Panel Paper: Retooling Michigan's Child Support Program

Saturday, November 9, 2013 : 2:05 PM
DuPont Ballroom G (Washington Marriott)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Laura Lein1, Sue Ann Savas1, Jeremy Gaertner1, Jan Merkle2, Laura Sundstrom1 and Erin Frisch2, (1)University of Michigan, (2)State of Michigan Department of Human Services
The Retooling Michigan’s Child Support Enforcement Project was funded by the federal Office of Child Support. Michigan’s Department of Human Services’ Office of Child Support (OCS) and the University Of Michigan School Of Social Work have partnered to improve child support enforcement practices and strengthen families. 

The 3-year project outcomes expected from the grant-supported activities include, but are not limited to, (1) Improved research on current data to support evidence-driven selection of approaches to child support collection, (2) Sophisticated development of “tool kit” of current strategies and new piloted strategies including case stratification and predictive modeling, and (3) Dissemination of both research and successful pilot strategies to enable greater success in child support collection.  These activities are expected to increase child support collections, increase collections of arrears, and ultimately improve the financial well-being of children self-sufficiency families.

Currently in year 2 of the grant, the Michigan Department of Human Services’ Office of Child Support (OCS) and the University Of Michigan School Of Social Work (U-M SSW) have developed two pilot projects. The first, CAROTS (Compromise Arrears in Return for On-Time Support), is designed to provide support to non-custodial parents (NCPs) who are not paying consistently. In return for timely complete payments (current support and arrears payments), the NCPs will have a percentage of their arrears forgiven.

The second pilot program is the Predictive Modeling Pilot.  Through the collection and analysis of NCP characteristics, case details, and payment history, payment predictors will be identified. The predictors will be used to determine and indicate the NCP’s likelihood to meet the obligation. This information will be provided to the child support enforcement workers to inform their selection of enforcement strategies. In addition, NCP are being asked to complete a mental health and substance abuse screening survey to determine prevalence. These results will be used to recommend new approaches.