This 22-page brief summarizes an intervention tested in Colorado under OCSE’s Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) demonstration program. The goal of this intervention was to increase child support payments during the first three months of a new child support order. The key components of the intervention were a payment meeting immediately following order establishment, a “stay in the green zone” payment infographic, an online payment method decision tool, a payment reminder wallet card, and personalized text, email, or phone reminders.
The intervention was tested using random assignment to divide eligible noncustodial parents into two groups: intervention and control. The targeted outcomes included increasing the number of parents who made payments and the amount they paid during the first three months after order establishment.
The intervention succeeded in increasing payments by an average of $115 (19.9%) over the first three months after order establishment. In addition, the intervention had a positive impact on the percentage of parents paying more than 50% of the order amount due during the first three months, with 43% of the treatment group paying more than 50% compared to 29.8% of the control group.
The intervention did not have any statistically significant impacts on the percentage of parents who made any payments during the first three months following establishment of the order. Non-experimental analysis did suggest that the intervention reduced the time to first payment by 9.7 days or 16%.
This brief is not an OCSE publication. MDRC produced this brief under contract to the state of Washington’s Division of Child Support in the Department of Social and Health Services, with funds from the BICS evaluation grant awarded by OCSE to the state. This brief is in the public domain. Permission to reproduce is not necessary.
The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of OCSE, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.