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1115 Grants Awarded in FY 2008

Published: October 1, 2008
Information About:
1115 Grants
Types:
Grants, Promising Practices
Tags:
Competitive Grant

Colorado

Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support Enforcement

"Avoiding and Managing Child Support Arrears in Colorado"

This three-year grant responds to 2008 Priority Area One: Projects in Support of OCSE PAID Initiative (Project to Avoid Increasing Delinquencies). Under this grant, the Colorado Division of Child Support Enforcement (CDCSE) and local child support units in Denver and Larimer Counties will implement the following: automatically modify orders for incarcerated obligors; compromise arrears and promote payment in cases with continuing obligations; and compromise arrears and close cases when State debt is all that is owed and there are no current support obligations.

The Project will be guided by an inter-agency advisory board. The board will include State and local level child support administrators and line workers, the evaluator, a Department of Corrections representative and other relevant stakeholders.

CDCSE will develop and implement a streamlined review and adjustment procedure for incarcerated obligors sentenced to two years or more that will result in rapid establishment of minimum orders of $50 per month unless the parties object. CDCSE units will implement programs to identify cases with proven uncollectible arrears balances owed to the State and continuing obligations and develop payment terms and compromise policies designed to promote payment of current child support. CDCSE units will also implement programs to target cases with arrears-only obligations and will develop procedures to determine and accept lump sum payments and other write-off arrangements aimed at discharging uncollectible debt and closing cases.

Grant Number: 90FD0126
For Information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 09/30/2008-09/29/2011 (Extended to 9/29/2012)


Colorado

Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support Enforcement

"Child Support Enforcement Business Intelligence Project"

(Note: includes findings from Final Report)

This 17-month grant responded to 2008 Priority Area Two: Using Business Intelligence/Data Analysis to Improve Performance. Under this grant, the Colorado Division of Child Support Enforcement (CDCSE) proposed to develop a system caseload analysis capability for State and County CSE workers using business intelligence tools.

The project was designed to ensure functionality that best meets the needs of workers; it also proposed to provide for understanding of caseload dynamics and the information needs of administrators.

The system caseload analysis capability came in the form of a case management dashboard and was specific to the following CSE performance measures: paternity establishment; cases with support orders; percent of current support paid; and percent of arrears cases with a payment. A CSE Business Intelligence Workgroup was to be formed to provide user level input for the structure of the case management dashboard and the caseload analysis capability to be developed for CDCSE.

The evaluation plan involved comparing performance on the performance measures within the two pilot counties, before and after the use of the case management dashboard. In addition to these pilot county evaluations based on performance measures, a comparison spreadsheet will be prepared for all counties, to compare before and after performance numbers beyond the life of this project.

Project Plan

Colorado proposed to initiate system caseload analysis capability for state and county Child Support Enforcement (CSE) workers using business intelligence tools. The capability would come in the form of a case management dashboard and would be specific to the following CSE performance measures: Paternity Establishment Percentage (PEP), Percent of Cases with Support Orders, Percent of Current Support Paid, and Percent of Arrears Cases with a Payment. The expectation was that individual case worker and county caseload performance would improve.

Overview

Prior to this grant, Colorado did not have the capability to provide real-time analysis of caseload data for workers or counties. Although they have historically performed well on the federal performance measures, it was generally believed that the lack of online analytical tools for data analysis hindered the ability of workers and administrators to improve their performance.

Historically, workers have depended on monthly system reports to identity performance problem areas. These reports only provide a point-in-time snapshot of a worker’s caseload, and are typically exception-based reports, containing little analysis. With the exception of requesting ad hoc reports, there was no other ability for CSE units to analyze segments of their caseload.

Important Factors to Consider

•Replacement vs. supplemental tool – clear communication to the caseworkers at onset that the performance dashboard will replace existing case management tools instead of supplement them
•County and worker differences – smaller counties tend to know their cases more intimately and therefore found less benefit than those in larger counties with larger caseloads who would search through reports to manually identify cases needing action
•Training – must be two-fold to instruct workers on the functionality of the dashboard, but it also must teach workers how to use the dashboard to improve caseload performance in order to be successful
Conclusions and Lessons Learned

The statistical findings of this evaluation are not valid for several reasons. The low number of participants used in the demonstration did not allow Colorado to develop assumptions and findings representative of the State as a whole. The short time period of the project (17 months) did not allow Colorado the opportunity to collect enough statistical data to prove the direct effect of the performance dashboard on worker’s performance.

Colorado was unable to isolate the impact of numerous variables that may have had a significant impact on the statistical results of the analyses. Most significant was the economic downturn. For the first time in ten years, Colorado experienced a decrease in collections in 2009.

