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Pilot Projects under the Government Performance and Results Act

DCL-95-58

Published: September 13, 1995
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Case Management
Types:
Policy, Dear Colleague Letters (DCL), Promising Practices
Tags:
Toolkit & Training

Dear Colleague:

Re:  Pilot Projects Under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA)

As the first year of our program's participation as a pilot project under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 draws to a close, I am pleased to report that our federal/state partnership is thriving, and we have every reason to be optimistic about our future. 

Last February, national and state CSE leaders and stakeholders reached consensus on a five-year National Strategic Plan for the Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Program, and we are now in the final stages of setting performance measures for the plan's goals and objectives. These GPRA-driven activities are being undertaken in federal central and regional offices and in state and local IV-D offices across the country.

Recognizing the importance for federal, state and local IV-D programs to work in tandem and in a real hands-on manner, last year I invited state IV-D agencies to voluntarily start 'practicing' the GPRA principles. The response was enthusiastic, and today we have about 30 state GPRA demonstrations working in virtually all functions of the CSE program, locally, statewide, and regionally. Today, many of these demonstrations are well on their way to doing child support business differently: setting clear objectives and establishing performance indicators for those objectives; collecting the data they need to measure their results; and, overall, improving customer service.

For the second year of our GPRA pilot, beginning in October, I am inviting states again to apply to become GPRA demonstrations. This time, I would suggest that projects focus on specific CSE issues that figure in the child support provisions of approaching Congressional welfare reform. I would particularly like to encourage demonstrations in voluntary paternity establishment (in-hospital and in-community), demonstrations that deal with CSE problems in big cities, determination of noncooperation, central state registries, and state CSE self-evaluation projects. Attached are guidelines for your GPRA applications and brief descriptions of the existing projects.

We will all be challenged by the upcoming national reforms to the nation's Child Support Enforcement program, and these demonstration partnerships will, I am sure, help light our way. I am committed to taking large strides in our CSE program, and to putting it on a solid footing so that we can start achieving the results we all want -- increases in the number of paternities established, and the number of dollars collected, improved program management, and greater public satisfaction with our services.

With your help and commitment, I know we can attain these goals. If you have questions about the OCSE/GPRA pilot project, please direct them to Anne F. Donovan, OCSE's GPRA Task Force Director, (202) 401-9360. For assistance with your application letter, please get in touch with your OCSE Regional Program manager. We would like to have your application by  October 31, 1995.

Sincerely,

/s/

David Gray Ross           

Deputy Director Office of Child Support Enforcement

 

Enclosures

cc:  ACF Regional Administrators,

Regions I-X Assistant Regional Administrators       

OCSE Program Managers

 

Application Guidelines for Prospective State Demonstrations under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 Child Support Enforcement Program Pilot Project

(Excerpted from 'Dear Colleague Letter' DC-94-34, dated May 20, 1994.)

 

GPRA PILOT PROJECT APPLICATIONS

The OCSE pilot is a two-year project (FY95 and 96) that begins October 1, 1994 and ends September 30, 1996.  Because of the program's Federal/State partnership, a number of pilot sites will be selected at the State, Regional and/or local level to test agencies' ability to meet identified performance goals.  In order to create a realistic environment for the pilot project, our goal would be to identify sites that represent a cross-section of State and court administered programs, administrative and court- based programs, and statewide versus local programs.  Experience gained through the pilot project sites will prepare us for government-wide implementation of GPRA beginning in FY1998.

Selected pilot sites will be on the cutting edge of new program directions and their efforts should lead to improved program performance.  The attention and publicity pilots receive may create higher esteem and more motivation for staff performance, and greater customer satisfaction.  While there is no additional funding currently earmarked for implementation of GPRA or the pilot project, States and localities which participate may benefit from increased Federal presence, locate assistance, management reviews or training. 

