Personalized Outreach Testing Early Parent Engagement in Washington’s Child Support Program

Asaph Glosser and Angela Gaffney
July 2019

The state of Washington applied Behavioral Intervention techniques to see if it could raise parental engagement in the order establishment process. Data showed that a high number of new orders were set by default, without parent involvement, and that the payments received in the first six months of these orders were minimal. Washington designed an intervention to increase engagement, build a better relationship between the parent and the agency, and thereby increase payments. It included: a specialized team of caseworkers, pre-service outreach calls, a follow-up letter to parents who couldn’t be reached by phone, and a new cover sheet for the service package. Ultimately, Washington found that the new process didn’t necessarily increase involvement, but it didn’t hurt either. The evidence also didn’t show a significant impact on payments.