TOPEKA – Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Phyllis Gilmore is pleased to announce that after eight months of having a fully-privatized child support system, cost-effectiveness has substantially increased, saving an estimated 32 percent in costs ($16.7 million). Now the focus will turn to improving collections.
“Child support privatization has proven to be the answer for Kansas,” Secretary Gilmore said. “After being ranked as one of the least effective child support systems in the country, Kansas is on its way to becoming one of the top ten. Reducing costs and increasing performance is a win-win for Kansas families and taxpayers.”
In September 2013, Kansas became the first state in the nation to fully privatize its child support system. Contract staff now handles everything from opening a child support case, obtaining a court order for support to collecting the money for the parent who has custody of the children. The contractors include Veritas HHS, Sunflower Child Support Services, 18th Judicial District Court Trustee and YoungWilliams Child Support Services.
Prior to privatization, $4.12 was collected for every $1 invested in the program. CSS is now collecting $7.08 for every $1 spent. Improving the cost-effectiveness ratio was the initial goal of privatization. After having accomplished that objective, the next goal is to increase the number of cases with child support orders. New court filings have improved since January 2014, and within six to nine months, Kansas will begin to see a substantial increase in money collected for Kansas families. Since privatization, Kansas has collected more than $135 million in child support, through April.
“We remain on track to increase collections by $52 million in the first three full years of the privatization contracts,” Secretary Gilmore said. “Increased accountability, better technology, greater efficiency and incentive measures tied to contractor performance will get us to our goal.”
In a new effort to increase collections, DCF is now working with the Kansas Department of Labor to conduct employer outreach. The objective is to increase income withholdings, which is the most effective way to improve collections. CSS is also reaching out to the parents who do not have custody of the children to walk them through the process of paying child support when a court order has been established.
Another new effort to increase collections is through a partnership with the Child Support Lien Network (CLSN) to match with and collect insurance claims before they are paid to the parent who has been ordered to pay child support. That effort alone has produced $182,363 in collections since December 2013.
Individuals who need help obtaining child support should call CSS at 1-888-757-2445. CSS can assist with genetic testing, paternity and support orders, modifications of support, income withholding orders (including unemployment) and more.