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1115 Grants Awarded in FY 2007

Published: October 1, 2007
Information About:
1115 Grants
Types:
Grants, Promising Practices
Tags:
Competitive Grant

New Jersey

New Jersey Office of Child Support Enforcement

"A Demonstration Project to Implement a Comprehensive Approach to Establishing and Enforcing Medical Support Orders"

This three-year grant responds to 2007 Priority Area One: Increased Efficiencies in Child Support Enforcement through Reengineering Business Practices and Increasing Levels of Automation. Under this grant, New Jersey will develop procedures to ensure that an increased number of children in the IV-D caseload have a medical support coverage option available to them. Currently, only 26% of children in the State's IV-D caseload are covered by medical support.

This goal will be accomplished through a partnership between the Office of Child Support Services, the New Jersey Judiciary, and the Division of Medical and Health Services (Medicaid). Overall, this demonstration will encompass a three-step process:

1.Case Reviews: Utilizing a decision matrix, a medical support facilitator (MSF) will perform case reviews to ascertain available coverage and determine the most appropriate coverage on a case-by-case basis;
2.Court Orders: Developing and implementing court procedures that allow for ordering cash medical support in appropriate cases; and
3.Private Group Insurer as an Option: Developing a contractual relationship with a private group insurer to cover children in cases where the parents are unable to provide private coverage and are ineligible for SCHIP or Medicaid.

New Jersey will establish a minimum of three demonstration project sites. The project will include a process and impact evaluation the results of which will influence statewide implementation.

Grant Number: 90FD0122
For information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period:09/01/2007 - 08/31/2010 (Extended to 4/30/2011)


Maryland

Maryland Department of Human Resources, Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA)

"Erasing Borders"

This three-year grant responds to 2007 Priority Area One: Increased Efficiencies in Child Support Enforcement through Reengineering Business Practices and Increasing Levels of Automation." In conjunction with the District of Columbia (DC) Child Support Services Division, the goal of Maryland's "Erasing Boarders" project is to expedite the registration and enforcement functions necessary for successful management of inter-jurisdictional child support cases.

To accomplish this goal, the project will establish procedures for managing the interstate caseload through the use of automation and the co-location of designated child support staff in Prince Georges County, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. The project will provide an integrated, focused, methodical, and measurable approach to the problem of managing interstate child support cases.

"Erasing Boarders" will also test the effectiveness of an interstate team to develop and implement strategies to re-engineer how critical documentation in inter-jurisdictional cases is shared. This team will consist of the Prince Georges (PG) County Office of Child Support Enforcement, PG County Office of the Sheriff, and PG County Department of Social Services in addition to the DC Child Support Services Division, DC Law Enforcement, and DC Department of Human Services.

Grant Number: 90FD0121
For information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period:09/01/2007 - 08/31/2010 (Extended to 8/31/2012)


District of Columbia

District of Columbia Child Support Services Division

"Pass-Thru Evaluation and Data Clean Up in the District of Columbia"

This three-year grant responds to 2007 Priority Area Two: Improving Scores in Child Support Performance. The purpose of the project is two-fold: 1) to evaluate the effectiveness of the District of Columbia's (DC) recently reinstated and expanded pass-thru and disregard policy; and 2) to clean up data in DC's automated child support computer system.

Since the enactment of the Deficit Reduction Act in 2005, DC was the first jurisdiction to increase its pass-thru and disregard above $50/month. Beginning in April, 2006, this pass-thru amount was increased to $150/month in current support to TANF families and disregarded when determining TANF benefits. The underlying purpose for enacting these policies was to help TANF families and to encourage noncustodial parents with children on TANF to pay more child support while encouraging custodial parents to cooperate more fully with the child support program.

The project's evaluation will concentrate on assessing the extent to which DC's pass-thru and disregard policy increased child support collections. A secondary goal will be to see whether these policies contributed to an increase in the establishment of paternity and child support orders.

The data clean-up effort will focus on older cases that were adversely affected (e.g., missing key information) prior to and during the time DC converted to its current automated system nine years ago.

Grant Number: 90FD0120
For information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 09/01/2007 - 08/31/2010


Louisiana

Louisiana Support Enforcement Services

"Performance Improvement Project"

This three-year grant responds to 2007 Priority Area Two: Improving Scores in Child Support Performance. The purpose of the project is improve performance in current child support collections through a partnership with the courts and the employment of early intervention techniques and enhanced technology. This demonstration will also build upon the analyses emanating from a State-supported program evaluation (2005-2006) and the recommendations proposed by an internal workgroup tasked with developing options for improving child support collections.

The end goal of this demonstration is three-fold: 1) to improve the State's performance in the collection of current child support; 2) to build better working relationships with noncustodial parents; and 3) to establish a more effective working relationship with the courts. The evaluation will include both a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the interventions.

Grant Number: 90FD0125
For information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 09/01/2007 - 08/31/2010 (Extended to 2/28/2011)


Texas

Texas Office of the Attorney General, Child Support Division

"Niños Sanos (Healthy Children) Pilot"

This three-year grant responds to 2007 Priority Area 3: Improved Child Support Results through Collaboration on Shared Caseloads with Other Agencies. To ensure that increased numbers of children in the child support caseload have access to health care coverage, a partnership has been developed which includes the Texas Child Support Agency, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), and the Texas Medicaid/CHIP agency, and the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

This demonstration will build upon and strengthen efforts undertaken by the OAG and HHSC to advance medical support/Medicaid collaboration through improved processes and automation. The key components of this demonstration include:

1.Joint Staff: The staff will demonstrate what can be achieved through a cross-agency collaboration that breaks down interagency barriers and fully implements new Federal and State medical support rules;
2.Identification of Alternative Health Insurance: OAG will partner with the Texas Department of Insurance to identify other forms of health care coverage, including stand-alone child health plans, pre-paid insurance plans and health care accounts; and
3.Establishment of a Statewide Process for Introducing New Medical Support Processes: The joint staff will test and evaluate the efficacy of the new processes and then aid OAG in training field staff for expansion throughout Texas in later years.

