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Over the past 30 years increases in the rates of divorce and separation and a rise in the rate of out-of-wedlock births has transformed the setting in which children are raised. Significant effects of these changes have been: increased numbers of single parent families, usually headed by a woman, living below the poverty line; an increase over most of these years in the welfare caseload; and the failure of many noncustodial parents, usually men, to pay their child support.
Today, approximately 25 percent of America's children live in poverty, and children living in a one-parent household run a much greater risk of being poor than children in two-parent households.
Motivated by the numbers of children receiving support from only one parent--and as a result falling into poverty--and by concern for the well-being of these children, as well as a desire to reduce the cost of public assistance to taxpayers, in 1975 Congress created the national Child Support Enforcement (CSE) program. The CSE program began with enactment of Title IV-D of the Social Security Act for the purpose of establishing and enforcing the support obligations owed by noncustodial parents to their children.
The CSE program is a joint undertaking involving federal, state, and local cooperative efforts. The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) within the Administration for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services is the Federal agency that oversees administration of the CSE program. OCSE sets program standards and policy, evaluates States' performance in conducting their programs, and offers technical assistance and training to states. It conducts audits of state program activities and operates …