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lD support is an essential service, and collecting and distributing child support payments has become more complex over time. In the United States, each state has its own unique child support system, and it is essential to understand the system’s hierarchy to ensure a successful implementation plan.

The differences in state hierarchies are the first complexity in modernizing child support systems. Some states keep child support in Family Court, while others utilize state entities designated for child support or contract district attorneys to enforce child support. Understanding the individual state hierarchy is essential to come up with a plan that works with the existing structure.

Child support systems must also function with both federal and state laws. Apart from the actual statute, the system must fit into the state’s business practices, ensuring public services are not impacted negatively. Compliance with both federal and state laws can be a significant challenge, requiring close collaboration between legal experts and technical teams.

Another complexity is almost all modernization projects receive federal funding, with 66% of the budget coming from federal sources. Therefore, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) must sign off on the project. This requires the state to admit faults and present evidence of changes since the previous certification. The certification process can be time-consuming and requires significant attention to detail.

A modernization project requires several vendors, including IV-V, QA, DDI, and PMO, to work collaboratively. These vendors must be proficient in their area of expertise and able to communicate in an efficient and timely manner. However, some vendors have ulterior motives or a lack of moral compass, which puts strains on the project that further complicates cohesion. It is essential to vet vendors and ensure that they share the same values and goals.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added another layer of complexity to child support modernization projects. The pandemic has caused significant disruptions, including remote work and staffing shortages. It is essential to plan for these disruptions and ensure that the project remains on track.

Bridging technical expertise to functional expertise is another challenge in modernizing child support systems. The technical team must work closely with the functional team to ensure that the system meets the needs of all stakeholders. The technical team must understand the needs of the functional team and provide solutions that meet those needs.

Cost is a real thing, and the adage “you get what you pay for” holds true for modernizing child support systems. It is essential to balance the project’s cost with the need for a functional and efficient system that meets the needs of all stakeholders.

In conclusion, modernizing child support systems is a complex and challenging task that requires close collaboration between legal experts and technical teams. Understanding the individual state hierarchy, compliance with federal and state laws, working with proficient vendors, planning for disruptions caused by COVID-19, bridging technical expertise to functional expertise, and balancing cost with functionality are all critical factors to ensure a successful implementation plan.

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