Problems GAO Identified in Work on Child Support Enforcement Program

T-HRD-88-8: Published: Feb 23, 1988. Publicly Released: Feb 23, 1988.

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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.

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