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SIP Grants Awarded in FY 2007

Published: October 1, 2007
Information About:
Special Improvement Project (SIP) Grants
Types:
Grants, Promising Practices
Tags:
Competitive Grant

California

The Kern County Department of Child Support Services (KCDCSS)

“On-the-Way-Out” Prisoner Release Program

This grant responds to 2007 Priority Area 1: Promoting Healthy Relationships for Unwed Couples to Improve Children’s Financial and Medical Security. KCDCSS proposes to improve program performance in child support measures through the establishment, development, and maintenance of effective relationships between Kern County child support staff members and newly released and paroled noncustodial parents (NCP).

Through collaboration with the Kern County Parole Office of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, KCDCSS will target parolees and those newly released from prison. The “On-The-Way-Out” program will install a teleconferencing kiosk in the local Parole Office in order for child support staff members to have immediate and direct access to newly released and paroled NCPs. This will allow participants to provide current case-relevant information directly to a child support professional upon prison release, as well as establish the process by which KCDCSS will promptly act upon the information provided. Through this partnership, KCDCSS will have the opportunity to educate NCPs about their roles and responsibilities in the child support enforcement process. Additionally, NCPs will be encouraged to meet child support responsibilities by voluntarily and consistently providing for the financial, medical, and emotional well-being of their children. Timely receipt of information through the “On-the-Way-Out” Program will allow for prompt modification of child support orders. These orders will be faxed directly to the Parole Office for the NCP’s signature, thereby diminishing barriers to collection.

The “On-the-Way-Out” program refers participants to the KCDCSS JobSource Resource Center. This center provides comprehensive support and encouragement to Child Support participants in their quest to obtain and retain sustainable employment. By assisting NCPs in gaining employment, compliance with child and medical support orders should increase. (These services are not funded by the SIP grant.)

Program evaluation will consist of capturing child support information on the number of newly released and paroled NCPs referred to the KCDCSS “On-the-Way-Out” Prisoner Release Program video teleconference kiosk. Information will include services provided and whether there is an increase in paternity establishment, child support order establishment, current support collections, and arrearage collections. A control group will be established of parolees released during the same period but who are not referred to the program. This methodology will allow for the use of a split sampling model for determining the effectiveness of the project in terms of delivering services. KCDCSS staff will conduct follow-up with program participants every six months during the term of this program to nurture collaboration with participants and measure participants’ evaluation of the project.

Grant Number: 90FI0088
For information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 9/01/2007 - 8/31/2010 (Extended to 8/31/2011)


Indiana

The Sagamore Institute for Policy Research (SIPR)

“Work-Responsibility-Reward”

This grant responds to 2007 Priority Area 1: Promoting Healthy Relationships for Unwed Couples to Improve Children’s Financial and Medical Security. The goal is to improve child support enforcement among current and formerly incarcerated individuals who have accumulated large arrearages during incarceration. SIPR will 1) develop a timely approach to modifying child support orders for inmates in the Indiana prisons, and 2) investigate the impact of arrearage modification on payment of current support and the connections of the noncustodial parent (NCP) to his/her child(ren).

To implement the project, SIPR will: 1) develop a statewide system to identify persons who are currently or about to be incarcerated in State prison facilities; 2) provide information to incarcerated NCPs on their right to request modification of current child support orders; 3) standardize a review and adjustment procedure for incarcerated NCPs returning to Marion County (Indianapolis); and 4) provide technical assistance to jurisdictions outside of Marion County desiring to standardize their review and adjustment procedure for incarcerated NCPs.

The project will pilot a program entitled “Work-Responsibility-Reward.” Half of the participants in the pilot will receive transitional jobs and support services (not funded by this grant) from Workforce, Inc. The other half will receive general re-entry services provided by various community agencies who routinely serve the re-entry population. This pilot will study the efficacy of order modification as a reward for responsible behavior and the effectiveness of the transitional jobs program in the pilot population. This pilot will focus on individuals with significant child support arrearages and provide them with an opportunity to earn a reduction in the arrearage.

Evaluation approaches will focus on outcomes and implementation measures on two levels. First, SIPR will evaluate the new provision providing inmates with the opportunity to petition for child support modification. Second, SIPR will evaluate the pilot project offering employment and supportive services to 100 NCPs returning to Marion County. Finally, SIPR will analyze the number of NCPs who pay support before and after entry into and after exit from the program and the amounts of support paid.

