sorensen

New York's Strengthening Families Through Stronger Fathers Initiative is an innovative approach to helping low-income fathers find work and pay child support. Enacted in 2006, the initiative offered a state earned income tax credit and job-oriented programs to noncustodial parents. Our evaluation shows that the approach worked-the tax credit increased work and child support compliance among those with low child support orders and the job-oriented programs increased participants' earnings and child support payments. These positive results suggest that further investments in this approach are worthy of consideration.

Posted to Web: March 21, 2013Publication Date: March 21, 2013

The New York Noncustodial Parent EITC: Its Impact on Child Support Payments and Employment (Research Report)
Austin Nichols, Elaine Sorensen, Kye Lippold

In 2006, New York instituted a noncustodial parent earned income tax credit (NCP EITC) to encourage low-income noncustodial parents to work and pay child support. This study examines the credit’s impacts through 2009. We use a regression discontinuity approach exploiting a drop in NCP EITC eligibility when taxpayers’ youngest children turn 18, and find the NCP EITC increased the proportion of noncustodial parents paying their child support in full by approximately 1 percentage point. Effects were stronger among parents with low child support orders. Our estimates may represent upper-bound impacts, but reflect only the first four years of implementation.

Posted to Web: July 11, 2012Publication Date: June 27, 2012

Reaffirming the Work Requirement for Noncustodial Parents as Part of TANF Reauthorization (Commentary)
Elaine Sorensen

Research shows that work programs for noncustodial parents can increase employment and child support payments. Yet very few state TANF programs provide these work activities even though the estimated cost of implementing a requirement is zero. Congress needs to reaffirm its intent to impose a work requirement on noncustodial parents through the child support program and clearly state that child support funds may be used to fund the work programs. 

Posted to Web: December 22, 2011Publication Date: December 22, 2011

Strengthening Families Through Stronger Fathers: Final Impact Report for the Pilot Employment Programs (Research Report)
Kye Lippold, Austin Nichols, Elaine Sorensen

New York state implemented a pilot employment program from 2006 to 2009 for parents behind in their child support. These pilot programs, part of the Strengthening Families Through Stronger Fathers Initiative, provided employment-oriented services, fatherhood/parenting workshops, case management, and other support services to nearly 4,000 parents behind in their child support in four New York communities. Our evaluation shows that these programs successfully helped participants find work, increase their earnings, and pay more child support. These gains continued for at least a year after enrollment, the length of time participant outcomes were followed.

Posted to Web: November 09, 2011Publication Date: October 01, 2011

New York Initiative Helps Fathers Increase Their Earnings and Child Support (Policy Briefs)
Elaine Sorensen

New York launched a pilot employment program to help parents behind in their child support in four communities between 2006 and 2009. The program was part of the state's Strengthening Families Through Stronger Fathers Initiative. Our evaluation found that the program's combination of employment assistance, case management, and other support services substantially increased the earnings and child support payments of disadvantaged parents who were not meeting their child support obligations.

Posted to Web: November 09, 2011Publication Date: October 01, 2011

Work-Oriented Programs in Child Support (Presentation)
Elaine Sorensen

This PowerPoint presentation describes lessons learned from past efforts to provide work-oriented programs for low-income parents behind in their child support payments. The presentation describes a New York state pilot program that substantially increased the earnings and child support payments of disadvantaged parents not meeting their child support obligations. The presentation was given at "The Child Support Connection: Giving Children a Brighter Future" conference hosted by the New York City Office of Child Support Enforcement on October 20, 2011 at the City University of New York Graduate School.

Posted to Web: November 09, 2011Publication Date: October 20, 2011

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