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Child Support and Father-Friendly Programs: NOT a Contradiction in Terms!. Joe Jones , Center for Urban Families (Baltimore) Debra Pontisso and John Langrock , Federal Office of Child Support (Washington, D.C.) . Child Support and Father-Friendly Programs:.

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child support and father friendly programs not a contradiction in terms
Child Support and Father-Friendly Programs: NOT a Contradiction in Terms!

Joe Jones, Center for Urban Families (Baltimore)

Debra Pontisso and

John Langrock, Federal Office of Child Support

(Washington, D.C.)

child support and father friendly programs

Child Support and Father-Friendly Programs:

Not a Contradiction in Terms!

Presented by:

Debra Pontisso and John Langrock

Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement

June 17, 2009

the courage to be a father
The Courage to be a Father

“There are a lot of men out there who need to stop acting like boys; who need to realize the responsibility does not end at conception; who need to know that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one” –

Barack Obama

the familiar side of child support
The Familiar Side of Child Support
  • Paternity Establishment
  • Locate
  • Establishment of Orders
  • Collection of Payments
fatherhood and child support did you know that
Fatherhood and Child Support:Did you know that….
  • During the past 15+ years, OCSE invested over $45 million to support research, demonstration grants, and waiver projects related to understanding and responding to the needs of noncustodial parents (NCPs) - usually fathers): and
  • During the past 13 years, $130 million has been made available to states – via the Access and Visitation Grant program – to assist NCPs in gaining increased access to and visitation with their children..
ocse grants and program development categories
OCSE Grants and Program Development Categories
  • Research
  • Section 1115 Discretionary Grants to States
  • Special Improvement Projects
  • Child Access and Visitation Grants
research grant topics examples
Research/Grant Topics: Examples

Demonstration projects and studies on how to better serve NCPs who are:

  • Unwed;
  • Minority;
  • Incarcerated;
  • Ex-offender;
  • Unemployed or “dead broke”, etc.

See attachment of draft publication about to be released

section 1115 grants
Section 1115 Grants
  • Purpose: to fund demonstration grants that have an evaluation component
  • Only State Child Support (IV-D) agencies can receive these grants;
  • The IV-D agency can contract with other agencies, faith- and community-based organizations, universities, etc.
  • Visit website at:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/grants

special improvement grants
Special Improvement Grants
  • Purpose: to provide funding for projects that further national child support mission and goals to help improve program performance
  • Visit website at:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/grants

key points to know section 1115 vs special improvement project sip grants
Section 1115

Application must be submitted by a State agency responsible for the Child Support Program.

HOWEVER, organizations (e.g., fatherhood groups) could collaborate with a child support enforcement agency on a proposed project.

Funding for a typical 3-year grant ranges $100-$200,000 but yields more as the grant and 5% state share can be matched with additional federal IV-D funds

EVALUATION is a required component.

SIP Grants

Application open to all types of service agencies and/or organizations, such as:

state/ local public agencies;

non-profit agencies (including faith-based organizations; for-profit;

and tribal organizations.

A formal evaluation is not required although certain type of impact or outcome measures by be requested.

Funding: typical grant award amount ranges between $100,000 - $200,000 ; no applicant match required.

Key Points to Know: Section 1115 vs. Special Improvement Project (SIP) Grants
child access and visitation grants
Child Access and Visitation Grants
  • Goal: to provide funds to states that will enable them to assist NCPs in gaining increased access to and visitation with their children.
  • Example of Services: mediation, parenting plans, education, counseling, visitation enforcement, etc.
healthy marriage waiver projects
Healthy Marriage Waiver Projects

Waivers grant projects require approval from OMB in order for OCSE to spend funds on non-traditional IV-D services in order to demonstrate a promising or unique approach to working with CPs and/or NCPs.

