Michigan Office of Child Support awarded grant

Objective is to reach more parents, collect more for children

Michigan will expand and analyze its digital marketing efforts to better engage parents to seek child support payments after receiving a $170,000 federal grant.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Office of Child Support is one of 14 child support agencies to be awarded $2.2 million in grants from the Office of Child Support Enforcement within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families.

“It’s important to explore all means of engaging parents so that we can collect the child support that children need and deserve,” said Terrence Beurer, deputy director of Field Operations Administration for MDHHS. “Technology provides us with greater opportunities for connecting with families.”

The digital marketing demonstration project will allow Michigan’s Office of Child Support and other grantees to collect and analyze data on how digital marketing may help child support programs more effectively reach and serve families.

The Office of Child Support wants to connect with single parents who have not applied to receive child support – specifically low-income parents. Research shows that digital marketing such as social media is an effective tool for reaching this population.

While more than $1.3 billion in child support is distributed annually in Michigan, an undetermined number of single parents don’t seek child support. The number of child support cases has decreased over the last 4 years as the number of families receiving federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has gone down. Single parents who receive TANF, food assistance, Child Development and Care, and many types of Medicaid are required to participate in the child support program. The project has a goal of increasing the number of new child support cases for parents not receiving any of the other types of assistance by 5 percent over the next two years.

Michigan and other recipients of the digital marketing grant are required to prepare a communications plan for each intervention and evaluate projects using analytics from the digital marketing tools used in the campaigns and child support program data.