Bold change for better outcomes

Child Support programs were designed for the "traditional" family structure in which Dad works outside the home while Mom cares for the children. In the event of divorce, Dad would be required to provide financial resources to Mom.

Families are now much more dynamic and often defy traditional definitions. According to Pew Research, 54 percent of U.S. children don’t live in a home with two heterosexual parents in their first marriage. Many Americans are delaying or foregoing marriage. One-third of U.S. kids live with a single parent.

At the same time, Child Support provides critical financial resources to children living in poverty. When collected, Child Support payments provide more support per month than SNAP/Food Stamps, WIC or TANF.

Given today’s dynamics, there’s an opportunity to fundamentally rethink how states approach Child Support—and embrace bold change to deliver better outcome for families.

"Accenture brings a tremendous amount of knowledge to the table. They also bring [a] sense of how important the mission of child support is to families, as well as the creativity to see what’s possible in the future and what we can be doing to do a better job serving the families of our country."

— MARILYN STEPHEN, IV-D Director – Michigan Department of Human Services

Automate child support legacy modernization

For child support agencies, legacy mainframe systems have become an operational liability. These systems are difficult to maintain, they’re costly to run and outdated tools block the potential for innovation. Modernizing these mission critical mainframe systems without disrupting operations is challenging. Historically modernization approaches focused on system transfers and custom builds. However, transfer systems rarely achieve > 50% of a State’s requirements and custom builds are high risk, high cost with lengthy delivery timeframes. Today, mainframe modernization through code conversion addresses historic challenges and offers a lower risk, lower cost, accelerated path forward.

Legacy systems have been fundamental to operations for decades. Imagine the ability to harvest legacy business logic and functionality and realize its intrinsic value on a new platform. Code conversion makes this a reality. The converted, modernized legacy capabilities become the core of a new Child Support Enhancement (CSE) system. The new system architecture and advanced technology platform positions innovation for the future.

Accenture offers two distinct code conversion mainframe modernization approaches:

  1. Convert Legacy System to the Java Enterprise or .NET platform model – Traditional code conversion and re-platforming is not a new concept. Success is determined by a winning combination of team, tools and methods. Accenture child support and technology experts leverage proven code conversion methods and automated tooling to offer fit for purpose traditional code conversion solutions. When converting to Java/.NET solutions IV-D Agencies can choose between on premise or in cloud implementations.
  2. Convert Legacy to a Platform-as-a-Service model – The Accenture Intelligent Cloud Conversion Platform provides the ability to automatically convert legacy systems directly to a platform. A cloud native platform offers powerful features that accelerate innovation and enables robust functionality for CSE systems. Post conversion, ongoing system enhancements and incremental modernization are realized via the platform’s clicks not code, configuration first, no code / low code solutions. A platform continuously takes advantage of technology advances and transparently delivers updates to ensure IV-D systems built on the platform are never legacy.

The advantages of code conversion over system transfer and custom build cannot be ignored. The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) recognizes the inherent advantages of code conversion and specifically that this approach maintains functional equivalency between the legacy and new systems. In result, States pursuing this modernization approach do not need to complete the Federal Feasibility Study and may also avoid Federal System Re-certification. The market has taken notice and this modernization approach is gaining popularity and poised to become the standard as IV-D agencies look to pivot off the mainframe to a modern system platform. We invite you to contact us to further discuss your modernization path and our capabilities to help you along the journey.

Child support: Three bold questions

Child Support programs have an opportunity to evolve to meet the dynamic needs of today’s families. These questions can spark fresh thinking.

Empower parents

How would it look if we empowered both the custodial and non-custodial parents to decide how to support their children?

Rethink cost recovery

If states allowed complete pass-through of Child Support collections, how could this drive better outcomes for families?

Unleash innovation

What if states started using technology to take a more nuanced approach to establishing and enforcing support orders?

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Child support blogs

Hear from our experts and get their insights on the most pressing issues facing child support organizations.

Child support: Innovate at your own pace

Child support agencies can innovate without sending shockwaves through their operations and user base.

Child support: Have your code and update it, too

Slade Gauntt explains how child support agencies can solve their mainframe problem and prepare for longer-term improvements.

Can child support automate modernization?

There’s a better, faster, more cost-effective way to move child support systems from mainframes to the cloud.

Michigan’s Office of Child Support

Michigan’s Office of Child Support (OCS) plays a crucial role in helping to ensure children receive the financial support they need even when their parents are not together.

The OCS wanted to address a key challenge: that as many as one in five child support cases kept getting "stuck" in pre-obligation, the first step in obtaining an obligation to pay child support.

As a result, too many children were waiting to receive support, and the OCS was at risk of not meeting federal child support guidelines for the percentage of open cases for which obligation is established.

Reflecting Michigan’s strategic goal of using analytics to improve child support services and outcomes for families, the OCS decided to test predictive analytics as a tool for understanding—and reversing—that trend.

A pilot by the Office of Child Support within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services shows how analytics help shape better outcomes.

What we think

Accenture explores coordinating human services programs and systems for better family outcomes.

How could partnerships between law enforcement and human services usher in a new normal?

Explore the cloud adoption process that can transform public sector digital strategy.

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