Authors: Daniel Schroeder, Kelly Stewart Nichols, Elizabeth McGuinness; with Christopher T. King, Esmeralda Garcia, Sarah Looney Oldmixon, and Andy David
Date: February 2007
Publication Type: Report, 52pp.
Abstract: The Ray Marshall Center (RMC) estimated preliminary impacts of NCP Choices on child support collections, workforce development participation, employment and earnings levels of NCPs, and TANF receipt by the custodial parents (CPs). The research design included the selection of a quasi-experimental comparison group for estimating the impact of NCP Choices. Results showed that NCPs ordered into the program:
- Paid their child support more often (57% increase), and paid more of it ($60 per month more) – leading to an almost 50% increase in total collections
- Were more consistent in making child support payments over time (67% increase)
- Participated in workforce development to a much greater extent (95%) than did the comparison group (6%)
- Were subsequently employed at significantly higher rates (11% increase)
- The custodial parents associated with NCP Choices participants were approximately 10% less likely to rely on TANF benefits
- NCP Choices participants did show lower total earnings than the control group – this may be a result of a greater share of NCPs in the program entering employment, though at a somewhat lower wage
In short, NCP Choices appears to have successfully achieved almost all of its program goals. The combination of effects generally point to greater economic self-sufficiency on the part of CPs and NCPs. It is important to note, however, that the effects reported do not measure the impact of the Choices program on NCPs, but the impact of being ordered into the NCP Choices program. No doubt a portion of the measured effects was due to Choices or other workforce development participation, but a portion was also due to the motivating properties of the court order. Also, without a current implementation study, which is soon to be updated, it is difficult to know which components of NCP Choices were responsible for the largely positive program impacts. Finally, while this study relies on early implementation data, future analysis will examine whether a mature NCP Choices program might show even greater benefits.