Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Scholarship on Child Support Enforcement primarily focuses on program effectiveness and the influence of child support payments in the lives of recipient mothers and children (Cancian and Meyer 2006; Meyer and Hu 1999; Mincy and Sorenson 1998). Yet, these studies fail to examine the impact of Child Support Enforcement laws and policies on fathers’ lives. Additionally, race, gender, and class are often treated as individual-level sociodemographic variables without considering the historically disadvantaged position of designated minority groups, particularly Black people, within state-run institutions. Lastly, most Child Support Enforcement research is located in the Northeast, Midwest, and Southwest regions of the United States (Cancian and Meyers 2006; Huang, Mincy, and Garfinkel 2005). The focus on these primarily urban areas leaves invisible populations in the Deep South who often live in rural areas known for their persistent poverty. My dissertation builds upon the existing sociological literature on the relationship between race and state institutions by examining whether this historically tumultuous relationship is reproduced within Child Support Enforcement. While there is existing literature about Black men and state institutions, few if any focus specifically and substantively on Child Support Enforcement. The purpose of my research is to address the gap in the Child Support Enforcement literature by conducting a quantitative analysis of the outcomes and experiences of noncustodial parents who are entangled within this quasi-criminal system—the Child Support Enforcement. I use Louisiana Child Support Enforcement administrative data, U.S. Census and U.S. Department of Agriculture data, to answer the research question: How does race, gender, class, and place shape the variation in outcomes of noncustodial parents engaged with the CSE system?



Committee Chair

Martin, Lori L.



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