Retooling Michigan’s Child Support Enforcement Program


Principal Investigator:
Laura Lein, PhD (Dean, University of Michigan School of Social Work)

Funded by: 
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Project Goals & Approach:
The project will be conducted in collaboration with Michigan’s Department of Human Services Office of Child Support Enforcement, the State Court Administrators Office Friend of the Court Division, and the University Of Michigan School Of Social Work. In the 3-year grant period, the Retooling Michigan’s Child Support Enforcement Project will design, pilot and evaluate programs to increase the financial well-being of children and the effectiveness of the child support collection process through case stratification research, predictive models, evaluation of existing approaches, and the development and evaluation of innovative pilot collection approaches.

The first phase of the project will include the identification and prioritization of research questions and data analysis using case stratification and predictive modeling to better understand which child support enforcement interventions work with whom across the state of Michigan. The second phase of the project will include the design, testing and implementation of new approaches (i.e. motivational interviewing, new outreach strategies, new training protocols). The third year effort will focus on institutionalizing the effective interventions and revising the case stratification models. The project will build on child support enforcement research conducted in other Sates and national best practices while providing models, new pilot-tested cost-effective approaches to the collection of child support for duplication nationally.

The project outcomes expected from the grant-supported activities include but are not limited to (1) Improved research on current data to support evidence-driven selection of approaches to child support collection, (2) Sophisticated development of “tool kit” of current strategies and new piloted strategies, and (3) Dissemination of both research and successful pilot strategies to enable greater success in child support collection. These activities are expected to increase child support collections, increase collections of arrears, and ultimately improve the financial well-being of children and their self-sufficiency.

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