According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Office of Child Support Enforcement, almost one in four children are in the U.S. child support system, and among low income custodial parents who receive child support, the average amount received accounts for more than half of their average household income.
Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB), The Texas Workforce Commission and the Child Support Division of the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) collaboratively provide assistance to noncustodial parents (NCPs) who are required to pay child support, through the NCP Choices Program.
The NCP Choices Program is designed to help NCPs overcome substantial barriers to employment and career advancement while becoming economically self-sufficient and making consistent child support payments.
“The child support system plays a critical role in reducing poverty for children, and while compliance with child support is automatic for steadily employed noncustodial parents, for the 20 to 30 percent of noncustodial parents with limited or unstable employment, providing for their children can be an uphill climb,” said William Minor, manager of Father and NCP Involvement Projects for the Texas Office of the Attorney General.
The OAG partnered with IV-D courts and the Texas Workforce Commission to implement NCP Choices to address root causes of non-support by NCPs through a mix of employment and supportive services.
The OAG identifies unemployed or under-employed NCPs who are unable to meet their court-ordered obligation, and the Texas Workforce Commission eliminates barriers by providing NCPs with workforce ready tools to find and keep stable employment, while earning enough to support themselves and their children.
“We are committed to the partnership with Workforce Solutions Borderplex as it continues to provide key resources and programs to our community,” said Veronica Escobar, County Judge and Lead Chief Elected Official to the Workforce Solutions Board.
NCPs typically face a hard time making payments when they are out of work or earning less than they need to support themselves and their families. The program helps custodial parents get their support by helping noncustodial parents find and keep work.
“NCP Choices is a cost effective and collaborative way to offer noncustodial parents choices and a new direction forward –parents move from ‘nonpaying status’ into more frequent, more consistent payers of child support, and meet their obligations as parents,” said Joyce Wilson, CEO for Workforce Solutions Borderplex.
How the Noncustodial Parent Choices Program Works
Initiated in August 2005, the Noncustodial Parent (NCP) Choices Program is a collaborative effort of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) of Texas, Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB), and El Paso County Family Court.
The program targets low-income unemployed or underemployed NCPs who are behind on their child support payments. Once enrolled, NCPs receive job leads, job search guidance, and job retention monitoring provided by the Workforce Solutions Borderplex staff. Any parent needing employment assistance can voluntarily access workforce services through his or her workforce center.
Funded primarily with TWC’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding, NCP Choices participants are ordered into the program by the court system and either participate willingly in the program or are subject to consequences determined by the court.
To be eligible for the NCP Choices program, an NCP must:
- have an open child support case
- be unemployed or underemployed
- reside in El Paso County
- be legally able to work in the United States
- have been ordered by a Title IV-D court to participate in the program
The Noncustodial Parent Choices Program Impact
From July 2005 through October 2016, the NCP Choices Program has provided assistance to many El Paso families. Below are some statistics that provide the impact of the program:
- NCP Participants – 1,768
- Cases Ordered – 2,578
- Children Assisted – 3,927
- Child Support Collected – $18,578,698
If you would like more information on the requirements of participating in the NCP Choices Program, please contact Workforce Solutions Borderplex Staff at (915) 887-2600.