Every year, hundreds of thousands of California children living in poverty do not receive all of the child support payments made by their parents. Current California law requires that low-income families who receive public benefits only receive the first $50 their monthly child support payment; the rest is redirected to pay back the cost of public benefits. Last year, California redirected $368 million in parents’ child support payments to pay back the government for the cost of public assistance. In a state with one of the highest child poverty rates, these policies take valuable resources from low-income children and disproportionately harm children of color, as more than two-thirds of the children impacted by these policies are children of color.
Last year, San Francisco launched a pilot project to test the impact of eliminating public assistance payback debt for low-income families. The Urban Institute conducted an evaluation of the pilot project. They found that when parents are relieved of their public assistance debt:
- Parents make more consistent and timely payments;
- Children receive more financial support;
- Parents’ employment barriers are reduced, and their housing status and credit scores often improve; and
- Parents’ relationships with each other and their children also improve.
The evaluation results were featured on National Public Radio’s KQED of Northern California, the Nation's The Takeaway, and in the New York Times.
Please join us to learn more about the impact of California’s child support system on low-income families, the results of the San Francisco pilot, and how we can work together to make the system work better for low-income families across the state.
This event is open to NCG members and non-member funders.
Co-sponsors and partners