Summary and Critique of Two Articles

Summary and Critique of Two Articles

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Summary and Critique of Two Articles

Summary of the Articles

Published in December 2016, the article titled The Child Support Program is a Good Investment follows the story of numbers about the enforcement of the child support program. The Administration for Children and Families under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services takes a closer look at trends in supporting children for children. The second article authored by Melissa Boteach and Rebecca Vallas titled Top 5 Reasons Why TANF is Not a Model for Other Income Assistance Programs probes the need for strengthening safety net programs in the United States, including TANF. Both articles directly discuss the benefits of child support programs particularly the largest income program for supporting children in the United States. Both articles are against weakening vital children programs for underserved families.

In the article titled The Child Support Program is a Good Investment the authors encourages responsible family self-efficiency, child well-being and parenting through offering the necessary assistance in establishing paternity, locating parents, modifying, establishing and enforcing child support obligation and obtaining child support. Enacted in 1975 in accordance to Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act, the child support program functions as a partnership between tribal governments and state and federal governments ((“child support program is a good investment,” 2016). The program is overseen by the Office of the Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and is functional in all 54 territories and states and over 60 tribes. This program facilitates and enforces consistent support payments to ensure children can rely on emotional and financial support required to be successful and healthy. There is considerable need for child support. According to statistics, currently about 37% of children in America do not stay with their adoptive and biological parents accounting for 27.1 million children. Additionally, more than half of children in the United States spend time living away from one biological parent until they turn 18. Additionally, the article notes that today more children are more out of wedlock compared to 20 years ago and hence lacking support orders laid down during dissolution or divorce proceedings. This points to the fact that fewer children get support orders when they become part of the support program. Participating in the child support programs makes the difference between enforcing a support order and not having one. Having a order is usually the determinant whether they get child support income or not. 82% of custodial families that got child support in 2014 had a child support order. Informal child support does not take place, particularly immediately after separation, amounts are comparatively less and disappear with time. In essence, the child support program can help secure support order and collect the support over time. With the child support program being the largest income support program serving children across the United States, the program not only serves children for a long period of time but also in large numbers. Additionally, the article opines that the child support program has a positive impact. Research has repeatedly pointed out that families that are part of the child support program yield better outcomes in all steps of the support process. Compared to families that are not part of the program, families that participate have better outcomes in paternity establishment, setting support orders and collecting support.

In the second article the two authors, Vallas and Boteach, delve into five reasons why Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is not considered a model for income assistance programs. They mention that over half of Americans are likely to encounter at least a year of poverty at one point of their working years. This reality makes it important to strengthen the country’s safety net, including TANF as now more than ever it is important to help families get through the downs and ups of life and get back to their feel when they fall. The TANF block grant that came as a replacement for the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1996 initially started successfully during the thriving full employment economy in the late 1990s (Vallas & Boteach,  2015). The shortcomings of the program ignored became apparent as soon as the economy slowed down. The articles highlight five top reasons why the TANF program as it exists today does not function as a model for other programs. The reasons include TANF being helpful to few families that have children and are struggling, being unresponsive to recessions and lack of accountability for results. Other reasons have to do with the TANF program effectively serving two-parent households and because it does a poor job of eliminating poverty.

Critique of the Articles

Both articles present ideas about the importance of having child programs in the United States as they go a long way in supporting child and family development. The developers of both articles do a good job of laying bare the facts about the TANF program and why it should not be considered a replacement for other programs. From my standpoint, while child support programs come off as controversial, they are important as their benefits stand out. From helping in locating parents, establishing paternity, and helping with establishment of support obligations, child support programs play a bigger role than we think. These child support programs are necessary in facilitating monetary and emotional support needed by children to stay healthy and have a successful life.

In the article developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services titled The Child Support Program is a Good Investment, evidently, the thinking in the reading is reasonable. The thinking is reasonable as the main message is derived from a close analysis of data and trends in the child support program. The information is reliable as it incorporates various statistics from reliable sources. By taking a deep interest and understanding of the numbers, is helpful in informing the child support policy and strengthening its desired outcomes. In essence the main strength in this article is the constant reference to data and statistics. Additionally, there is no notable weakness in the said article as the information is well packaged, reliable and put together. In my viewpoint, while the child support program is fairing on well, there is constant need for continuous research to inform practice and policy to constantly improve the well-being and performance of children.

In the second article, the authors Boteach and Valla do an exemplary job of explaining why the TANF program should not be used as a model for other programs. They cover the topic comprehensively, leaving no stone unturned. The main strength of the article is that it makes reference to viable examples in its explanations. For instance, the authors give an example of the congressional budgets for the 2016 fiscal year for the House and Senate to demonstrate exactly why TANF should not be used as a model for other programs. Additionally, the article references statistics and mentions experts in the field, including policymakers who inspire confidence in the text’s reliability. From my standpoint, the article does not have notable flows as in terms of content, it comprehensively discusses the TAN program as it exists today. There is a need to continuously invest in safety net programs such as TANF to caution Americans from experiencing poverty at some point in their working years.


The child support program is a good investment. (2016). Retrieved from, R., & Boteach, M. (2015). Top 5 reasons why TANF is not a model for other income assistance programs. Retrieved from

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