Working with Low-Income Cases: Lessons for the Child Support Enforcement System from Parents' Fair Share. F. Practices in the PFS Sites

05/01/1998

Exhibit 6 describes how the PFS sites resolved these trade-offs during the demonstration period. In four sites, PFS referrals occurred during the normal hearings held for paternity and initial order establishment or contempt of court for nonpayment (or the local equivalent). In three of these four jurisdictions (Duval, Mercer, and Shelby counties), the reviewer of the case is a referee or hearing officer, while in one (Hampden County) a judge hears the cases. In Kent County, referrals are made out of the variety of review forums mentioned earlier in this section.

In Los Angeles and Montgomery counties, special group or "mass" review hearings (with less formality and authority than judicial proceedings) were put in place to determine eligibility for PFS and make referrals. This proved to be an effective way to sort CSE cases and make referrals to PFS. Large numbers of cases could be scheduled with a block of time reserved for a referee or hearing officer. After the first such hearing, agency staff could gauge how many NCPs to schedule (overbooking was the rule) to utilize the available time for actual reviews and the final summary paperwork.

Before attempting to draw lessons from the site experience, it is useful to present information on the appearance rate of NCPs across the sites, the subject addressed in the next section of the report.