Requests to be considered as a GPRA pilot project site should be submitted by letter to OCSE Deputy Director, David Gray Ross. The letter should address the following criteria:

  1. Whether the pilot site is an entire State IV-D program, a local program or site, or a group of States applying as a regional project.  If the applicant is a local jurisdiction rather than the State, the State must agree to its participation in the project and support it. 
  2. The particulars of any proposed initiatives or ideas to be tested and related performance measures, including whether the site proposes to focus on one, several or all aspects of program performance.  For example, a measure assessing service of process where that's a particular functional area that would be addressed during the pilot.  Detailed proposals are not mandated since configuration of the pilot site activities will be negotiated during development of the performance plan. 
  3. Certification that there is commitment, at the appropriate State official level, to provide organizational support and resources for the two-year project.
  4. Agreement and demonstrated ability to provide accurate and reliable data to monitor and evaluate pilot performance goals.  The system used to provide this information can be a combination of automated and manual as long as it produces accurate and reliable data.  (A certified statewide system is not a prerequisite.)  A history of providing reliable data will also be considered.
  5. Willingness to provide information as needed during the project to allow for monitoring of the project, and to allow dissemination of this information for pilot project purposes. 

 

OFFICE OF CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT

GOVERNMENT PERFORMANCE AND RESULTS ACT (GPRA)

State Child Support Demonstration Projects

Arizona -- Automation to Improve Locate Function

Arizona is piloting the social security number identification system [Enumeration Verification System (EVS)]. It is a variant of the other pilots in that data will be sent to OCSE in FPLS format and will be returned in EVS format. After the first of the year, the State proposes to obtain a mini-computer to do multidimensional analyses of operational statistics.  This will allow the State to perform on-going analyses leading to continual State improvements. The SSN identification system is expected to increase the number of parents located, thus to result in increased paternity and order establishments and increased collections. Through the implementation of an on-going system of operational and management improvements, the State should realize gains in all areas of program operations and performance measurement.

 

Arkansas -- Employment for Noncustodial Parents

Arkansas is using employment counseling as an alternative to incarceration for young, unemployed noncustodial parents unable to pay child support because of their inability to get or maintain a job.   The goal of this project is to increase child support collections and the involvement of young noncustodial parents with their families. Intermediate goals are to improve parents' skills and/or education, help them secure employment, and increase income so that noncustodial parents will be able to support their children.

 

California -- State Investment Fund The concept to be tested is whether making state seed money available to local child support operations will assist in increasing child support collections quickly enough to allow the local operation to pay the State back in a single budget cycle. Local operations can 'invest' the state investment fund money in any project meeting established criteria so long as the project improves the support enforcement program.     Child support collections in local child support offices participating in the investment fund program are expected to increase enough to reimburse the state fund within a budget cycle.  While for state purposes, the primary performance measure is net General Fund revenue increase, other critical performance measures include overall collection increases, increased orders established and modified, and increased paternities and locations.

 

Sacramento County -- Medical Insurance Availability Sacramento is arranging with qualified health insurance carriers to provide low-cost medical insurance for children where the obligor is self employed or has no or high-cost medical insurance through his/her employer.  The County will contract with any number of health insurance plans that can meet pre-established participation criteria.  The project provides for guaranteed acceptance of children referred by the district attorney, coverage of preexisting medical conditions, benefits comparable to existing group health insurance plans, and a predetermined premium.  To help ensure continuity of coverage, the plan also allows the custodial parent to pay premiums whenever an absent parent defaults. The objective of this project is to increase significantly the number of children who actually have medical insurance policies in place, rather than merely an order for insurance provided.  It is also expected to increase savings to the state and federal governments by reducing Medicaid costs through third party payment of medical services to dependent children.

 

Colorado -- Measuring Overall Program Performance

Colorado intends to improve and measure all aspects of program performance with particular emphasis on testing performance indicators in the CSE national strategic plan. The project's goal is to test the process, using national performance measures, for measuring program objectives, producing data and reporting on program performance.

 

Delaware -- Integrated AFDC Unit

Delaware is developing a self-contained, integrated unit collocated with AFDC (probably at the Northeast State Service Center in Wilmington) utilizing high-level, well-trained professional staff versed in all aspects of functions necessary to establish child support orders in AFDC cases. The unit will utilize innovative approaches, automation, technology, and state- of-the-art remedies to expedite establishment of AFDC orders. Delaware is in the process of changing from a court-based to an administrative paternity establishment process.  For AFDC cases, the project expects to increase paternity and support orders established; increase collections; improve the cost-effectiveness ratio; and improve time-frame compliance.

