Phase 1 Report of Feasibility Study on New Hire Programs for Canada: New Hire Programs in the United States


Officials in both Canada and the United States realize that people subject to child support orders can avoid payments by changing jobs or by moving from place to place. New hire programs help officials enforce child support orders by requiring employers to report newly hired employees.

These programs, also called “employer reporting,” started in the United States in the late 1980s. By 1994, about 15 states had implemented them and by 1996, 26 had done so. In 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) required all states to develop new hire programs and established the National Directory of New Hires.

This research describes the main policy, administrative and operational features of new hire programs in the United States, which will help child support policy-makers determine whether such programs are feasible in Canada. A secondary objective is to describe existing programs in three Commonwealth countries, as well as any plans for such programs in countries that do not yet have them.

This report is organized as follows:

  • Chapter II describes the sources of this report's information.
  • Chapter III provides an overview of how child support agencies and support enforcement function in the United States, especially in light of welfare reform.
  • Chapter IV explains how various states developed new hire programs, particularly programs established before the federal legislation came into force.
  • Chapter V describes the changes created by the PRWORA, including the requirements for state new hire directories and the National Directory of New Hires.
  • Chapter VI briefly describes the experience of other Commonwealth countries in terms of employer reporting.
  • Chapter VII summarizes the main findings.
  • In Appendix A, we have provided a glossary of terms.
  • Appendix B contains the names of persons contacted for this research.
  • Appendix C contains a bibliography of materials from federal and state sources in the United States.

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