PFS was designed to increase child support payments, to support improved parenting and involvement, and to increase the employment and earnings of unemployed noncustodial parents of children receiving welfare.
PFS was one of the demonstration projects made possible by Section 1115 waivers to the rules in effect at the time for the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. These Section 1115 waivers allowed states to test new approaches to advance the objectives of the AFDC program.
The PFS demonstration had the following four core components that were intended to reinforce one another: (1) peer support that was built around a curriculum called Responsible Fatherhood that was designed to inform fathers of their noncustodial rights and obligations; (2) employment and training activities, including job search assistance and opportunities for education and skills training, occupational training, on-the-job training, and paid work experiences; (3) enhanced child support enforcement, which included steps to expedite the modification of child support awards or flexible rules to allow child support orders to be reduced during PFS participation; and (4) mediation services for parents to resolve their differences. Case management services were also available.
Most sites in the demonstration, which included a combination of state and local agencies and/or community-based organizations, offered peer support concurrently with the other program components.
Most participants were noncustodial fathers who had to satisfy the following criteria: (1) be under- or unemployed, (2) have child support orders in place but not currently be making regular payments, and (3) have children for whom they owed support and who were receiving or had received AFDC.
The demonstration took place in seven urban sites across the United States: Springfield, MA; Trenton, NJ; Los Angeles, CA; Dayton, OH; Grand Rapids, MI; Jacksonville, FL; and Memphis, TN.