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With a culture of continuous improvement, the child support program can use research and analysis to enhance and refine its operation. As a partnership between federal, state, local, and tribal governments, there are opportunities for experimentation at various levels of program coordination and service delivery. Moreover, the substantial data collected by and available to child support agencies provide an opportunity for analyses that improve program operations and inform policy development.
This research agenda is for the broader child support community — federal, state, and local policymakers, program operators, academic researchers and scholars, and program evaluators — to further this spirit of continuous improvement. It identifies potential areas for research and analysis to inform the most pressing policy issues facing the field.
To spark this conversation, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and MEF Associates convened child support practitioners, researchers, and policymakers for the Roundtable for Building the Next Generation of Child Support Policy Research in October 2017. The meeting involved a series of presentations from expert panelists that served as the basis for individual feedback and group discussion. Attendees submitted individual responses about research gaps, engaged in small group discussions with peers, and participated in large group discussions.