August is National Child Support Awareness Month

What is National Child Support Awareness Month?

Since 1995, the United States has been honoring Child Support Awareness Month during the month of August. Former President Bill Clinton recognized this month on August 5, 1995 in his official proclamation stating that, “Providing for our children is one of humanity’s worthiest and most fundamental endeavors.

Children are the best part of ourselves – the sum of our past and the promise of our future, the guarantee that our lives and values and dreams will flourish long after we are gone.”

Sadly, the harsh reality is that many American children do not have parents who can financially support them, and are forced to grow up with an absent parent. The reform of the country’s child support system was one of Bill Clinton’s top priorities during his administration, and the Federal Government has since taken a leadership role in an effort to support children who are not receiving adequate financial support after their parents divorce.

The Child Support Enforcement Program is coordinated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is partnered with State child support agencies to ensure children are provided for and financially supported.

Child support helps families stay self-sufficient so that they do not rely on public assistance programs just to get by. Children who receive financial support from both parents tend to get better grades in school and also tend to have fewer behavioral problems throughout their childhood, teen years and adult lives.

Child Support Awareness Month is a time to salute parents who work hard to ensure their children grow up in stable homes and look forward to a bright future. Many state child support service providers and agencies are participating in awareness activities this month and hosting seminars to educate the public about the importance of child support.

You can support your state’s Department of Child Support Services with a donation this month, or volunteer some time to help a local state agency.

What is the Child Support Enforcement Program?

The nation’s Child Support Enforcement Program (CSE) is a Federal/State/Tribal/local partnership to help families by promoting family self-sufficiency and child well-being.

All States and territories run a child support enforcement program, usually in the human services department, department of revenue, or the State Attorney General’s office, often with the help of prosecuting attorneys, district attorneys, other law enforcement agencies and officials of family or domestic relations courts.

Native American Tribes, too, can operate culturally appropriate child support programs with Federal funding. Families seeking government child support services must apply directly through their State/local agency or one of the Tribes running the program.

Services are available to a parent with custody of a child whose other parent is living outside the home. Services are available automatically for families receiving assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

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