Inside the Office of the Attorney General of Texas (Child Support Division): an Expose
(Child Support Division): an Exposé
The inefficiencies of a bumbling, incompetent, arrogant, out-of-control, mismanaged, poorly-run bureaucracy.   An inside look, from a former employee.

Brownie Points
or "What Motivates the AG"

There is a complicated relationship between the federal government and the Child Support Division of the Texas Attorney General's Office, and it all has to do with MONEY.   It operates something like this:

Each year, the federal government has a sack of money that it pours into the (national) IV-D system (the "system" of the 50 states helping to collect child support).   This money is distributed to the States, but they don't get equal amounts.   The way the feds determine how much money each State gets involves a complicated formula that each state is very interested in.   It can make a difference of millions of dollars.   Texas would rather see the money come down here than have it go to New Jersey or Vermont.

How well each State performs in child support collection (and similar areas)   —   according to this complicated grading system   —   determines how big its piece of the federal money pie will be that year.

Paternity cases (where the AG is establishing a court order) count more, that is, they generate more brownie points, than enforcement cases (where there is already an order in existence).   There are "points" awarded based on how many "active" cases involve a Dad who is actually making payments; how many cases have an order in place; how much money is actually collected; etc.   I once attended a seminar on this topic (how the IV-D agency of each state qualifies for federal money), and it lasted for four hours.   Does the illegitimate child deserve preference over the child of a divorcee?   Of course not.   But politics is what drives the AG.

The Unit managers take readings from the computer on a weekly basis, monitoring how well they're keeping up with their goals.   They have monthly goals ("number of paternities established" is one goal), quarterly goals, and annual goals.   Their fiscal year ends on August 31.

In other words, it's a rat race, only they don't much care about you poor "rats."   Which of their "customers" needs help the most is simply not a consideration.



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