A voluntary program being piloted by the San Francisco Department of Child Support Services reimagines how child support is provided.
The program allows noncustodial parents to meet their obligations by providing food, clothing, transportation, and housework in addition to traditional financial support. Offering an in-kind, noncash alternative for providing child support acknowledges the way some parents already contribute to their children and is expected to benefit both children and parents, and the Department of Child Support Services.
San Francisco’s model is a recognition of families’ desires for more flexible contributions and builds on the Yurok Tribe’s model of child support services, which allows parents to support their children in ways beyond monetary support.
An in-kind approach to child support requires new forms of facilitation. Ongoing court monitoring ensures the agreements continue to work for families over time.
San Francisco’s approach could serve as a model for other counties and states who want to introduce more flexibility into child support programs and strengthen familial relationships.
San Francisco’s child support model recognizes nonmonetary ways coparents can support their children. These flexibilities help make it easier to raise children across multiple households.
About the Author/Grantee
The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector. Visit the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center for more information specific to its staff and its recent research.
We work to expand our nation's evidence base on the many factors which shape health, and what types of policy and system changes have greatest potential for impact.