Examples include:

  • Parents Fair Share Program
  • Responsible Fatherhood Programs
  • Fragile Families Demonstration Project
  • Healthy Marriage
step 1 understanding how ocse grant funding priorities are established
Step 1: Understanding How OCSE Grant Funding Priorities Are Established

OCSE often selects grant priorities that support:

  • Goals of national strategic plan
  • Program Performance goals
  • OCSE Commissioner’s Initiatives
  • ACF, HHS, or White House Priorities
step 2 responding to an ocse grant announcement
Step 2: Responding to an OCSE Grant Announcement
  • Read the announcement very carefully!
  • Pay attention to the objectives of announcement.
  • When you write a grant proposal, make sure that you respond to ALL of the points addressed in the grant announcement.
  • New approaches to solving problems are rated highly!
slide17
Step 3: Demonstrate Understanding of Population to be Served (as it applies to the grant announcement) - Example
step 4 demonstrate an understanding of the state of the art as it relates to the subject area
Step 4: Demonstrate an Understanding of the State-of-the Art(as it relates to the subject area)
  • Review abstracts of grants funded by OCSE in the past
  • Provide a brief but concise literature review, if applicable
  • Don’t “reinvent the wheel” – build upon what has already proven successful or what is needed
step 5 partnerships count
Step 5: Partnerships Count!
  • Priority: establish a working relationship w/ local and/or state child support agencies
  • Obtain “buy in” for the proposed project
  • Enhance your application by obtaining letters of support from other service organizations
step 6 publication of ocse grant announcements
Step 6: Publication of OCSE Grant Announcements
  • Typically, OCSE Section 1115 and SIP grants are announced once a year; priority areas are determined by the OCSE Commissioner
  • Announcements are posted on the OCSE website (www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse under RESOURCES - Grant Opportunities)
step 7 other funding opportunities
Step 7: Other Funding Opportunities

Child support and other human service grant opportunities can be found at the following websites:

Administration for Children and Families (www.acf.hhs.gov under Working with ACF – Grant Opportunities

Department of Health and Human Services (www.hhs.gov under Grants/Funding)

step 8 sign up for grants gov
Step 8: Sign Up for Grants.gov
  • Sign up to receive a daily email listing of all of the federal government discretionary grant opportunities!
  • Go to:www.grants.gov
child access visitation grant funding how it works
Child Access/Visitation Grant Funding:How it Works

Goal: to assist NCPs in gaining increased access to and visitation with their children.

Funding: $10 million per year among states (non-child support funds) States decide how to spend the funds.

To apply: contact the State AV Program Coordinator in a given state to obtain information on funding priorities and how to apply for grant funds. A listing of state contacts can be found at:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/access_visitation

a brief overview of the evolutionary development of family strengthening initiatives
A Brief Overview of the Evolutionary Development of Family Strengthening Initiatives

1996: Fatherhood Programming Introduced–

  • Parents Fair Share Program
  • Responsible Fatherhood Programs
  • Fragile Families Demonstration Project
  • First use of Waivers to allow for Child Support Enforcement agencies to go beyond the standard and allowable activities as related to paternity establishment, order establishment, and enforcement of the CS obligation.
  • 2003 family strengthening initiative takes on the dimensions of relationship building and education with ACF’s Healthy Marriage Initiative.
healthy marriage projects overview
Healthy Marriage Projects: Overview

ACF Demonstration Projects --- Three multiyear HM activities in low – income populations:

