Personalized Outreach: Testing Early Parent Engagement in Washington’s Child Support Program.

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Asaph. Gaffney
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The Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) project aims to improve federally funded child support services by increasing program efficiency, developing interventions informed by behavioral science, and building a culture of rapid-cycle evaluation. In the state of Washington, the Division of Child Support (DCS) is responsible for establishing and enforcing child support orders. For the BICS intervention, DCS aimed to foster a more cooperative relationship with parents during the order establishment process, in order to increase collections in the short term and ultimately to obtain more regular payments in the longer term. The intervention included several components: a specialized unit of caseworkers; pre-service outreach phone calls; a follow-up letter to parents who could not be reached by phone; and a new cover sheet for the service package. This report provides background on the existing order establishment process, the intervention’s design, results from the study, implementation findings, and lessons and next steps. (Author introduction modified)

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