Senior Policy Analyst
The House Agriculture Committee farm bill, which the House is expected to vote on this week, would require low-income parents living apart to participate in the child support enforcement program or lose SNAP benefits. In a commentary today for Governing, former federal Commissioner of Child Support Enforcement Vicki Turetsky writes, “the proposed mandate would waste billions, result in low [child support] collection rates, pose safety risks, and leave some children worse off.” States already can mandate child support cooperation in SNAP, but only six do because of the cost and complexity. A national requirement would entail serious risks for low-income families and states:
Whenever possible, both parents should provide financial and emotional support to their children. But we’ve seen the damaging, unintended consequences of a costly child support mandate in states that have imposed it, both in SNAP and other programs. Improving access to child support services is important, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of food assistance for vulnerable families and children.