University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Selected Child Support Administrative Enforcement Tools: How Are They Used in Wisconsin?

Over the past twenty years the child support system has undergone significant changes, fueled partly by state efforts to increase collections and partly by new requirements set by the federal government. Among these changes is an expanded set of tools designed to improve the enforcement of child support orders. The authors of this paper interviewed local officials and analyzed administrative data from the Wisconsin child support information system (known as KIDS) to better understand how the new techniques are implemented by county child support agencies and whether they contribute to increased child support collections.
Officials in four county child support agencies (Chippewa, Eau Claire, Racine, and Winnebago) were interviewed to determine how county staff make decisions about what enforcement actions to take and when to act. The four counties exhibited marked differences in organization of the enforcement process, many of which appeared to stem from differences in such factors as access to court time and relationship with other county agencies. In two counties staff members worked as teams and in the other two they worked as individuals. Similarly, in two counties they were specialists in particular enforcement actions and in two they were generalists who performed many different types of actions.

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Arrears & Related Policy, Child Support, Child Support Policy Research, Enforcement

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