One of the most important lessons learned, based on feedback received through the surveys and interviews and through discussions with various task groups and stakeholders, is that training is the key to the success of the implementation of a performance dashboard. Not only should training instruct workers on the functionality of the dashboard, but it should also help them develop new ways of thinking about case management and associated techniques.

Other lessons learned/best practices:

•Support for change must come from the top down
•Current information provided through a real-time interface
•Maintain documentation on all decisions
•Continuous two-way communication with stakeholders and future users of the dashboard
•Key information to make a decision as to the next step is needed, more information is not always better on specific dashboard screen
•Ability to create personalized work lists and elimination of need for ad hoc reports
•Prioritize the implementation of key performance indicators (KPI)
•Identify cases that appear on multiple work lists and tag them
•Listen to the pilot users
•Allow functionality to record notes on work lists
•Create matrix of appropriate actions/decision matrix
Grant Number: 90FD0132
For Information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 09/30/2008 - 02/28/2010 (Extended to 8/31/2010)


Florida

Florida Department of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement Program

"Child Support Enforcement and Chipola Healthy Start Collaboration Project"

This three-year grant responds to 2008 Priority Area 4: Child Support Outreach to Faith-Based and Community Organizations. Under this grant, Florida’s Child Support Enforcement Program (CSEP) will employ an Outreach Coordinator to be stationed at the Chipola Healthy Start Offices within the rural counties of Washington, Jackson, Holmes, Calhoun and Liberty. The Outreach Coordinators will be trained on Child Support Enforcement (CSE) policies, procedures, grant goals and strategies.

The Outreach Coordinator will provide CSE education and outreach services to mothers served by Healthy Start to increase their knowledge and utilization of CSE services. The project also contains a community outreach strategy to educate Healthy Start community partners and offer staff trainings to increase knowledge of CSE services and referrals and build trust between CSE and the community.

The final report will include implementation and outcome evaluations. In addition, the evaluator will collect quantitative and qualitative process and outcome data obtained from CSE and Healthy Start case information and pre- and post-test results from community partners and Healthy Start clients who utilized the project services. There will be a contract with a third party who will administer client surveys via phone when necessary, analyze project data and create evaluation reports.

Grant Number: 90FD0128
For Information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 09/30/2008-09/29/2011


Hawaii

Hawaii Child Support Enforcement Agency, Attorney General, Child Support Enforcement

"Decision Support System Data Warehousing"

This 17-month grant responds to 2008 Priority Area Two: Using Business Intelligence/Data Analysis to Improve Performance. Under this grant, Hawaii Child Support Enforcement (CSE) will design and implement a set of queries and reports that will help managers and caseworkers more effectively focus their activities on achieving key outcomes. These queries and reports will be utilized with the Decision Support System Data Warehousing (DSS) that addresses performance issues in CSE.

There are three broad areas of initial analytic interest – collections, case management and case cleanup. Efforts are intended to improve performance on order establishment, current support collections, and arrears collections. The primary goal of the project is to increase the performance totals on the 157 reporting form. In addition, the project will create new tools for caseworkers and educate them in the use of those tools.

The project team will consist of two State staff and two contractors who have been involved in developing, implementing and using data from the new DSS. An operations improvement work group will use line staff to identify what types of queries/reports caseworkers need to guide case activity and improve operations.

The project evaluation will include both a process and an outcome analysis. The process analysis will be designed to achieve the following objectives: document project activities and operations; track progress in achieving the project’s goals and identify obstacles; and assess the merits and limitations of the data queries. The outcome assessment will look at current support collections relative to the amount due and the proportion of arrears cases paying support.

Grant Number: 90FD0133
For Information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 09/30/2008 - 02/28/2010 (Extended to 12/29/2010)


Iowa

Iowa Department of Human Services, Iowa Child Support Recovery Unit

"Income Withholding Order Data Mining Project"

This 17-month grant responds to 2008 Priority Area Two: Using Business Intelligence/Data Analysis to Improve Performance. Under this grant, Iowa Child Support Recovery Unit (CSRU) will improve collections resulting from income withholding orders (IWO). Iowa strategies for increasing IWO collections involve identifying, categorizing and creating interventions for the common barriers experienced by payors of child support.

Iowa is interested in creating profiles of groups of IWO payors who make regular payments, groups of IWO payors who make sporadic payments and groups of IWO payors who do not make payments and identifying the common characteristics for each of these groups.

CSRU objectives are as follows: identify project cases (must have an IWO); gather and analyze case data (categorize cases by payment activity and create payor and related demographic profiles); distinguish barriers to payment (cross-reference the payor profile with the payments); design intervention points (identify cases likely needing more frequent/more intensive review or alternate strategies to ensure consistent payment); and develop strategies to provide assistance or guidance to payors.

