Behavioral Insights for Child Support: Lessons from the BIAS Project.

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In child support programs, parents must often make complicated decisions with little information in a context where emotions can run high. Such situations can affect both the quality and speed of decision making. Behavioral science can ameliorate some of the impact that such environments might have on decision making, while also providing a new way of thinking about questions that child support staff often confront, such as: Why do some parents fail to attend order establishment hearings (where a child support amount can be set), or forget to bring paperwork that would help with the calculation of an accurate child support order? Why do noncustodial parents who have fallen on hard times sometimes fail to contact the child support office to apply for an order modification to which they may be entitled, or fail to access employment referral services?The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) team worked with three states to design eight tests related to child support. The interventions focused on two issues: child support order modifications and collection of payments. (Author abstract)

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