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Evidence Favors Electronic Monitoring for Improvements in Child Support Collections

NCJ Number
Journal of Offender Monitoring Volume: 21 Issue: 1 Dated: 2009 Pages: 5-9
Rhonda Zingraff; Sheenagh Lopez; Jennifer McCoy
Date Published
5 pages
This paper provides results of an initial research study on the effectiveness of electronic monitoring as a community alternative to incarceration, in the first empirical step for investigating the effectiveness of the problem-solving model in child support cases.
The research documents improvements in child support payment compliance that are modest rather than dramatic, but the aggregate effect of even modest gains may translate into important financial benefits for child well-being. To the extent that placement on electronic house arrest provokes more labor force participation than incarceration; those benefits may become more enduring. A far more robust research design would be required to identify the main predictors of enduring payment compliance. The logic of problem-solving courts was originally applied to drug courts. This logic was extended to the challenge of child support collections in order to break the revolving door cycle, improve parental responsibility, and better address the needs of children. In addition, the electronic monitoring of parents with a record of a payment failure was one of the community alternatives to incarceration recommended. However, in order to achieve widespread adoption of the problem-solving model, evidence of its effectiveness would need to be attained. By evaluating the results of electronic monitoring, this research study represents an important empirical step for investigating the effectiveness of the problem-solving court model in child support cases whose courtroom specializes in all of the IV-D cases, cases under the IV-D programs funded through Title IV, Part D, of the Social Security Act establishing child support enforcement programs across the Nation. Tables, figures, references, and notes