Reducing Child Support Default Orders in Coloradoclick to download
The project, Reducing Default Orders in Child Support Cases in Colorado, tested several strategies by which child support agencies might promote the participation of noncustodial parents (NCPs) in proceedings to establish child support orders and reduce the use of default orders. Conducted in two Colorado counties — Denver and Jefferson — the project involved the use of a variety of automated and worker-initiated techniques to promote contact, stimulate parental involvement, and increase payment. The techniques used included personal telephone calls, financial incentives to those who appeared at order-making proceedings, face-to-face meetings; and automated reminder calls. Denver County also tried to get parents to contact the agency by having process servers attempt to distribute a brief survey of interests and needs and a brochure about child support along with the papers they normally deliver to noncustodial parents.
The goal of the evaluation was to test the pros and cons of using more and less time-consuming actions to attempt to achieve contact with noncustodial parents and reduce default orders. It involved the generation of three equivalent groups of child support cases in the target counties during January 2005 to June 2006 that were eligible for administrative order establishment and did not have a current order. Workers kept track of the efforts they made to contact 433 clients. Automated records were kept of 256 electronic notification calls. A control group was generated
consisting of 526 cases treated in the normal manner in 2003, a year that preceded the informal use of proactive outreach efforts by some workers in Colorado.
In addition to the above-noted records, the data generated for the project included brief exit questionnaires from 233 noncustodial parents and 158 custodial parents at the close of the negotiation conference, telephone interviews with 105 noncustodial parents three months after their case was assigned to a worker to establish a child support order, brief assessments of child support information and services needed by 56 noncustodial parents who completed a checklist distributed by process servers, and a review of child support records for all cases in every group: 433 with worker-initiated contact efforts, 256 with electronic notification calls, 526 in the control group, and 85 and 75 subject to heightened and normal interventions by process servers, respectively.
Issue(s): Child Support
Focus Area(s): Core Program Services, Program Innovations
Author(s): Jessica Pearson, Lanae Davis, Nancy Thoennes
Issues & Focus Areas
- Child Support
- Child Welfare
- Early Childhood & Education
- Economic Security & Healthcare
- Father Engagement & Healthy Relationships
- Gender-Based Violence