New Directions for Child Support Agencies When Domestic Violence Is an Issue

By Griswold, Esther Ann; Pearson, Jessica et al. | Policy & Practice of Public Human Services, March 2000 | Go to article overview

New Directions for Child Support Agencies When Domestic Violence Is an Issue


Griswold, Esther Ann, Pearson, Jessica, Thoennes, Nancy, Policy & Practice of Public Human Services


There is little doubt that many low-income women suffer from domestic violence. According to a 1996 Bureau of Justice Statistics report (Craven, 1996), women living in households with annual incomes below $10,000 are four times more likely to be violently attacked, usually by their intimate partners. Some reaearchers place the frequency of domestic violence at 50 to 80 percent of women receiving public assistance (Raphael, 1996).

With the enactment of the welfare reform legislation in 1996, families are limited to public assistance for five years (or less, depending upon state policy). With these time limits, child support takes on added significance for families as they make the transition from welfare to selfsufficiency.

Yet, domestic violence victims may not be able to comply with all of the requirements embodied in the welfare reform legislation. For example, the laws require welfare applicants and recipients to provide information about the absent parent, such as name, social security number, and employer. Child support personnel use these data to establish paternity, generate child support orders, and collect child support for the children. Applicants and recipients must either cooperate with their child support enforcement agency by helping to identify and locate the father of their children, or applying for and receiving a "good cause exemption" to the child support cooperation requirements due to the risk of harm.' Those who do neither face at least a 25 percent reduction in the family's public assistance grant for noncooperation. Some have argued, however, that cooperation requirements increase the threat of harm to families when the absent parent is abusive by alerting the abuser to the victim's location, precipitating physical contact between the abuser and the victim in the courtroom, or arousing the anger of the abuser who may be subject to automatic wage withholding or driver's license suspension.

The Response

Recognizing that domestic violence victims may not be able to comply with the welfare reform legislation, 39 states have adopted the Family Violence Option (FVO) and others have developed their own programs and policies to meet the needs of domestic violence victims. The FVO allows states to screen welfare applicants and recipients for a history of domestic violence, to refer those identified to counseling and supportive services, and to waive certain program requirements if compliance might put them at risk of harm.

Also in response, public assistance and child support agencies are experimenting with different ways of assisting victims to meet both their safety and self-sufficiency needs. Some of this experimentation has been fueled by recent demonstration and evaluation grants awarded by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). Three such projects, in Colorado, Minnesota, and Massachusetts, focus on how to identify domestic violence victims in public assistance and child support agencies and meet both their safety and child support needs, and how to improve cooperation with child support agencies and to identify barriers to that cooperation. Each project offers strong clues about clients' understandings of the requirements they face and their reactions to agency efforts to address their needs.

Colorado

Colorado was one of the first states to test the process of screening public assistance applicants for domestic violence. It involved:

* notifying all welfare applicants that victims of domestic violence may apply for certain exemptions if cooperating with agency requirements might result in violence or a threat of harm,

* briefly screening for domestic violence by public assistance staff using an explicit behavioral question, and

* providing good cause exemption information to clients who disclosed domestic violence.

Clients voluntarily filed for a good cause waiver, and the decision to approve or deny the application was made by a committee of public assistance and child support workers. …

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

New Directions for Child Support Agencies When Domestic Violence Is an Issue
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

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.