Grant Number: 90FI0090
For information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 9/01/2007 - 8/31/2010


Washington

The Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe of Tokeland, WA

“Shoalwater Bay-Washington State Outreach, Education and Support Enforcement Program”

This grant responds to 2007 Priority Area 2: Improving Child Support by Encouraging Parents and CSE Agencies to Work Together for Better Case Management and Results. This program will establish an integrated case management process with the Washington State Division of Child Support; install a support enforcement-specific database; provide community outreach; and offer education services/referrals to encourage Tribal parental responsibility and healthy marriage. The goal is to assist noncustodial parents (NCPs) in obtaining the education and skills needed to allow them to meet their support obligations.

The grantee has entered into an agreement with the State of Washington establishing a “trust relationship” with its State support-enforcement counterparts. This allows the Tribe to have Full Faith and Credit for child support orders issued through the Tribal Court. Conversely, the State will assist the Tribe with cases outside the reach of the Tribal Court. Additionally, the Tribe will enforce State-ordered obligations from those who are employed by Tribal enterprises through wage withholding.

This project will provide a “one-stop” approach to support enforcement. On-site assistance will be available for those who reside on or near the Reservation and for employees who work on the Reservation. Through community partnerships and service referrals, participating parents will be offered educational assistance, job placement, and other support services, as appropriate.

Program reports, data gathered, court records, participant counts, etc., will be reviewed to determine what extent project goals and objectives have been achieved.

Grant Number: 90FI0089
For information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 9/01/2007 - 8/31/2010


Texas

The Division for Families and Children of the Office of the Attorney General of Texas (OAG)

“The Court Order Parent Education (COPE) Project: Promoting Understanding of and Compliance with Court Orders”

This grant responded to 2007 Priority Area 3: Initiating Child Support and Court Collaborations to Improve Client Outcomes and Operating Efficiency for Both Entities.
The COPE Project provided parents establishing child support orders with a brief informational orientation to their court orders. The project was conducted by the Child Support Division of the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in collaboration with the Domestic Relations Office (DRO) and IV-D courts in Harris and Travis Counties. DROs provide investigation, mediation, coordination, and enforcement services to local courts and constituents and were retained to conduct the orientation sessions for COPE.

The goal of the project was to improve customer satisfaction and increase voluntary compliance with court orders.

The COPE project aimed to improve parents' understanding of and compliance with court-ordered child support, medical support, and parenting time by explaining court orders in "plain English;" reduce the number of parents who repeatedly return to court for the resolution of child support or parenting-time issues; and provide the courts with an onsite resource available to help parents resolve their conflicts, thereby reducing the amount of time spent in litigation.

The overarching goal for the COPE Project was to improve customer outcomes and court operating efficiency by increasing voluntary compliance with court orders establishing child support, medical support, and possession/access issues. The COPE Project sought to enable parents to better understand their parental responsibilities, the terms of their court orders, and their options for resolving future disagreements.

Findings (from final evaluation report)

The evaluation of COPE involved an assessment of quick exit questionnaires completed by 1,529 parents who attended a brief, court-based orientation session in Harris and Travis counties immediately prior to the conduct of negotiations and hearings to establish an order dealing with paternity and/or child support; online surveys with 27 OAG and 22 DRO professionals; and telephone interviews and focus groups with approximately 20 child support professionals, COPE presenters, and judges in both counties.

Though no information is presented in the evaluation about participants' compliance with child/medical support and possession orders and/or rates of order establishment and modification resulting from the COPE project, the evaluators did find an increase in parental satisfaction with their understanding of child support procedures and topics. Evaluators also found that "Spanish speakers, noncustodial parents, and parents with visitation problems were significantly more likely [than others] to want more information about these topics and to perhaps find the COPE orientation too brief or not detailed enough." Evaluators suggest that future programs should offer follow-up sessions with more detailed information for interested groups of parents and/or parents with certain characteristics such as Spanish speakers or those with visitation problems.

COPE received extremely high rankings from child support workers, attorneys, and the judge in both Harris and Travis counties. Evaluators found that the concept of educating litigants at court was strongly embraced by judges, child support attorneys, and establishment workers. Child support staff felt that COPE helped parents understand their orders and their visitation rights and, as a result, they asked fewer questions about these issues during negotiations and court hearings.

