Updates & Coalition Letters
2023 Legislative Session
Senator Skinner’s SB 343 brings California in compliance with federal law and includes the critical pieces for California’s courts and child support program to better support parents and children by setting orders at an amount parents can afford. More parents will receive a low-income adjustment that protects a parent’s own living expenses, lifting the threshold for the adjustment to account for the rising cost of living in California.
Assemblymember Bonta’s AB 1148 extends the amount of time a parent receives after incarceration before reinstating child support orders from less than one month to ten months. Providing a parent enough time to secure stable employment and get back on their feet ensures they can adequately support themselves and their families.
Separate from legislative activity, the California Department of Child Support Services took administrative action to reduce uncollectible child support debt that is owed to the state and to stop enforcing existing child support cases that were referred from the foster care program. California will cease charging child support for recoupment of time in foster care from low-income parents. DCSS will also eliminate approximately $500 million of uncollectible foster care debt.
2022 Legislative Session
2022 was a banner year for child support program reform. The Budget Trailer Bill (AB 207) directs full child support pass-through for families that formerly received CalWorks benefits, beginning July 1, 2023 (update: in 2023, the implementation date was pushed to April 2024). Just as important, the Trailer Bill also makes clear the intent of full family pass-through of child support by 2025 for families currently receiving CalWorks benefits. In addition, the Trailer Bill provides child support relief to incarcerated parents by setting the order to zero during the period of incarceration.
Senator Kamlager’s SB 1055 will protect low-income parents from driver’s license suspensions due to child support debt. The Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) will not be allowed to submit to the DMV the name of any parent with a household income at or below 70% of the median income in the county the parent resides.
Assemblymember Bryan’s AB 1686 will significantly limit the Department of Social Services (DSS) from referring families in the foster care program to DCSS for recoupment of child support payable to the State.
2021 Legislative Session
The Human Services Omnibus (AB 135) approved the distribution of child support debt payments taken from tax offsets and economic stimulus payments to families before the government.
AB 135 also takes a step toward child support debt relief. The State will stop collecting government-owed child support debt from economically vulnerable parents whose only source of income is from Social Security, the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI), or VA Disability Compensation, starting January 1, 2023.
2020 Legislative Session
AB 2325 (Carrillo) restores Section 4007.5 of the Family Code with a three year sunset. This law was allowed to sunset in 2019, requiring child support order suspensions to be processed manually for people who are incarcerated over 90 days, rather than have them automatically suspended.
AB 2338 (Weber) permits a court to grant probation or a conditional sentence, as defined, instead of imprisonment for a non-custodial parent found in contempt for failure to comply with a child support order.
In 2019, SB 337 (Skinner) would have increased child support pass through from $50 to $100 of child support for one child and from $100 to $200 for two or more children or more but it was vetoed by the Governor. Working with the Governor’s team and his staff as well as the Legislature, the Coalition advocated for this proposal to be included in the Governor’s May 2020 Budget Revise. It was voted on and signed in June 2020. This change is effective in January 2022.