Child Support; Need to Improve Efforts to Identify Fathers and Obtain Support Orders.
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC HUMAN RESOURCES DIV
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In 1975, the Congress created the Child Support Enforcement Program to strengthen state and local efforts to locate absent fathers, determine paternity, obtain support orders, and collect support payments. GAO made this review to determine 1 if efforts to determine paternity and obtain support orders for AFDC children are adequate and, if not, why not 2 whether data compiled on these program activities are sufficient and reliable for program oversight and 3 the potential impact of recent legislative amendments to the program. Four of every 10 AFDC sampled children who needed paternity determinations andor support orders did not receive them because their cases 1 were never opened, 2 were closed prematurely, or 3 remained open but unattended. Often these practices resulted from poor case management systems and an emphasis on developing cases that offer the highest child support collections for the least effort. Federal oversight was inadequate, and state reporting on program operations was not sufficiently accurate and complete to enable HHS, the Congress, and others to assess program performance. When they became eligible for AFDC, 7 of 10 children in GAOs sample needed paternity determinations andor support orders. For 42 percent of these, the child support agencies efforts to determine paternity or obtain support orders were inadequate. Regarding those who did not need a paternity determination or a support order, about half already had support orders, and most of the others had fathers at home who were unemployed or incapacitated.
- Administration and Management