The Impact of Welfare and Child Support Enforcement on Children's Living Arrangements

Heather L. Koball, Columbia University

This research examines the effects of major changes to social policy during the 1990s on children's living arrangements. Significant changes were made to states' welfare systems beginning in the early 1990s, which culminated in national welfare reform in 1996. At the same time, the child support enforcement system, which is intricately linked to the welfare system, was transformed. An explicit goal of welfare reform was to encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families as a means to enhance the well-being of low-income children. This research examines the impact of changes to welfare and child support enforcement policies on whether children live with none, one, or two of their parents. Policies that directly targeted family structure, such as family caps, will be examined, as well as policies that may have indirect effects on family formation, such as child support. The March supplement to the Current Population Survey is used.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Union Formation and Dissolution and Parents' Living Arrangements