 

 

District of Columbia -- Paternity Establishment

To improve the timeliness of paternity establishment, the District of Columbia is (1) mounting a comprehensive information dissemination campaign to public and private health care providers involved in prenatal care; (2) involving the IV-A agency in the dissemination of paternity affidavits at first- contact with the agency; (3) involving non-traditional perinatal health-care providers in paternity establishment and information dissemination; (4) providing a multi-media community outreach program; and (5) developing uniform, written materials for dissemination to staff involved in institutional facilities where those most susceptible to out-of-wedlock births can be found. The goal is to decrease the number of out-of-wedlock births and increase the number of paternity establishments through outreach to professionals involved in pre-, peri-, and post-natal care, and improve IV-A/IV-D cooperation.  The latter will be measured through increases in both paternity acknowledgements and petitions for support. The District of Columbia is forming a cooperative alliance between the CSE agency and governmental and private sector organizations to increase and expedite voluntary paternity establishment. 

 

Idaho -- Measuring Overall Program Performance

Idaho is focusing on and measuring all aspects of CSE program performance. Using a customer service questionnaire to collect baseline data, management improvements will address weak areas noted in the survey analysis, and a follow-up survey will determine effectiveness of the improvements. The goal is improved program performance measures through increased emphasis on customer service and improved program management.

 

Illinois -- Employment Counseling/'One-Stop Shopping'

Illinois has established a 'one-stop shopping' customer service center in Chicago that will create a more user-friendly child support enforcement system with clearly defined outcomes. The proposed innovations include streamlining the interviewing and paperwork processes, establishing cooperative agreements between governmental and community based entities, providing enhanced services for custodial parents, and addressing employment needs of noncustodial parents. The goal is to increase child support payments and provide the opportunity for unemployed/underemployed noncustodial parents to find work so they will be able to increase their ability to pay support. Objectives are to improve program compliance by custodial and noncustodial parents; establish voluntary paternities resulting from program interaction; establish support orders resulting from program interaction; and to compare support payments by noncustodial parents who receive services payments by those who receive no services.

 

Iowa -- Review and Adjustment [See Regional GPRA Demonstrations, Region VII]

Iowa will monitor and evaluate the cost effectiveness of using a centralized operation, REVAD, to review and adjust the amounts of child  support orders. The model office will be located in the College of Family and Communication Services, Iowa State University.  Iowa public assistance clients will be hired and Promise JOBS participants will be trained to work as cse workers. Linkages will be established between human services\ welfare reform components. Unemployed welfare recipients will gain the skills that they need to find unsubsidized employment and become self-sufficient. The REVAD model office is expected to increase child support collections and self sufficiency by handling REVAD cases more efficiently and reducing the backlog; increasing client cooperation and customer satisfaction; and providing more time for workers in other offices to concentrate on establishment and enforcement issues.

 

Kansas -- Medical Support [See Regional GPRA Demonstrations, Region VII]

Kansas is implementing an overall effort to improve the collection of third party medical support through a variety of activities such as: emphasizing medical support in outreach efforts; training IV-D staff in the legal and business principles of health insurance; and establishing better partnerships between the public sector and private industry.  Medical support efforts will also be integrated into other initiatives targeted toward teen parents. Kansas expects to improve the delivery of medical support services by fostering cooperation and effective working relationships between recipients and providers.  

 

Massachusetts-- Results-Oriented Objectives in Implementing a Certified Automated System

In conjunction with the development of Massachusetts' statewide, automated system, the State has undertaken a re-engineering project to redesign the business practices which will be supported by the new system.  The redesigned practices include not only implementation of the system, but 'best practices' of local offices, other states and businesses. The Wakefield Regional Office, the location of the statewide Customer Service Center, will be a primary evaluation site. The project will demonstrate the use of enforcement teams for use with cases that cannot be handled by the automated system, i.e., self-employed, underground economy, out-of-State.  The evaluation of the project will use pre- and post-measures to determine the effectiveness of the re-engineering. Through implementation of both the automated system and the redesigned business practices, the State plans to increase child support collections by effective and efficient performance of all child support functions.  Effectiveness will be measured through outputs, including quality and quantity measures.  Customer service functions will be measured through call volumes/disposals and surveys of customers pre- and post implementation. 

