The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support, Inc. (ACES), a grassroots nonprofit organization, is the largest child support advocacy agency in the United States. ACES has grown from ten single parents in 1984, to 390 chapters in 48 states, with over 40,000 members. All are united in the ACES mission: to assist disadvantaged children affected by parents who fail to meet legal and moral support and/or visitation obligations. ACES began a movement which empowers parents and gives them the determination to fight for what is owed to their children.
U.S. ACES was the catalyst for enactment of child support laws in the Family Support Act of 1988 and the Child Support Recovery Act which makes it a federal crime in interstate cases not to pay child support for one year. ACES developed time frames for government child support agencies. It has also developed "how to" instructions to enforce child support, visitation rights and paternity establishment. The organization has helped many low-income parents who have sought assistance to establish local chapters. ACES members, 85% low-income families, go on to empower more families on how to collect child support.
ACES leaders see beyond their own child support cases and help others empower themselves. An ACES poll showed that the outreach programs reduce poverty by 50% among single parent households. Seventy-seven percent of ACES members received child support within six months of becoming involved in self-help programs. Eighty-eight percent of those previously dependent on welfare became self-sufficient when child support payments were joined with earned incomes. ACES has helped over 500,000 families collect approximately $2.25 billion since 1984. ACES also created a 24-hour hotline for parents who need advice.
ACES has changed the way that child support agencies work by advocating for collecting support via payroll deduction at the time of divorce or establishment of paternity. ACES is working to pass a law making child support collectable through the same system as Social Security taxes. ACES is unique because it provides families a voice in the development of public policy and supplies assistance to parents.