Bradbury and Myers to Improve Child Support Enforcement
Secretary of State Bill Bradbury today released an audit report on the Department of Justice's Child Support Enforcement Automated System.
At the request of Attorney General Hardy Myers, state auditors reviewed the accuracy and effectiveness of the computer system that tracks child support data for approximately 250,000 cases and processes child support payments of over $300 million each year.
The 2003 legislature redirected responsibility for the child support program from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Justice. After the transfer, the Attorney General formally requested this audit to verify controls and identify opportunities for improvement.
"Efficient operation of the Child Support Program ensures the availability of critical resources for hundreds of thousands of Oregon Children," Myers said. "The Secretary of State's audit provides insights that will improve the program."
The audit found that 96 percent of cases processed correctly, but cases involving manual distribution of payments and cases involving multiple child support orders had a higher error rate. Additionally, some support cases did not have valid end dates. Auditors also found that the financial records of the Child Support Program do not reconcile with the State Treasury records. At the time of the audit, DOJ was unable to identify the origin or appropriate disposition of $963,000 of the $11.9 million held in deposit.
The Secretary of State offered several recommendations for improvement, including better processes to correct and validate data, routine reconciliation with the State Treasury, and improved security. The Attorney General has committed to implement the recommendations and improve the Child Support Automated Enforcement System.
"The Attorney General has made a smart choice to use audit recommendations to improve a state system and better serve the people of Oregon," Bradbury said. "I'm pleased that our audit provides the Department of Justice with a roadmap and a plan for improvement, this is precisely what audits are meant to do."
Kevin Neely, Justice, (503) 378-6002
Anne Martens, Secretary of State, (503) 986-1502