Experimental Tests of Efforts to Improve Child Support Collections in Washington State

Robert D. Plotnick, University of Washington
Asaph Glosser, MEF Associates
Kathleen Moore, University of Washington
Shannon Harper, University of Washington
Emmi Obara, MEF Associates

This paper will discuss two experimental tests of interventions designed to increase child support collections in Washington State. They vary in the amount of resources and staff time involved as well as in the point in the “life cycle” of a case at which the interventions are aimed. The first intervention is the creation of a special unit of caseworkers dedicated to intensively pursuing collections in arrears-only cases with exclusively state-owed debt. There are 2,355 non-custodial parents in the treatment group and 2,000 in the control group. The second is testing whether sending regular billing statements to noncustodial parents not subject to wage withholding increases the regularity and amount of payment. There are about 500 noncustodial parents in both the treatment and control groups. We will compare mean outcomes of the treatment and control groups, then estimate OLS models that include demographic controls as well as a treatment dummy.

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Presented in Poster Session 9: Children and Youth; Data and Methods