Senator Tom Cotton Introduces Bill to Increase Child Support Payments

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) introduced the Child Support Works Act, a bill that would increase child-support payments to custodial parents and children. The Child Support Works Act would allow state child-support agencies to be reimbursed for operating mandatory work programs for non-custodial parents. These programs have proven effective at helping non-custodial parents develop positive work ethics and fulfill the requirements of their child-support orders.

Bill text may be found here. This bill is supported by the National Child-Support Enforcement Association.

“Fathers have an obligation to care for their children. Child-support orders can help parents fulfill this obligation by requiring them to work. This bill would provide additional resources to state child-support agencies so they can help parents get back on their feet and provide for their family,” said Cotton.


  • Child-support enforcement is one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in the country, lifting more than one million families over the poverty line each year. However, approximately one-quarter of child-support cases aren’t paid, often because the non-custodial parent doesn’t have a job. 
  • At least 30 states and the District of Columbia operate some form of program to help or require non-custodial parents to find work if they are underemployed, unemployed, or delinquent on their child-support order. These programs have proven effective at increasing child-support payments and employment among non-custodial parents. Court-ordered programs have proven especially effective.
  • The federal government partially reimburses states for expenses they incur through their child-support enforcement programs, but currently child-support work programs are not eligible for reimbursement. The Child Support Works Act would allow states to be reimbursed at the normal, 66% matching rate for expenditures on mandatory work programs for non-custodial parents who are underemployed, unemployed, or behind on their child-support payments.