The evaluation will include a process analysis of the first year's efforts to glean promising practices, recommend policy training, data sharing, and process changes for implementation years 2 and 3 of the grant. The final evaluation will examine the impact of the proposed project on medical support and State medical cost outcome measures.

Grant Number: 90FD0124
For information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 09/01/2007 - 08/31/2010 (Extended to 8/31/2011)


Washington

Washington Division of Child Support (DCS)

"Strengthening Washington State's e-Referral Process"

This three-year grant responded to 2007 Priority Area 3: Improved Child Support Results through Collaboration on Shared Caseloads with Other Agencies.

Washington's demonstration aimed to build upon previous efforts to change the method of referring new TANF and Medicaid cases to the Division of Child Support (DCS) from a paper to an electronic process.

Because the transfer of complete case file information on noncustodial parents was a challenge, Washington DCS planned to revamp and invigorate the e-referral process in two stages:

1.Expansion of data sharing with vital records and full automation of the data exchange. Before the grant, DCS staff obtained birth and voluntary paternity affidavit data from the Department of Health's (DOH), Office of Vital Records by manual, individual case look-up. DCS wanted to automate its data exchange with DOH, eliminating the need for cumbersome case-by-case record checks; and
2.Statewide training of TANF/Medicaid and DCS staff on the process of referring new cases. The State intended to develop a joint TANF/Medicaid/DCS training curriculum to improve the quality and collection of information on noncustodial parents.
The first planned component of the demonstration grant was automating the exchange of vital records. It was anticipated that more accurate and complete e-referrals would expedite the establishment and enforcement of child support for new TANF and Medicaid cases.

Key Project Findings (from the evaluation final report):

DOH currently shares birth, death, marriage, and divorce records with DCS. DCS contracted with DOH to automate the sharing and systemic matching of these records to eliminate the need for cumbersome case-by-case record checks. However, according to the evaluation study,".because of a divergence of understanding about project goals and the requirements for successful implementation, this part of the project was not completed." Apparently, both agencies reported interest in continued work on creating an automatic match of DOH and SEMS data. For DOH, the e-referral project was seen more or less as a proof of concept for techniques to allow greater sharing of vital records data with other government agencies. DOH plans to continue down this path. DCS still sees value in having the automatic data match, but DCS's Support Enforcement Management System (SEMS) staff believe that they will probably need to use different methods to implement a match. Neither agency thought that completing the work planned under the e-referral grant would take very long, but the mutual misunderstandings about project goals and agency priorities made completion as described in the DCS/DOH contract unlikely. SEMS staff noted that an effort at the federal level to encourage this type of data sharing would help to foster greater cooperation and data sharing between state child support and vital records agencies.

The second part of the grant was for statewide training of TANF/Medicaid and DCS staff on the process of referring new cases. In 2004, a DCS/TANF workgroup had identified staff training on e-referrals as a critical need throughout the state. The group found that DCS and TANF/Medicaid workers had different interpretations of the data fields on the non-custodial parent (NCP) screen in the Community Services Division (CSD) computer system, and that no systematic training was available. Through the demonstration project, DCS documented the existing e-referral processes, identified strengths and weakness across the state, and built a joint TANF/Medicaid/DCS training curriculum with the goal of sharply improving the quality of information transferred by TANF/Medical staff.

DCS managers thought that more accurate and complete e-referrals would expedite the enforcement of child support for new TANF and Medicaid cases. They assumed that better information at the beginning of the process would save a considerable amount of DCS staff time and would address at least three OCSE goals:

  • Improve paternity establishment rates
  • Expedite establishment of support orders
  • Strengthen the efficiency and responsiveness of DCS operations

The staff training, though significantly delayed, was completed by mid-2010. In addition to the delays, two external factors affected project implementation: (1) the recent recession and resulting increase in CSD caseloads, and (2) beginning in late 2009, e-referral processing was centralized, thereby dramatically changing the processes the evaluation set out to examine. These factors may have independently affected child support outcomes and certainly complicated the evaluation of the e-referral training module.

The evaluators originally planned to track eight child support outcome measures but several of those were only measurable with a lag, so a full analysis of post-training outcomes was not possible given the delayed implementation schedule. Evaluators did find a statistically significant increase in the share of e-referrals with an NCP name or Social Security number after the training. In theory, this increase in data quality should translate into improved child support outcomes.

Evaluators also surveyed training participants. Their survey revealed that nearly all trainees felt that they learned about how and why DCS field offices need accurate NCP information. Most trainees expressed appreciation for the training and indicated that they would be able to use what they learned to collect and record higher quality NCP information.

The process of collaborating and discussing project goals opened important channels of communication between DCS and CSD. Both DCS and CSD staff reported that specific upgrades to the automated system would improve the flow of information between the agencies in the future as they continue to work toward greater data sharing.

Grant Number: 90FD0123
For information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 09/01/2007 - 08/31/2010