Irwin Garfinkel

Recent Articles

Bringing Fathers Back In: The Child Support Assurance Strategy

Holding absent fathers financially accountable, while providing a minimum assured benefit for child support, could reduce child poverty significantly and help millions of single mothers move out of dependency.

During the past decade, a new strategy has begun to unfold for dealing with poverty and dependency among single parents in America. At first only an idea among researchers, it has now gained significant political support. Key elements of the approach have been adopted by Congress and are being tested in two states, Wisconsin and New York. The new approach goes by the name Child Support Assurance, and if adopted in its entirety it promises to transform the politics of welfare and to bring about significant reductions in the high poverty rates that afflict America's children. Demographers tell us that before children in this generation reach adulthood, more than half of them will live in a family headed by a single parent, usually their mother. Today, nearly half of children in single-parent families are poor, and even the more fortunate often suffer from the insecurity and sudden losses of income -- averaging 50 percent -- that follow divorce. These problems have lifelong consequences...