The Current Population Survey is used to examine the antipoverty effectiven
ess of child support, social insurance, and welfare among mother-only famil
ies in 1995. Child support brought about 6-7 percent of pretransfer poor mo
ther-only families over the poverty line, an effect similar to that of soci
al insurance and welfare. A brief trend analysis shows that child support's
antipoverty effectiveness has been growing. Some potential reasons why chi
ld support's effect is still so small in the face of substantial changes in
child support policy are hypothesized.