States Should Use New Guidance to Stop Charging Parents for Foster Care, Prioritize Family Reunification

Diana Azevedo-McCaffrey
October 2022

The federal Administration for Children & Families recently issued new policy guidance that allows state agencies to stop referring Title IV-E foster care cases for the establishment of a child support order. The old policy had very little benefit. These families are low-income. A support obligation takes money out of an already financially fragile family. Collecting support wasn’t cost-efficient. The new guidance promotes reunification efforts and help the custodial parent maintain the family home. Most states may need to develop a clear non-referral policy, reprogram computer systems, provide training, put quality control mechanisms in place, and encourage coordination between child welfare and child support.