Below is a press release from the Mississippi Legislative PEER Committee:
The PEER Committee has recently released a report titled An Evaluation of the Privatization of the Child Support Enforcement by the Mississippi Department of Human Services
Some of the Committee’s major findings include:
- According to PSCRB records, Governor Phil Bryant directed MDHS to pursue privatization of child support enforcement services in 2014. In response, MDHS implemented a 17-county pilot program to determine the effectiveness of privatization in January 2015.
- In 2016, MDHS privatized its child support enforcement services statewide despite the results of the partially executed pilot program showing that control counties operated by MDHS were performing better than counties operated by YoungWilliams on four of five measures.
- MDHS entered into contracts with YoungWilliams in 2015, 2016, and 2021 for the procurement of “legal services” although such contracts included non-legal components.
- In 2019, MDHS administered the procurement process inefficiently and gave the impression of preferential treatment toward the incumbent vendor.
- MDHS’s contract with YoungWilliams for FFYs 2017 through 2021 was insufficient to hold YoungWilliams accountable for its performance. However, MDHS’s upcoming contract for FFYs 2022 through 2026 made improvements to these deficiencies.
- After full privatization in 2016, Mississippi’s performance on: paternity establishment and child support order establishment improved; current collections and collections of arrears did not improve; and cost-effectiveness (i.e., collections per dollar of program spending) remained relatively high.
- MDHS has not taken a proactive role in assessing which collections strategies are most effective in increasing compliance in a cost-effective way for Mississippi’s population. Also, MDHS does not have statutory authority to utilize several enforcement tools other states use.
The full report can be found here.