All the problems with COPE in both counties were logistical and physical. In Harris County, the concerns stemmed from having to squeeze the orientation session into an overburdened docket which created additional backlogs and delays. In Travis County, the physical structure of the court meant a lack of space for individual and small group meetings. Some of the issues in both counties might have been mitigated had the planning process included more initial staff input. COPE evaluators also recommend using core child support funding to support the program and keep it accessible to low-income, never-married parents in the child support system.

Grant Number: 90FI0091
For information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 9/01/2007 - 8/31/2010


Ohio

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office

“Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office - Cuyahoga County Collection Enforcement Training Council”

This grant responds to 2007 Priority Area 3: Initiating Child Support and Court Collaborations to Improve Client Outcomes and Operating Efficiency for Both Entities.

Through the establishment of the Cuyahoga County Collection Enforcement Training Council (CCCETC), the grantee will implement a best practice model to improve client outcomes and the operating efficiencies of the Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) and the local courts. The Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (CCPAO) will implement this comprehensive cross-training program designed to improve enforcement and collection of child support for families and children across agencies collecting child support. These agencies include various court/government agencies, faith-based organizations, and private sector businesses, such as financial institutions. Program activities include curriculum development, intra-jurisdictional trainings, and topic-specific workshops designed to discuss complex collection issues and share promising practices and model policies.

The objective is to train 400 individuals comprised of prosecuting attorneys, judges, CSEA staff, the Recorder’s office, the Treasurer’s office, and numerous financial institutions. Evaluation will be conducted by issuing each of these entities a child support collection pre-test survey identifying issues pertaining to child support in his/her respective agency.

Implementation of best practices and protocols to increase child support collection on behalf of children and families will occur in the second and third year of the grant. The first phase of the evaluation process will include data from the pre-test and post-test surveys. The surveys will be analyzed and summarized by Kent State University Institute for the Study & Prevention of Violence. This data will show whether the two training sessions fulfilled their initial objectives which include the following: (1) increase use of expedited and administrative processes, with recourse to courts to ensure that parents receive procedural justice; (2) increase use of sanctions for non-cooperating clients; (3) educate credit lenders about child support debt; (4) improve the effectiveness of bank account/asset seizure, passport denial, direct income withholding, and the filing of liens; and (5) enhance and increase collection of child support in Cuyahoga County.

After the surveys are evaluated, this critical data will be reported to the CCCETC members. All member agencies of the CCCETC will provide quarterly reports as to their child support collection activities and enforcement outcomes.

Grant Number: 90FI0093
For information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 9/01/2007 - 8/31/2010


New York

The New York State Unified Court System and The Center for Court Innovation

“The Parent Success Initiative”

This grant responds to 2007 Priority Area 3: Initiating Child Support and Court Collaborations to Improve Client Outcomes and Operating Efficiency for Both Entities.

This grantee will offer services through the Parent Success Initiative (PSI). The PSI is a partnership involving state and local governments and several non-profit service agencies. These partners will create a court-based screening and referral system to link noncustodial (NCP) parents involved in child support proceedings with parenting and employment services. Currently, the PSI is a voluntary program. The SIP grant will enable the Onondaga County Family Court to hire a resource coordinator to identify appropriate NCPs prior to their child support hearings. These parents will be court-ordered to participate in the PSI program as a term of their child support order, thus ensuring participants’ ongoing compliance with their PSI service plan. The proposed screening and referral system is expected to increase the number of NCPs receiving services through the PSI by approximately 200. Through case management, the participants’ progress will be monitored and reported to the court. The court will evaluate whether the participants are benefiting from PSI’s services and meeting their child support obligations.

PSI-referred services (not funded by the SIP grant) include such activities as job development and placement plans; one-on-one mentoring; job shadowing; and employer tours.

Program evaluation will consist of “action research” in which researchers develop performance benchmarks in coordination with project staff. Data-driven feedback will be provided to identify successes and challenges and implement needed change. This research will form the basis of ongoing efforts to improve the program’s ability to identify all eligible NCPs in Onondaga County and ensure that they receive PSI’s comprehensive array of supportive services.

Grant Number: 90FI0092
For information, contact: ACFOCSEGrantsinfo@acf.hhs.gov
Project Period: 9/01/2007 - 8/31/2010