Outstanding STARS Award for San Mateo County DCSS

By: Jorlinis Centeno, CA DCSS

The annual San Mateo County STARS Awards recognize and reward county programs that demonstrate excellence in service, performance, innovation, diversity or sustainability. In October 2017, San Mateo County Department of Child Support Services (San Mateo DCSS) Director Kim Cagno nominated the San Mateo DCSS Customer Service program for the Customer Service STARS Award for improving their positive customer service survey responses from 72% to 84 % between fiscal year (FY) 2015 and FY 2017.

San Mateo County DCSS implemented several strategies to improve their customer service survey results. Some of these included developing an Early Intervention Plan with families, developing department standards for creation of reasonable orders, developing team Mission Statements that embodied core values, improving payment methods, and creating “Court Teams,” that evaluated and addressed gaps in customer service during support order establishment and modification. Director Cagno said, “Our staff works to address barriers that parents face and uses a collaborative approach in the creation of a reasonable order that parents can agree on. When this occurs, parents who owe support are more engaged and more likely to pay that support.”

Customer service improvement in San Mateo County has been an enormous success that has not gone unnoticed: in 2016, the department received the Child Support Directors’ Association Outstanding Group Achievement Award for the creation of the Court Teams. Within one year, Court Teams reduced the number of days from the first court hearing to filing of the order from 32 days to zero by filing the order in court as part of the hearing, and reduced the average number of days from court to issuance of an income withholding order from 67 days to 13 days. Court Teams also reduced the number of days from the first court date to first payment disbursement from 99 days to 30 days, and San Mateo County DCSS was able to increase the percentage of cases with stipulated agreements, where both parents agree to the terms of the child support monthly obligation, from 24% to 42%.

Impressed by these outstanding results, on January 23, 2018, the Board of Supervisors of San Mateo County awarded the 2018 Customer Service STARS Award to the Department of Child Support Services.

“The department aligns with the County of San Mateo Shared Vision in its ability to assists parents in meeting the financial and emotional needs of their children. We at San Mateo County DCSS are very honored and thankful to receive this award,” said Director Cagno.