Michigan -- Reconfiguring Cooperative Agreements/Program       Contracts

To improve incentives for cost-beneficial performance, Michigan is changing the contracting process with prosecuting attorneys and Friends of the Court to base reimbursement on results rather than activities performed. In the first year, volunteer prosecuting attorneys will have contracts based on performance. Results from this experimental effort will be compared to the performance of the prosecutors who do not volunteer (control sites). In subsequent years, more prosecutors will be required to have contracts based on performance until all 83 counties are under the performance based contracts. The goal is to increase the number of orders and paternities established in a more cost-efficient manner.  Each enforcement and establishment activity will be weighted to the degree of difficulty and performance will be based on the results of these weighted activities.

 

Minnesota (Hennepin County) -- Measuring Program Performance

Hennepin County will measure program performance based on the outcomes paternity establishment, review and adjustment of child support orders, medical support enforcement, private investigative contracts, and employment program for noncustodial parents. The County has recently initiated a five year strategic planning process and has incorporated performance measurement and evaluation as an essential component of the strategic plan. Through a series of demonstration projects, Hennepin County plans to increase the rate of paternity establishment, ensure the appropriateness of orders, improve medical support enforcement and the payment of medical support by third-party liability carriers, improve the locate function, and increase collections.

 

Missouri-- Paternity Establishment Outreach [See Regional GPRA Demonstrations, Region VII]

Missouri is using a community-based approach to increase paternity establishment. By enlisting the assistance of other government agencies, schools, churches, and community organizations the State intends to make inroads into the cultural environment -- making the acceptance of parental responsibilities the 'manly/right' thing to do. The State is also utilizing the Regional Office's Teen Pregnancy/Parent Team to access national data, resources and publications from other States. By 1999/2000, Missouri expects to foster a social environment in which AFDC recipients cooperate with paternity establishment and fathers are willing to admit paternity. Missouri also expects to create a presumption of paternity at the following rates for children born outside of marriage: 75% for children born prior to January 1, 1995, 50% for children born after January 1, 1995 increasing the rate to 90% for children born after January 1, 1999.

 

Nebraska -- Reinventing a Rural, Multi-County Office [See Regional GPRA Demonstrations, Region VII]

Nebraska will attempt to reinvent a rural, multi-county child support office with a small staff through a series of measurable changes and improvements. 

 

New Jersey -- Expansion of Provisions of Child Support Recovery  Act and Paternity Establishment [See Regional GPRA Demonstrations, Region II]

New Jersey is sharing procedures and case selection criteria with other states in Region II in order to increase the number of cases suitable for submission under the 1992 Child Support Recovery Act to the U.S. Attorney's Office.  Also, to improve paternity establishment, the State is developing a birth facility/hospital-based model which permits electronic processing of voluntary paternity acknowledgements, notification of births, parent information and other data essential to assist in establishing paternity. 

 

New York -- Full Collection, Asset Identification [See Regional GPRA Demonstrations, Region II]

New York is measuring the impact of prospective revisions to the current IRS full collections process, and accessing better financial and other asset information to improve collection of arrears. 

 

North Carolina -- Designing Performance Standards

With the implementation of its new, statewide automated computer system, North Carolina plans to re-engineer its performance measures, providing a unique opportunity to measure the impact of automation on productivity and service delivery.  The State is currently divided into 69 county administered offices and 15 State administered offices.  The pilot would be conducted in the 15 state-operated CSE offices. The project's goal is improved and more efficient delivery of services in all CSE functional areas, and increased collections.

 

Ohio -- Measuring Overall Program Performance

Ohio will build on recent program improvements and continue to evaluate their effectiveness by conducting detailed county-by county-analyses of key performance elements; phasing in a quality control assessment project; examining and making additional changes to their incentive structure; and continuing to expand and enhance administrative processes. One-third of Ohio's caseload of approximately 900,000 cases needs paternity established. The goal is to increase the number of paternities established and the amount of child support collected.

