This paper examines the effects of a number of methods for enhancing private child support collections: increasing the proportion of those children potentially eligible for child support who get child support awards; using a uniform standard for determining child support obligations; and collecting a greater percentage of current obligations. The paper also estimates the potential of all three methods used in combination to provide income to needy custodial families.

The research demonstrates that the current private child support system falls far short of its potential to transfer income from noncustodial to custodial families. Although the use of a normative standard, improved collections, and extending child support to all those potentially eligible will greatly improve the economic circumstances of impoverished custodial families, private child support cannot be viewed as the sole answer for the economic plight of these families. Increased work opportunities and increased public support are also needed.

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