ERIC Number: ED410010
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Child Support Enforcement: Early Results on Comparability of Privatized and Public Offices. Report to the Chairman, Committee on the Budget, House of Representatives.
General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. Health, Education, and Human Services Div.
In response to increased federal requirements for mandated services under child support reforms, several states have begun privatizing child support enforcement services that were traditionally delivered by public agencies. This report to the U.S. House of Representatives examines: (1) states' rationale for full-service privatization; (2) how the performance and cost-effectiveness of full-service privatization efforts compare with publicly managed child support enforcement; and (3) issues which could affect future full-service privatization contracts. Information was collected through interviews with child support officials in 12 states and with officials from the Office of Child Support Enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The cost-effectiveness for four fully privatized local offices in Arizona, Tennessee, and Virginia was examined and the performance of each privatized office was compared to a similar public office. Results indicated that fully privatized offices performed as well as or better than public child support programs in locating noncustodial parents, establishing paternity and support orders, and in collecting support owed. Privatized offices were as or more cost-effective than their public counterparts. According to state and contractor officials, differences in performance and cost-effectiveness may have resulted from the flexibility contractors have in acquiring resources and managing staff, greater access to technology, differences in the complexity of the caseloads, and varying payment rates to contractors. The issue of contractor access to IRS data that could have impeded future full-service privatization has been partially addressed by recent welfare reform legislation. (Appendices include discussions of the study's methodology and selected demographic characteristics of the localities reviewed.) (KDFB)
Descriptors: Child Support, Comparative Analysis, Cost Effectiveness, Government Role, Interviews, Performance, Performance Factors, Private Sector, Privatization, Public Agencies
U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 6015, Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015; phone: 202-512-6000; fax: 301-258-4066; e-mail: info[at sign]www.gao.gov; world wide web: http://www.gao.gov (First copy free, additional copies, $2 each).
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. Health, Education, and Human Services Div.
Identifiers - Location: Arizona; Tennessee; Virginia
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Child Support Enforcement; Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act