 

Oklahoma -- Piloting Withholding Form and SSN Identification

Oklahoma is piloting the draft standardized wage withholding form as well as the system for identifying social security numbers. Expectations are that the use of the standardized wage withholding form will improve relationships with employers and improve the time frame within which wage withholdings are initiated and collections are received. The SSN identification system will result in increased locates, thus increases in paternity and order establishments and collections.

 

Pennsylvania -- Zero Tolerance in Allegheny County

Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) is implementing a program of 'Zero Tolerance' to improve it's child support collection efforts. The initiative is targeted to obligors who are not candidates for wage withholding and fail to make scheduled child support payments. This would include parents who are self-employed, independent contractors, individuals who work in the underground economy, and those who fail to report income but have obvious means of support.  The goal is to increase child support collections and to improve the ability of the court's Family Division to react quickly and decisively when wage withholding is not an option.

Puerto Rico -- Asset Seizure and Paternity Establishment [See Regional GPRA Demonstrations, Region II]

Puerto Rico is using 1099 data for asset seizure; conducting an outreach campaign to reinforce parental responsibility principles; and developing quantitative and qualitative measurement criteria to determine the effectiveness of various activities associated with early paternity establishment. 

South Carolina -- Teen Pregnancy Prevention/Parental             Responsibility

South Carolina is initiating a statewide teenage pregnancy prevention program in middle- and high schools that focuses particularly on the moral and financial obligations of parenthood. The project, which will use volunteers, will be co- sponsored by the State's self-sufficiency program director and CSE program director.  Over a three-year period, the educational program intends to delay parenting by teenagers until they are financially and emotionally ready, and to promote self-sufficiency among young adults.  This will be measured by a reduction in teen-age births and a reduction in the number of child support cases involving teenagers.

 

Vermont --To calculate national 'ideal' child support collection amounts

The state IV-D office, using a variety of national and state data sources, wants to quantify the amount of child support that children in each state should receive. Total ideal collections for each state would be individually developed using each state's guideline calculations and the state's labor/wage data. The objective is to draw profiles--nationally and for each state--of what children should, ideally, receive and what they do receive in support. The profiles will also seek to identify and measure the impact of common reasons behind problematic collections.

 

Virginia -- Welfare/Child Support Interface

Virginia's project is to improve the interface between IV-A and IV-D agencies by building a new communication system [ADAPT] and establish electronic linkages between all State and local service programs. Options to be considered include cross-training of IV- A/IV-D personnel, outstationing of IV-D workers, use of video- conferencing between staffs and between client and agency, and a IV-D 'circuit rider' in the smaller, more rural counties.  These options will be tried in concert with the other administrative improvements developed and implemented under the staffing standards study. The State is also interested in pursuing the development of a combined, on-line application form for AFDC, AFDC-FC, CS, and Medicaid. In this project, the information exchanged between IV-A and IV-D about a custodial parent is expected to be more timely and complete, thus enhancing the efficiency of both agencies.  It is also expected that:  the number of workable AFDC cases will be increased; there will be an increase in the number of AFDC paternities and support orders established; AFDC collections will increase; and customer satisfaction will be improved.

 

Washington --Pro Se Family Law Center

The State has established a Pro Se Family Law Research Center in the Seattle Office of Support Enforcement.  There, clients will use instructions for producing legal documents from programmed computers, intended to help them obtain and modify their own support awards, parental rights and visitation. They will also be given legal resources available at little or no cost. Trained support enforcement personnel will be stationed at the Center. The expectations are that by speeding up the review and adjustment process, and paring a backlog of review and adjustment cases, collections will increase as child support amounts will be more closely tied to current circumstance.  Paternity establishments and collections should increase because parents will be given the opportunity to simultaneously develop a parenting plan, thus building a stronger bond between emotional and financial support.

 

Wyoming -- Program Office Restructuring

Wyoming plans to initiate a strategic planning process for its CSE program and to restructure, establishing district enforcement offices which may be run by county CSE offices or be contracted out to private vendors. The State will also try to establish a district and state training program which will support the restructuring. Restructuring is expected to bring enforcement functions closer to the local level, thereby facilitating and improving collections. The establishment of a strategic planning process will allow the State to establish short and long-term goals, and strategies for achieving them.