  • Supporting Healthy Marriage (Evaluator: MDRC)
  • Building Strong Families (Evaluator: Mathematica)
  • Community Healthy Marriage (Evaluator: RTI)
the child support connection cs community healthy marriage 1115 waiver demonstration projects
The Child Support Connection – CS Community Healthy Marriage 1115 Waiver Demonstration Projects
  • Total of 15 State IV-D agencies received waivers to fund this added and new dimension of healthy marriage/responsible fatherhood to the existing CSE services
  • Implementation dates– 2004 to 2012
  • Children benefit not only from financial support but also from the emotional support inherent in seeing parents in healthy relationships
  • CHMI and CS goals – to improve the well-being of the child, promote paternity establishment, and increase financial and emotional support to children
      • RTI process reviews, including data match with CS system
      • Independent evaluations account for findings on effectiveness
  • OFA received annual funding of $150 Million for community healthy marriage and fatherhood activities by virtue of the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act (2006 -2010)
the child support connection discretionary grants special improvement projects sip and section 1115
The Child Support Connection – Discretionary Grants: Special Improvement Projects (SIP) and Section 1115
  • 2005 -- Five priority area 1SIP grants awarded: Promoting Healthy Relationships for Unwed Couples to Improve Children’s Financial and Medical Security and another one awarded in 2006
  • 2005 – One Section 1115 grant awarded in Priority 1 area: Reducing Intervention and Use of Adversarial or Formal Proceedings While Increasing Financial Security for Children Born-Out-Of-Wedlock
  • Total of seven discretionary grants closely tracked since 2005
  • Final report summaries appear on OCSE Web site under the Discretionary Grant Information resource heading
highlights and findings from ocse s healthy marriage responsible fatherhood demonstration projects
Highlights and Findings From OCSE’s Healthy Marriage/Responsible Fatherhood Demonstration Projects
  • Marriage and relationship education (MRE) service level – over 13,000 individuals completed classes (range in number of sessions- 5 to 8)
  • No one program design fits all projects, each community initiative built MRE training capacity and implemented program model– case management approach, group and individual classes, participant mentoring dimensions
  • Success of CHMI seems to be directly related to program’s ability to have an extensive referral network to deal with myriad of family needs– workforce development related options, housing, child care, public assistance benefits, substance abuse issues, etc…
  • All programs have a referral system to deal with family domestic violence issues
  • Collectively the CHMI projects reach into diverse populations- African-American, Hispanic and some refugee populations
  • Program sites are in all types of community structures- inner city, rural sector, and suburban areas
slide31
Highlights and Findings From OCSE’s Healthy Marriage/Responsible Fatherhood Demonstration Projects (Cont’d)
  • A few of the projects are engaged in comprehensive media campaigns with the goal of changing community norms and promoting strong and stable family development
  • Projects vary in scope with some focusing on a small targeted group within the community, while other projects employ a saturation model and set goals of reaching 500 plus individuals each year
  • Common problems and issues that grantees work through on an ongoing basis:

-- recruitment and retention issues

-- delivery of classes (some programs work with the presentation of MRE classes by offering weekend retreats and by delivering the HM curriculum over shorter overall periods while each class meets for a longer period of time)

highlights and findings continued
Highlights and Findings -- Continued
  • The CHMI participants in general have a great deal of complexity regarding multiple partner fertility and as a result there are many reconstituted family dynamics at play
  • The identified child could be living with both or only one biological parent, parents could be cohabiting, child may reside in a single household or be part of a blended family arrangement, etc
  • In the aggregate, a range from 20% to one-third of the participants take classes with their romantically involved partner
  • Project retention rates are high for most projects (over 70%) with some projects approaching 90%- over time all projects have experienced a lessening of retention related issues
highlights and findings continued1
Highlights and Findings - continued
  • Preliminary findings on program effectiveness
    • Participants before and after self-report inventory on a host of attitudinal and behavioral measures indicate positive change
    • Attitudinal and behavior factors include, communication skills, conflict resolution factors, interpersonal factors, attitudes affecting marriage and parenting, etc…
    • Some projects report attitudinal and behavioral changes lasting at 3 and 6 months beyond intervention, according to self-reporting measures
    • Projects report participants re-enrolling in a particular HM curriculum as well as participants taking more than one curriculum (if offered)
    • In general lives of participants are very complicated and characterized by high levels of disadvantage and instability
    • many parent participants themselves had no immediate married role model in their extended family
highlights and findings continued2
Highlights and Findings (continued)
  • Majority of participants were single
  • A large number of participants report significant change over the past 6 months– household, education, employment, and relationship, etc…
contact information
Contact Information:
  • Debra Pontisso, OCSE

Debra.Pontisso@acf.hhs.gov

  • John Langrock

John.Langrock@acf.hhs.gov

We look forward to working with you!