A New Response to Child Support Noncompliance

Caroline Mage, Peter Baird, and Cynthia Miller
June 2019

Research shows that parents are more concerned with being treated fairly than with the actual outcome of a child support case. With this principle in mind, the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) selected five sites to participate in the Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) project, which will explore the application of procedural justice concepts to the enforcement of child support orders. This study brief describes the current contempt process and gives background information on procedural justice. Then, it lays out a project design that will allow evaluators to compare the outcomes on cases of using each method. The PJAC model is meant to increase engagement, which will lead to the consistent payment of support. It includes four components: case assessment, outreach and engagement, case conference, and case management and services.