Monday, December 07, 2015

Texas child support collection monster

The child support collection system is a monster, with both the feds and states to blame. It has a glitch in Texas:
The federal government has frozen payments to Texas’ problem-plagued bid to upgrade its child-support data system, Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office disclosed Friday.

In a letter to Legislative Budget Board director Ursula Parks, a top Paxton aide said the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement has halted payments for tech giant Accenture’s part of the data project, known as “T2.”

Federal officials want more information about a proposed new work schedule and a “corrective action plan” that would explain “the root causes of delays on this program and how they will be addressed moving forward,” said Mara F. Friesen, Texas’ deputy attorney general for child support. ...

The federal government pays two-thirds of the costs of the upgrade,
The cost is many millions of dollars:
By 2012, agency officials realized that the project's costs were far higher than expected, and concerns were growing about Accenture's handling of its share of the work. By this summer, the project's price tag had grown by more than $70 million. The current estimate for the project is $310 million, more than $100 million above the initial $202 million budget, according to the attorney general's office. ...

More than half of the attorney general’s budget goes to child support enforcement. For years, the agency has prided itself on being the national leader in child support collections.

Millions of parents and thousands of state employees rely on the office’s computer system to handle the complicated and often delicate aspects of managing child support cases, including locating parents, collecting payments and distributing funds to custodial parents. But the technology rests on a rickety, 20-year-old framework that becomes more unwieldy with every passing year. Agency officials say the system is slow, convoluted and difficult when it comes to training new employees.
Wow, I had no idea this was such a big operation. Texas has criminals, illegal aliens, drug dealers, and all sorts of problems for prosecutors, and they are spending most of their money on child support enforcement?!

The legal evils of child support are detailed in Real World Divorce, a draft book that is freely online.

3 comments:

paulmurray said...

Absolutely typical of what happens when you try to outsource your core business and pick the lowest bidder.

Core business? Absolutely. The main thing that government does is paper-shuffling and keeping records. Always has been, right throughout history. Software should be developed in-house, and software projects should be managed in-house by (in this case) public servants.

If you are a manufacturer, it might make sense to use an off-the-shelf payroll package. If your job it to track and manage child-support cases, then the software you use to do that should be yours.

faryal naaz said...

All very good points to note!!! Looking forward to seeing what is in the baggies!
Private Investigator

Anonymous said...

Half of the Attorney General budget is on Child Support - not half of Texas law enforcement. The other half of AG budget is consumer fraud, fighting Obamacare, stuff like that. And even 2/3 of that half-budget is Federal funds.

Don't do the lay if you can't pay.