CSRU staff will examine and evaluate the success of the project. The staff will analyze a control group of at least 100 cases that had previously been identified as having the same pay profiles and characteristics as the project group. The control group will not be provided any extra intervention or application of additional strategies to improve collections. These cases will be tracked in their assigned categories (regular payment, sporadic payment or non-payment cases) throughout the project for amount and consistency of payments.

Grant Number: 90FD0130
For Information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 09/30/2008-02/28/2010


Minnesota

Minnesota Department of Human Services, Child Support Enforcement Division

"Simplifying and Streamlining Orders"

This three-year grant responds to 2008 Priority Area One: Projects in Support of OCSE PAID Initiative (Project to Avoid Increasing Delinquencies). Under this grant, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) will simplify and streamline the process for the review and modification of child support orders so that adjustments are made expediently, with minimal burden, at a reduced cost, while ensuring due process.

The project will target simplification and streamlining in a two-pronged approach: (1) change policies, forms and procedures in order to expedite the review and modification process and apply technical supports to the pro se process; and (2) improve the process for all parties and target high-impact, low-cost improvements for parents in less complicated circumstances (e.g., prison, public assistance and disability).

The project will build upon the State’s Arrear Management Project and be accomplished through a continued partnership between CSED, parents, county child support enforcement agencies, Minnesota Fathers and Family Network, courts and other agencies. A comprehensive process and impact evaluation will compare expected to actual results. The evaluation will be conducted by the Minnesota Department of Administration. CSED will incorporate project results into Statewide order modification and review processes and widely disseminate results to inform efforts in other States.

Grant Number: 90FD0127
For Information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 09/30/2008-09/29/2011


Tennessee

Tennessee Department of Human Services, Child Support Division

"Tennessee Statewide Clearinghouse of Information and Wrap-Around IV-D Case Management Services for Offenders and Ex-Offenders" (Clear-Wrap)

This three-year grant responds to 2008 Priority Area One: Projects in Support of OCSE PAID Initiative (Projects to Avoid Increasing Delinquencies). Under this grant, Tennessee’s Child Support Division (CSD) will provide wrap-around IV-D case management services to inmates entering and exiting the Morgan County Regional Correctional Facility (MCRCF) in East Tenness ee and improve information exchange and communication between CSD and the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC).

The project has three key components: front-end child support services to offenders entering the MCRCF; back-end services to ex-offenders leaving the MCRCF; and a Statewide clearinghouse for information exchange between TDOC and CSD. CSD will employ two full-time "TDOC/CSD Liaisons" for Judicial Districts 4, 5, and 6 to work directly with MCRCF staff and offenders on the following: provide Statewide information clearinghouse services; implement a telephonic hearing process in the MCRCF; and develop and deliver training and written materials.

The evaluation will be conducted by the University of Tennessee, College of Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (UTSWORPS). UTSWORPS will act as a third-party independent evaluator while conducting a process and outcome evaluation study assessing both components (MCRCF wrap-around services and Statewide clearinghouse project).

Grant Number: 90FD0129
For Information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 09/30/2008-09/29/2011 (Extended to 9/29/2012)


Washington

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Child Support

"Arrears Stratification in Washington State: Developing Operational Protocols through Longitudinal Analyses in a Data Mining Environment"

This 18-month grant responds to 2008 Priority Area Two: Using Business Intelligence/Data Analysis to Improve Performance. Under this grant, Washington’s Division of Child Support (DCS) will conduct a data analysis that is focused on developing operational protocols for arrears stratification within the data mining environment in Washington State.

The grant objectives are to identify appropriate and effective strategies for debt management and mitigation to be applied in actual casework. By studying the underlying causes of arrears growth and providing debt categories which may be linked to different root causes, the grant will provide caseworkers with methods to tailor approaches and actions. This will improve beneficial outcomes for custodial parents, children, noncustodial parents and DCS. The grant will offer a comprehensive, methodologically sound approach to understanding the dynamics of arrearages. There are significant magnitude and scope to allow findings to generalize to other States.

The evaluation will focus on processes and outcomes of policy development rather than implementation. ECO will conduct an independent peer review of the technical methods underlying the arrears classification scheme. At the heart of the method are probabilistic model and trend analyses that together will help the division classify whether debt is collectible or uncollectible. After DCS has produced its first draft analysis, the evaluation contractor will consider the data available through the DCS warehouse, review the technical methods used, provide a detailed critique on the technical methods and offer actionable recommendations on how to strengthen the analysis. The evaluator will also provide recommendations on how to translate these highly technical findings to division managers, policymakers, prosecutors, members of guidelines committee and child support field staff.

Grant Number: 90FD0131
For Information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 09/30/2008-02/28/2010