Missouri website aims to collect child support more efficiently

A new website used by the Missouri Department of Social Services is expected to improve and expand the collection of non-custodial parent child support payments. The new technology that will be overseen by Policy Studies Inc. will replace an outdated manually-dependent collections process.

The website is targeted to make it easier for the child support agency to connect efficiently with employers of parents who owe support. The system is expected to reduce errors, minimize paperwork and speed up information processing.

Employers are bound by both the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act and by Missouri law to make timely reports about the hiring of employees. This information is then entered into a statewide registry and sent to the National Directory of New Hires. This data is then used to find non-custodial parents who have been court ordered to pay child support, and directs employers to actually withhold a certain amount of money from each of their paychecks in order to pay that child support.

The state agency has partnered with a company called Policy Studies, which has processed about 40 percent of the country’s new hire reports. According to the senior vice president, the new Missouri website will simplify and speed up employer interactions with the social services agency, leading to more collections.

Because 70 percent of child support collections are made through employee paycheck deductions, it is estimated that Missouri’s new technology could increase child support collections by $7.8 million by the end of the next fiscal year.

Source: Daily Dunklin Democrat, “New Web site will improve child support collections,” 8 May 2011

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