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The Building Assets for Fathers and Families Initiative

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ECONorthwest provided technical assistance and policy guidance to federal demonstration sites.

ECONorthwest provided technical assistance and policy guidance to seven demonstration sites nationwide as part of a three-year federally funded initiative to increase collaboration between child support agencies and Assets for Independence (AFI) grantees.

The Challenge

Low-income noncustodial parents often struggle to meet their child support obligations. Many face tough challenges such as under- or unemployment, criminal histories, and lack of education and workplace skills. Under these circumstances, it is nearly impossible to build the kind of assets that can lead to financial security and help low-income noncustodial parents contribute more to their children’s financial well being.

The federal Building Assets for Fathers and Families (BAFF) Initiative encouraged collaboration between child support agencies and AFI grantees at seven demonstration sites around the country, each designed by the local partners to meet local needs. The AFI program helps low-income individuals build financial security through financial education and matched savings accounts for homeownership, education, and small business capitalization. The Initiative aimed to help noncustodial parents gain control of their finances and improve their child support standing by combining AFI services with individualized child support case management.

The Results

ECONorthwest, in partnership with The Lewin Group, provided support to the seven demonstration sites during the three-year project, and informed program and policy discussions at the local, state, and federal level. ECONorthwest contributed to the success of the BAFF project in the following ways:

  • Conducted monthly technical assistance calls with each demonstration site to help solve problems, document progress, and capture lessons learned.
  • Helped the demonstration sites address implementation, recruitment, and program design issues.
  • Visited each demonstration site to encourage collaboration, document program implementation, and facilitate problem solving.
  • Examined the interaction between child support and AFI policies, and made recommendations for aligning these policies to better serve low-income noncustodial parents.

Interested in learning more about how ECONorthwest can help you with your next project? Our toolbox is full and our staff enjoy meeting new challenges.

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