Procedural Justice Principles in the Midst of a Major Disruption

Peter Baird, Michael Hayes (Office of Child Support Enforcement), Sharon Henderson (Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response, and Tanya Johnson (Office of Child Support Enforcement)
December 2020

The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) funded the Procedural Justice Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) grant to explore the application of procedural justice principles to enforcing child support orders. The grant targets noncustodial parents who are about to be referred for contempt for not paying their child support but have the ability to pay. This brief addresses the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the project sites and the parents. Relationship building is essential to providing services informed by procedural justice principles. These agencies had already built relationships with many of parents so they were in a good place when the pandemic hit. The agencies and parents both had issues with technology. Modification are important for PJAC parents. When courts closed, scheduling modification hearings became difficult. Procedural Justice principles have helped the agencies as the they communicate with parents about current processes and issues like the stimulus payment.