Rutgers-led study calls for public guaranteed child support programs as the rate of single-mother families increases and the instability and precariousness of labor markets continues impacting single mothers’ earnings and nonresident fathers’ ability to pay child support.

In countries across the income spectrum, single-mother families are prevalent and often economically vulnerable, but in many nations, nonresident fathers are unable – and sometimes unwilling – to pay their share of support. A Rutgers-led, global study on child support policies suggests public guaranteed child support programs may be more effective than placing the burden of payment on nonresident parents with low incomes.

The findings are summarized in a recent World Bank action note for policymakers and development practitioners.

“In much of Europe, the state supports single mothers when fathers are unable to pay child support; children are considered a public good,” said Laura Cuesta, an assistant professor at the Rutgers School of Social Work and lead author of the note. “That’s not how it works in the United States, which contributes to social problems such as poverty and material hardship. If you’re a single mother in the U.S. and the father of your children can’t pay child support, you are kind of on your own.” To read the full story.