The Connecticut Child Support Enforcement Program (Title IV-D of the federal Social Security Act or the Child Support/IV-D program) is a cooperative effort between dual agencies: the Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) in the Executive branch and the Support Enforcement Services (SES) in the Judicial branch of Connecticut government to deliver quality child support services with a mission to improve the well-being of children and promote the self-sufficiency of families. The program partners working with OCSS under cooperative agreements are: the Office of the Attorney General, Support Enforcement Services of the Judicial Branch, Family Support Magistrates, and Superior Court Operations.
The Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) manages a statewide program with a staff of 423. In 2018, the program collections totaled $288,946,161 and managed a caseload of 151,957 with 128,510 children in IV-D Cases. This same year, 103,137 children were born out of wedlock, while 6,073 children had paternity established, and 4,007 cases with orders were established. In federal fiscal year (FFY) 2017, Connecticut only collected $3.27 for each dollar spent which puts Connecticut below the national weighted average.
Core functionality that exists within the Connecticut Child Support Enforcement System (CCSES) includes federal reporting to Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and Internal Revenue Services (IRS), fiscal reporting for daily balancing and federal claims reimbursement, interfaces to supporting agencies and financial institutions, establishment and the enforcement of orders and payment processing. The program has limitations in data analytics, configurability, automated workflow processes, electronic document processing capability, interconnection to the fatherhood initiative, and customer access.
The purpose of the Child Support Enforcement System Modernization Project is to modernize the current CCSES system, not only to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and regulations, but to realize the benefits of systems that are in line with industry best practices, including:
- Mining existing data to present more meaningful information for decision making
- Providing users with a more user friendly, graphical interface to improve productivity, enhance automated workflow, reduce training time
- Providing self-service access to parents and relevant third parties for routine queries and functions that will free up caseworker resources for other tasks
- Receiving accurate, dependable data on participants and case statuses from federal and state interfaces with protocols that are easy to implement with different sources, consistent in how data is received and used, and clearly and easily capable of updating data elements for both incoming and outgoing interfaces
- Implementing Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence reporting that includes all the data elements required to provide and track data for federal and OCSS management reports
The Success Criteria defined for the CCSES Modernization project are as follows:
- Improved national ranking of Connecticut’s Child Support program from 38th to top five in the nation
- Increased number of children with paternity established
- Increased percentage of non-custodial parents supporting children
- Increased number of families/children served (court orders established)
- Increased current support collections to families
- Increased payments toward arrears due to families
- Reduction/avoidance of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant funds expended
- Improved reporting accuracy
- Improved family relationships due to Fatherhood Initiative requirements
- Decreased training time for OCSS staff
- Improved customer access using Interactive Voice Response (IVR), portal, and mobile technology