Resolving Issues of Access: Noncustodial Parents and Visitation Rights

By Pearson, Jessica; Thoennes, Nancy | Public Welfare, Fall 1997 | Go to article overview

Resolving Issues of Access: Noncustodial Parents and Visitation Rights


Pearson, Jessica, Thoennes, Nancy, Public Welfare


An overview of the programs that have been designed to increase noncustodial parents' access to their children following separation or divorce, and an evaluation of their success.

This article is a shortened version of a chapter that will appear in The Effects of Child Support Enforcement on Nonresident Fathers, edited by Irwin Garfinkle, Sara S. McLanahan, Dan Meyer, and Judith A. Seltzer, which is scheduled for publication by the Russell Sage Foundation later this year.

Data collection for this study was supported by a grant from the State Judicial Institute and a contract from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement to Policy Studies, Inc., with a subcontract to the Center for Policy Research. The points of view expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official positions or policies of the agencies that funded the research.

Noncustodial parents have long contended that the increasingly aggressive enforcement of child support obligations has not been matched by an equally zealous enforcement of visitation rights. In response to these assertions, Congress adopted a national grant program as part of its landmark welfare reform legislation, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193), to facilitate noncustodial parents' access to and visitation of their children by means of activities including mediation (both voluntary and mandatory), counseling, education, development of parenting plans, visitation enforcement (including monitoring supervision and neutral drop off and pick up), and development of guidelines for visitation and alternative custody arrangements. [1]

The inclusion of mandates regarding access and visitation in P.L. 104-193 is tantamount to official acknowledgment that children have the right to continuing relationships with--as well as financial support from--both parents. Further, it is indicative of a growing recognition by lawmakers and lay people alike that lack of access is a serious problem for many families and that a lack of visitation rights can contribute to the nonpayment of child support. The recently established access grant program (funded at $10 million in fiscal year 1997) represents a significant departure from past U.S. child support enforcement policy, which has historically focused on the importance of financial support and ignored or disregarded most issues related to parents' visitation rights.

This article provides an overview of the range of programs that have been designed to increase noncustodial parents' access to their children following separation or divorce and explores the programs' success in promoting contact with children and increasing child support payments. It is based on two investigations conducted by the Center for Policy Research. One study, initiated in 1990 and funded by the State Judicial Institute (SJI), involved an evaluation of five court-based programs designed to facilitate access in jurisdictions located in Arizona, California, Florida, Kansas, and Michigan. The second study, completed jointly with Policy Studies, Inc., involved the evaluation of the Child Access Demonstration Projects. The evaluation of the demonstration projects was funded by two awards by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE): a 1990 grant to complete evaluations in Florida, Idaho, and Indiana and a 1991 grant to evaluate programs in Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, and Massachusetts. At the SJI sites, there were 1,164 potential respondents, and a response rate of 34 percent; at the OCSE sites, there were 1,122 baseline cases for the first set of evaluations and 1,314 base-line cases for the second, with retention rates of 57 percent and 65 percent, respectively.

Each study involved visits to program sites, observations of access interventions, and interviews with key staff and relevant judges and lawyers. To gain insight into the experiences of parents who were served by the programs, the research also included the use of questionnaires, telephone interviews, and reviews of participants' court files and child support agency records. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Resolving Issues of Access: Noncustodial Parents and Visitation Rights
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.