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Falling Through The Cracks: Gaps In Child Support Among Welfare Recipients

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Abstract

This article examines gaps in child support among welfare recipients in Wisconsin. Documented is the extent to which breakdowns at various stages—including paternity establishment, support orders, and payments—contribute to the low rate of child support receipt. Children were tracked over a 2-year period to assess their progress through the child support system over time. Few welfare recipients are able to successfully negotiate the child support system, and mothers frequently achieve different degrees of success with different children. The characteristics of children who drop out prior to obtaining a support order suggest that, with an order in place, they would be as likely to receive support as are those children who already have orders.

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