Colorado Tests Softer Approach To Help Parents Pay Child Support

Daniel Noffsinger - Thursday, January 15, 2015

According to a recent article, about one-third of Colorado parents with monthly child support obligations do not make the required payments. This equates to about 32,000 parents per month who are for one reason or another not making the required child support payments to about 39,000 children. About 8,400 Colorado families who need child support payments are required to go onto welfare rolls, known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. This welfare program is typically reserved for the individuals who need it the most, namely single-parent families.

Missed child support payments can have devastating effects on the families who need the money to survive. According to the state, in 2014, Colorado will collect about $345 million in child support payments to help more than 165,000 children. Unfortunately, there is still a significant amount of unpaid child support that hurts the children and families who depend on the payments. The state estimates that the current unpaid child support obligations stand at $1.17 billion. Larry Desbien, acting director of the state’s Division of Child Support Services, estimates that if parents fulfilled their monthly child support obligations then it would result in about $10 million per month to help lift thousands of Colorado children out of poverty.

Colorado to Test Federal Pilot Program to Help Deadbeat Parents

There are various reasons why a parent may not make a child support payment. The parent may be unemployed or may be making little money. Or, the parent may be incarcerated and unable to make the required child support payments. Sometimes there are more pernicious reasons why a parent may willfully choose not to make the required payments.

In an effort to help (instead of punish) Colorado parents who cannot make child support payments, Colorado is participating in a new federal pilot project, which is intended to increase child support payments. The program known as the Colorado Parent Employment Project, or CO-PEP, is focused on helping parents make payments, decreasing their dependency on welfare, and encouraging parents to spend more time with their children. Only five Colorado counties—Jefferson, Arapahoe, Boulder, El Paso and Prowers—are part of the $2.3 million grant program.

Instead of using punitive measures, which are costly for counties to employ and often ineffective, CO-PEP is intended to employ a collaborative, holistic approach. Specifically, the program is focused on a positive approach to helping parents through employment training, job search help, work clothing, and assistance with transportation to employment. In addition, the program also provides food stamps, mental health services and housing. Besides just the monetary assistance, the program also encourages parents to become more involved in the lives of their children by providing life coaching, fatherhood, and parenting classes. If the program is successful it could receive long-term federal funding and could be rolled out to other counties.

Contact a Colorado Springs Child Support Attorney

If you have any questions regarding child support obligations under Colorado law, an experienced Colorado Springs child support attorney can help answer your questions. Noffsinger Law provides legal services in a variety of family law matters, including divorce, custody issues, adoptions, property disputes, and domestic violence. Contact a Colorado Springs family law attorney today at Noffsinger Law for help with all your family law needs.