Nationally, the child support program impacts over 15 million children, with 1 in 5 benefiting from effective case management. In 2016, child support accounted for half the average income of low-income parents, and lifted three quarters of a million people out of poverty. All this, while remaining one of the most cost effective government programs, with $5.15 in support collected for every $1 spent. However, the Office of Child Support Enforcement, in their 2015-2019 Strategic Plan, acknowledges “the sobering fact that most state computer systems are obsolete, and a few are at risk of failure.”
The State of Idaho was no exception, with an aging child support case management system running on technology that was nearing the end of its life. This legacy system had a steep learning curve that limited holistic understanding, requiring involvement from various specialists in order to resolve issues. Few people had sufficient experience or training to handle all aspects of a case, so there were many handoffs from one staff member to another. These transitions delayed response times, increased the potential for errors, required more specialist work and decreased overall customer satisfaction. All this contributed to significant case backlog and worker fatigue.