 

                   Regional GPRA Demonstrations

ACF Region I-- Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts,      Rhode Island, Connecticut

New England Child Support Enforcement Regional Compact

In the Summer of 1995, the six New England states signed a compact with the ACF Regional Office to collaborate on region-wide as well as state-specific strategies for improving the child support enforcement program throughout New England. They drafted and later approved a written agreement to first, identify and develop performance measurements for improving child support enforcement services and second, to set individual state performance goals. Individual performance goals were negotiated on a state-by-state basis, and agreements were signed with each of the six New England states between March and May of 1995. These agreements now provide the benchmarks for each state's performance and are the basis for developing federal/state program improvement strategies. The New England Compact should result in a measurable improvement in child support performance in the region, particularly in interstate collections from within the six-state region.

 

ACF Region II--New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico

Assets Seizure

Begun in July, 1994, New York's assets project is measuring the impact of the use of IRS 1099 data in locating and seizing assets or property, thereby reducing outstanding arrears. The effort is further supported by the SSA Enumeration Verification System (EVS) which identifies SSN's by matching only names and birth- dates. The goal is to increase the collection rate for arrears and improve interstate case processing. 

IRS Full Collection

New York is measuring the impact of revisions to the current IRS full collection process.  Revisions would include those made in the FY93 Full-Collection Pilot -- a shortened certification letter, reduction in the collection fee, and a tape submission.  The goal is to increase collections. Actual sums collected will be dependent upon the number of cases having gone through full-enforcement services at the state level, and the actual assets located.

Expansion of Use of the Child Support Recovery Act

New York may adopt New Jersey's case selection criteria, procedures and forms for submitting cases to the U.S. Attorney's Office under the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992. The goal is to increase collection rates.  Actual impacts will depend on the number of cases that the US Attorney's office can /will prosecute.

Commercial Drivers License Central Registry

New York proposes to measure the impact of implementing a mechanism which permits the jurisdictions in their region to have direct access to the national registry of commercial drivers licenses.  Once the planned non-commercial licensed drivers national registry is developed (1995 or 1996), the region proposes to develop an interface between the registry and the FPLS or individual SPLS for locating non-custodial parents across state lines. The goal is to locate more non-custodial parents.

Paternity Establishment

The Region proposes to pool personnel and fiscal resources in the development of training material for staff involved in-hospital, pre-natal, or other health-care facilities.  New Jersey will take the lead in developing multi-media/lingual and multi-cultural information materials for distribution to parents of children born outside of marriage. The goal is to improve the rate of paternity establishments.

Outreach

Regional and state staff propose to conduct workshops and discussion groups to introduce and reinforce parental responsibility principles. The ACF Regional Office will conduct a competition in New Jersey and New York inviting teenagers to develop written, oral and visual material that will promote parental responsibility concepts among young people.  The winners of the competition will become members of Region Il's Teen Child Support Advisory panel.  The goal of this project is to change behaviors and beliefs regarding parenting and child support.  The impact will be more difficult to measure, and can probably best be measured through measures such as decreased birth-rates among teenagers.

 

Region VII-- Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa

ACF Region VII is undertaking an entire regional plan to include activities related to an ongoing Program Improvement Training grant focusing on improved service delivery by front-line staff; enhanced customer service; and CSE leadership development.  The Region is also developing a model communications system to enhance linkage between Central/Regional/State offices.  The Area Audit Office in Topeka will partner with the Region and four States by offering specialized results-oriented expertise related to performance outcomes. Other resources/partners include utilizing Missouri's experience with a CSE internal quality assurance program, as well as cross-training workshops for states on interfacing IV-A/IV-D/IV-F and the broader culture change reengineering. Also, each state will pilot one aspect of reinvention most applicable to that state, but agreed to jointly by all the states.

September, 1995

6. Agreement to establish an ongoing self-monitoring capability (or use an existing capability) to ensure early detection of any problems and immediate attention to resolving those problems.

7. Commitment to maintain a high level of effort in all program areas, particularly paternities established and dollars collected.

8. Agreement to on-site Federal assistance and presence at the pilot site.