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Sort Cases to Improve Collections - Missouri

2007 Best Practices

Published: December 1, 2008
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Case Management, Collections/Distribution/State Disbursement Unit (SDU)
Types:
Promising Practices
Tags:
Toolkit & Training

Goals:

  • Improve child support collections
  • Improve efficiencies/better use of resources
  • Increase collections and percentage of paying cases
  • Improve in Federal performance measures
  • Improve data/case integrity
  • Improve outcomes/results for customers
  • Improve morale for staff

Description:

Missouri's Family Support Division implemented a new approach to the enforcement of child support and medical support obligations. Previously, cases were divided into individual caseloads by alphabetic split. Under the new structure, cases are split into categories based upon the noncustodial parent's circumstance. Rather than individual caseloads, the cases in each category area are worked by a team of individuals. The four categories include:

  • Category 1 - NCP not paying, no enforcement remedies exist (i.e., NCP is receiving SSI or TANF benefits, he/she is incarcerated with no resources, both administrative and judicial remedies have been exhausted, the NCP cannot be located, etc. These cases are monitored for changes in circumstances and/or location of NCP or NCP resources. Once enforcement action can be taken, the case moves to category 2.
  • Category 2 - NCP not paying, enforcement remedies exist (i.e., the agency has taken enforcement action, however, the case has not paid for three consecutive months so it does not yet meet the criteria for Category 4; or the case has an enforcement remedy available that has not yet been completed.
  • Category 3 - NCP resides in another State and interstate referral is/should be completed.
  • Category 4 - NCP paying for a minimum of three consecutive months.

Missouri's Automated Child Support System (MACSS) automatically assigns cases to a particular category based upon the specific criteria. Work activities for each category are generated to the appropriate category team via system alerts, auto-generated forms and category reports.

When a case meets the criteria for a specific category, MACSS automatically moves the cases to the category without worker intervention.

Results:

  • The new approach was piloted in four of Missouri's child support offices for six months between January and June of 2006. Pilot results showed an overall average of 10 percent increase in productivity (enforcement actions taken) and a 7 percent increase in cases meeting the criteria for, and moving to, Category 4.
  • Statewide implementation began in October of 2006 and was completed in December of 2006. Early data from statewide implementation is beginning to show the same trend as that of the pilot.
  • Staff report that with the new work activity assignment, and the narrowed scope of the function they perform, they are able to accomplish tasks more timely and accurately. They are able to get to cases that need attention much more quickly, thus obtaining results the customer anticipates.

Location: Statewide

Funding: No funding needed to implement the structure; however, Missouri did receive legislative funding to contract call center services to help support the new structure.

Replication Advice:

  • Complete comprehensive outreach to staff prior to change
  • Clearly define criteria for each category to allow for as much automation as possible
  • Communicate with partners such as the IV-A program, courts, prosecuting attorneys, legislators, etc.
  • Identify what will be measured early in the process
  • Anticipate increased workload in other arenas such as the court system, interstate referrals, hearings, etc., and anticipate the increased productivity which may result in higher postage, noncustodial parent inquiries, backlog on clerical staff, etc.
  • Anticipate and deliver refresher training on work activities specific to each category

Contact:

Alyson Campbell Email: Alyson.F.Campbell@dss.mo.gov Phone: 573-522-2106