There are two different types of child support systems: 1) a private system under which payments go to children and families without any government intervention. And 2) a public system under which payments go mostly to the government to reimburse the cost of providing health and basic needs assistance. The latter public system exclusively includes poor children and families.

Few people understand how the public system works. The reports below describe the harms of the current system, including how money is extracted from poor families of color and redirected to the State and federal governments. The Urban Institute report also documents the benefits of effective reform through the evaluation of a San Francisco  pilot program that alleviated child support debt for low-income families. 

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CalMatters California Divide Series on Child Support

Part 1: California keeps millions in child support while parents drown in debt (By Kate Cimini, May 3, 2021)

Part 2: Stimulus, unemployment checks help child support debt collection hit new high (By Kate Cimini, June 17, 2021)

Part 3: Legislature looks to halt child support debt collections — only for some (By Nigel Duara and Kate Cimini, June 25, 2021)