Child Support Enforcement and the U. S. Military: Exploring the Barriers Associated with Program Implementation
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Purpose: Active duty military personnel are a unique segment of the United States population. Service members and families live and work in a high cost environment. As a result, military members are more likely than the general population to experience marriage dissolution. The purpose of this research is to explore the impediments associated with the implementation and operation of a broadly defined child support enforcement program designed to assist a military population. Method: As this work is exploratory, and to a great deal, introductory, pillar questions are used to guide the inquiry process. Sub-pillar questions were developed in order to answer each main pillar question. These pillar questions were developed based on a review of the literature. The literature reviewed focused on active duty military personnel and program implementation. A case study methodology is used to assess the impediments associated with the implementation and operation of a broadly defined child support enforcement program. The data-collection techniques used in this research are semi-structured interviews, document analysis, and direct observation. Findings: The preliminary findings indicate the military lifestyle makes expedited access and referral the most valuable resources a broadly defined child support enforcement program can offer service members and their families. The most common services requested from soldiers and their families include help with enforcement, custody and visitation, paternity establishment, review and adjustment, and order establishment. The military population in general is often reluctant to ask for help. As a result, enforcement agencies should establish a proactive outreach program. Broadly defined child support programs should employ comprehensive training programs, which encourage employees to participate and follow existing policy.