Child Support Services (2600B)

Program Outcome Statement

Ensure the reliability of child support payments to families in need by collaborating with both parents to establish realistic orders so that children will have a better chance to succeed in the world.

Program Services

  • Establish paternity, child and medical support orders
  • Modification of existing support orders
  • Financial tracking of collections and disbursements
  • Automated locate and enforcement services within the United States and some foreign countries
  • Convenient payment options
  • Highly skilled staff who collaborate with both parents in support of children's well being

Overview

San Mateo County Department of Child Support Services is responsible for administering program services that align with the mission of the California Child Support Program. We strive to help both parents remove barriers and emphasize that children benefit when both parents are involved in their lives. A family's receipt of monthly child support has a profound effect on their daily lives. For many families, the difference between public assistance and self-sufficiency is the receipt of regular child support. The receipt of child support provides for life's necessities, including food, clothing, shelter and the participation of children in school activities. San Mateo County Department of Child Support Services currently serves the needs of more than 9,000 children.
The following are major accomplishments in the current year:
  • Increased child support collections in FFY 2017 to $31.4 million providing an average of $4,451 in financial support to approximately 7,100 families.
  • Improved service options to parents in order to expedite/reduce time frames and get payments to families. 
  • Augmented flexible child support payment options to include the installation of cash kiosks at child support offices throughout the state.
  • Answered over 27,000 customer service phone calls while maintaining an average wait time of under 3 minutes.
  • Fostered customer service efforts with increased usage of appointments to meet the needs of each customer based on how they wish to be served including email contact or in person appointments.
  • Expanded outreach throughout the county with special emphasis on the coast side and the northernmost areas of the county.
  • Enhanced efforts to communicate directly with customers with targeted outreach to our Filipino residents with the certification of a Tagalog speaking caseworker and the creation of three (3) Spanish-speaking caseloads to improve service and avoid third party translation services. 
  • Received better than average ratings on customer service surveys that resulted in recognition with the County of San Mateo Customer Service STARS Award for the Department.

Percent of Cases with Arrears Collection Exceeds Target

Percent of Current Support Collected Increasing

Cost Per Case Above Benchmark

FY 2017-18 Year-End Story Behind Performance


Percent of Current Support Collected
The Department has worked to improve training to case workers in order to provide direct, proactive services to families in our caseload in line with our core values of Care, Commitment and Customer Service.  This approach has resulted in improvement of one percent (1%) over the previous year and helped to establish and modify child support orders more in line with an individual's ability to pay. Overall the Department has enhanced communication, shortened processing times and increased agreements during a challenging time. Customer service outcomes have improved with the development of a court team that guides the customer step by step through the establishment of a child support order with emphasis on agreed upon orders.
Percent of Cases with Arrears Collection
Performance in this measure has again improved approximately one percent (1%) compared to the previous year. Over the past year the Department has worked to improve case management reinforcing and improving locate efforts to ensure all parents receive the same level of service and diligence.  Additionally the Department has created three (3) Spanish-speaking caseloads to reduce communication barriers and improve our service delivery model.  This approach enhances the individual's experience and works to build a trusting relationship between our agency and the people we serve. Customers can address questions directly and work to a better understand the child support process. Parents who agree to support terms are more likely to make consistent payments and engage with the agency when they are confronted with barriers or obstacles in meeting their obligation.
Cost Per Case Above Benchmark
The Department continues to remain high in cost per case compared to its benchmark. The Department continues to prioritize outreach to the public both as a means to reach customers outside of the agency walls as well as to educate residents who can benefit from a variety of services offered. Child Support Services has collaborated with several agencies but most recently developed cooperative relationships with the public libraries promoting family initiatives which highlight promoting library cards for children at our events while child support materials are distributed at library locations throughout the county. The Department works to address barriers with employment by placing and tracking referrals to Vocational Rehabilitation Services in order to empower parents to provide financial support to their children.  Additionally, customer service surveys provide valuable feedback used to improve services with the hope of expanding assistance to eligible residents in need of financial support. 

Future Priorities

  • Secure appropriate funding for the child support program in order to serve the needs of children and families, promote self sufficiency and reduce poverty thresholds in the long term. 
  • Continue to partner with the California Department of Child Support Services to make important infrastructure changes and improvements to the Child Support Enforcement System.
  • Develop technology, tools and resources that will allow for better communication with customers but avoid the need for a traditional "drop-in" to the office.

Author: Kim Cagno, Director of Child Support Services     Contact Email: smcdcss@smcgov.org     Date Created: 01-29-2016