Increase Child Support Collections and Payment Reliability

TACTICS

Former Assistance Passthrough

Business Problem/Opportunity: The Governor signed Assembly Bill 207 on September 27, 2022 which allows the passing through of collections on these assigned arrears to the family while retaining their assigned nature. There is the need to develop policies, procedures, and training regarding this change.

Current Status: Small green dots increasing in size and forming a circle 70% completed 

Business Outcomes:

  • Families receive current collections otherwise retained as recoupment, with an overall positive impact to their available resources

Critical Success Factors: Families with assigned arrears balances are receiving payments

  • Progress: Former Assistance Passthrough 70% 70%

Automate many tasks associated with enforcement of Smith-Ostler cases, to allow such cases to be opened and enforced in all counties

Business Problem/Opportunity: In child support cases where a person’s income fluctuates or includes periodic bonuses, courts may make an order for additional support, termed “Smith/Ostler” orders after California case law including parties with those names. This additional support is not included in the basic guideline amount, but must be tracked separately. Many local agencies are unable to collect this additional amount because Child Support Enforcement has not been programmed to account for this type of order, and the manual process to track the additional support amount outside of Child Support Enforcement is prohibitive for many local agencies.

Current Status: 38% completed

Business Outcomes:

  • Increased cases
  • Increased collections
  • Increased non-IV-D cases

Critical Success Factors: Increased cases with Smith-Ostler orders

  • Progress: Implement Smith-Ostler Functionality 38% 38%

Advance Flexibility, Efficiency and Modernization Standards (FEM)

Business Problem/Opportunity: By ensuring that child support orders accurately reflect a parent’s ability to pay, these changes can improve the fairness of child support orders, enhance enforcement efficiency, and ultimately secure better outcomes for children in California

Current Status: 35% completed

Business Outcomes:

  • Improve the well-being of children and families
  • Child support orders will be set to accurately reflect a parent’s ability to pay, creating less financial strain, and children will be more likely to receive the support they need
  • Focusing on earning capacity over presumed income will prevent parents from evading their obligations and ensure that orders are more precisely tailored to their financial capabilities

Critical Success Factors: A reduction in presumed order establishments, an increase in compliance rates and increased accuracy

  • Progress: Advance Flexibility, Efficiency and Modernization Standards (FEM) 35% 35%

Visionary Outreach and Inclusion Committee for Equity (VOICE)

Business Problem/Opportunity: A council of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion champions across divisions and Local Child Support Offices to support the implementation of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion roadmap strategies

Current Status: Blue open circle 0% completed

Business Outcomes:

  • The committee will embody diversity that is reflective of the communities we serve across the state to support the cultivation of an empathetic, inclusive, culturally sensitive, and trauma-informed culture that centers equity in policy and practice

Critical Success Factors: The number of council recommendations, meetings held over the fiscal year, and the policies that are reviewed with an equity lens

  • Progress: Advance Flexibility, Efficiency and Modernization Standards (FEM) 35% 35%

2020 - Address New Hire Reporting - COMPLETE

Obtain reliable financial information through the New Hire Reporting process

Business Problem/Opportunity: Third party vendor, Stellarware, was hired to manage New Employee Registry reporting compliance and accuracy, and to obtain employment and location information for parents ordered to pay support, thereby increasing collections to families via Income Withholding Orders.

Current Status:  100% completed

Business Outcomes:

  • Compliance with New Employee Registry reporting requirements and accuracy of data will increase
  • Employment will be reported for more parents ordered to pay support
  • More Income Withholding Orders will be generated and collections to families will increase

Critical Success Factors: Due to statewide budget cuts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, contract with Stellarware ended

2023 - Re-examine the "Compromise of Arrears" debt reduction program - COMPLETE

Increase usability by customers and local child support agencies

Business Problem/Opportunity: Perform system enhancements to the Compromise of Arrears Program to improve business processes. Review Compromise of Arrears Program and consider any needed changes to address uncollectible debt and increase collection.

Current Status:  100% completed

Business Outcomes:

  • Expand program access to more participants
  • Increase collections
  • Decrease uncollectible arrears
  • Improve long-term program efficiencies

Critical Success Factors: Increase overall collections and increase access and usability for customers

2021 - DRA Implementation - COMPLETE

Prioritize current support and family-owed overdue support before government-owed overdue support

Business Problem/Opportunity: Effective May 1, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order that allowed California Child Support Services to distribute current and overdue support collected to families first and amounts owed to the government second, a change permitted under Federal Law. On July 16, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 135 making the change permanent in statute and prioritizing family support over government reimbursement in cases where children had received Temporary Aid to Needy Families.

Current Status:  100% completed

Business Outcomes: 

  • California will distribute all collections, including federal tax refund offsets, within a case to current child support and family-owed overdue support before government-owed overdue support

Critical Success Factors: Increased support to families

2022 - New Hire Reporting Improvement - COMPLETE

Obtain reliable financial information through the New Hire Reporting process

Business Problem/Opportunity: Operations Division to manage New Employee Registry reporting compliance and accuracy, and to obtain employment and location information for parents ordered to pay support, thereby increasing collections to families via Income Withholding Orders.

Current Status:  100% completed

Business Outcomes:

  • Compliance with New Employee Registry reporting requirements and accuracy of data will increase
  • Employment will be reported for more parents ordered to pay support
  • More Income Withholding Orders will be generated and collections to families will increase

Critical Success Factors: Increased compliance rate with new employee hiring requirements and increased Income Withholding Orders generated from new hire registry