Child Support Program and Parenting Time Orders: Research, Practice, and Partnership Project – Site Visit Reportclick to download
Parenting time is typically not addressed for parents in the child support system. At the same time, parents who were not married to each other at the time of their children’s birth do not have easy access to family court services, pro se resources and/or staff support available to divorcing parents arising out of their involvement with family court proceedings. (Parents in the child support system who want parenting time assistance are typically referred to family court, a process that may be time-consuming, complex, and expensive.)
Supporting and safeguarding families who have experienced family violence is essential to any parenting time program. This is in part because increased opportunities for noncustodial parental involvement can pose challenges and risks, including the potential for increased family violence. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Surveys of 2010 and 2011 (NISVS), more than one-third of women in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetimes. Men also experience violence, and NISVS data reveals that over one-quarter of U.S. men experience intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. Research shows that the birth of a child, the establishment of a child support order, and child support enforcement activities can all be triggers for violence. At the same time, the vast majority of custodial parents who have experienced domestic violence want to obtain child support if they can do so safety.
To conduct the Child Support Program and Parenting Time Orders project, CPR used a variety of strategies to identify ways child support agencies incorporate parenting time agreements into initial child support orders: telephone conversations with administrators of State Access and Visitation Grant Programs; a review of child support websites for 20 states and jurisdictions for mention of parenting time or visitation; and solicitation of site examples and recommendations at a session that CPR organized on parenting time in child support cases at the Mid-Year Policy Forum for the National Child Support Enforcement Association on February 10, 2012.
CPR used several strategies to identify jurisdictions that were establishing parenting-time plans for parents in the child support system. One was to review State/Jurisdiction Profiles for the Child Access and Visitation Grants and identify those states that focused on addressing the unmet access needs of unmarried parents as well as those that delivered mediation and/or parenting plan services. CPR also conducted telephone conversations with state coordinators of the Access and Visitation Grant Program that appeared to focus on parenting plan development. CPR examined websites for 22 states and/or local jurisdictions: Alaska; Hartford, Connecticut; California; Illinois; Michigan; Hennepin County, Minnesota; Washington, D.C.; South Carolina; Hawaii; Franklin County, Ohio; North Dakota; Louisiana; Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Mississippi; Texas; Missouri; Indiana; Maryland; Colorado; Tennessee; Oregon; and Maricopa County, Arizona. CPR helped to organize and conduct a session on parenting time in child support cases at the Mid-Year Policy Forum for the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA).
Issues & Focus Areas
- Child Support
- Child Welfare
- Early Childhood & Education
- Economic Security & Healthcare
- Father Engagement & Healthy Relationships
- Gender-Based Violence