In 1988, Congress passed the Family Support Act (FSA), which gave the states ten years to build a statewide Child Support Enforcement System (CSES). The state of South Carolina took a full six years after FSA was passed to hire a company to create their CSES. Four years later, the state and their contractor went to court to fight over details concerning the failed project.
Sixteen years later, South Carolina still doesn’t have a CSES in place. It’s been a full twenty-six years since the FSA was first passed. And in those twenty-six years, the state has hired several contractors and none of them have been able to deliver results. Instead, the state of South Carolina has been involved in multiple lawsuits with their contractors and has faced fines of over $110 million from the federal government.
As of now, South Carolina is locked in a lawsuit with their latest contractor, Hewlett Packard. The system HP has built to date is only 55% complete, despite the fact that they were awarded the job in 2007, a full seven years ago. The state of South Carolina is in a dire situation, as federal fines are scheduled to increase year after year. The fines that the state is forced to pay every year are (mostly) coming from taxpayer dollars. Contractors who fell short of their contracted obligations have paid the balance.
A Child Support Enforcement System is designed to coordinate efforts across the state to keep track of child support payments and enforce payment of support that is due. Congress passed the Family Support Act, which required all states to have a functioning CSES by 1998 because they recognized how important it is to have this system in place.
Right now, South Carolina is the only state that is in violation of this US law. Every county is using its own system to try to keep track of child support information and there is no way to share information across county borders.
It’s clear based on the state’s track record and progress on the current system, that they are years away from having a functional CSES up and running. It’s time they took a different route, and I have one to offer: use SupportPay.
SupportPay was built using the guidelines from the Office of Child Support Enforcement. It was built on the only cloud application platform certified by the federal government. It’s already up and running and would require only minimal changes to meet the South Carolina requirements. The cost of doing so would be insignificant compared to the fines the state will face in the coming years until they are able to finish building their CSES system.