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.
- WNYC: ‘It’s Not Really Going to Support My Children’: The Fight to Keep Child Support in the Family’ August 27, 2019
The Davis Vanguard Guest Commentary: The Road to Hell is Through the Halls of the Sacramento Family Court (by Michelle D. Chan, September 20, 2022)
Sacramento Bee Op-Ed: How Gavin Newsom can right a wrong and stop taking money from California children in need (by Michael Tubbs and Sam Cobbs, April 27, 2022)
Los Angeles Times Op-Ed: Miss a traffic ticket deadline, add $300. Guess who this affects the most (by Anne Stuhldreher, April 21, 2022)
Los Angeles Times Column: California must stop taking away child support from kids and families (by George Skelton, March 15, 2022)
Los Angeles Times Why flush California still takes child support from low-income families (by Mackenzie Mays, Feb. 28, 2022)
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)