It is difficult to believe that it is already time to write my fourth and final column as president of NCSEA for the Child Support Quarterly. Although this is my last major writing assignment, many opportunities to be of service to the child support community remain available between now and August 2, 2000, and I assure you that I will avail myself of as many of them as are humanly possible. I decided to close out my series of these columns by sharing with the broader NCSEA family my personal view of what our beloved child support program should look like in the future.
I have long held that the child support program needs to look much more like the backroom of MasterCard, Visa or American Express rather than a cash assistance program. There is little question that the child support program was the cash assistance program designed to provide comprehensive reinforcements to families in need. Child support, as well as the other programs in our income assistance system, has a unique contribution to make to family well-being. The question is: how can child support best make that contribution.
Whatever else may be added to or subtracted from it, I believe, child support's core functions will always include establishing paternities, locating noncustodial parents obligated to pay child support, establishing support orders, enforcing those orders, collecting and distributing child support payments. I would suggest the customer service centers for this country's credit card industry hold some valuable and transferable approaches that can be used to improve not only the delivery of child support services, but also the public perception of the child support community.
Just think about it. When you call your credit card company about a recent purchase or their failure to properly credit a recent payment, you don't even know, let alone have a long-standing relationship with, the customer service representative. They... [continues]
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