Worker and Family Assistance:
Problems GAO Identified in Work on Child Support Enforcement Program
T-HRD-88-8, Feb 23, 1988
GAO discussed the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Child Support Enforcement Program, specifically the nature and extent of the problems associated with interstate child support. GAO found that: (1) despite significant accomplishments, program management problems have hindered states' progress in achieving program financial and social goals; (2) the average monthly collection that states received for interstate cases was $66 lower than the average monthly collection for all cases; (3) because states lack adequate case-tracking and monitoring systems, HHS proposed that states process incoming child support cases from other states through a state-level central registry; (4) there were no standards to assess how effectively agencies locate parents, determine paternity, or obtain and enforce support orders; (5) the most frequent reasons states gave for their inability to collect interstate child support payments were a lack of automation within states, different policies and procedures among states, and lack of staff; and (6) although proposed welfare-reform legislation should improve collections, agencies need to ensure program effectiveness and improve program implementation through vigilant monitoring and oversight.