Parents who are behind in child support payments—called "arrears"—may, by federal law, owe a significant portion to the government to reimburse cash assistance that their child's household received from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Because African-American families are much more likely than others to have received TANF cash benefits, black parents who are court-ordered to pay child support are also much more likely to owe child support debt to the government.
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