Performance Improvement 2008. How Could Using Administrative Data Improve State Child Support Agencies' Performance?


This study examined how some of the information available to the Office of Child Support Enforcement and the States' child support programs (Title IV-D of the Social Security Act) through the Federal Parent Locator Service can be used to enhance enforcement efforts. This study explored the potential income sources of non-custodial parents with arrearages who have no reported income in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Quarterly Wage data system. Researchers analyzed how arrearages for individual obligors changed over time, and how those changes were related to type and amount of income.

Among the findings were that while about twenty percent of debtors without wages were incarcerated, disabled or retired, many debtors with no wages in the UI wage data system might have been available for employment; some individuals with no reported wages in one year had other wage or wage-like income in a subsequent year; and debtors appeared to reduce their arrearages over time. Because wages may vary from year to year, States should continue to pursue collections from debtors with no indicated wages in any one year. By helping Federal and State policy makers and managers understand obligor income streams and debt patterns, it is hoped that this study will contribute to the development of additional data-driven solutions for enhancing child support collections. Researchers summarized information available from Federal Child Support Enforcement administrative data sources and described how that data could be used to answer program management questions.

Report Title: Enhancing Child Support Enforcement Efforts Through Improved Use of Information on Debtor Income,
Agency Sponsor:
ASPE-OHSP, Office of Human Services Policy
Federal Contact:
Linda Mellgren, 202-690-6806
The Lewin Group
PIC ID: 8768

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