Orange County Making (Radio) Waves with Child Support Outreach

By: Danielle Cenedella, CA DCSS

Orange County Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) was one of three local child support agencies – Sacramento County, San Diego County, along with the California Department of Child Support Services (CA DCSS) – to receive a Digital Media Marketing Grant funded by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). Orange County DCSS chose three cycles of advertising interventions that seek to reach and inform parents that could benefit from child support services through streaming audio services campaigns.

Orange County DCSS started their first 90-day intervention in December 2018 using Pandora and iHeartRadio – with cycles to follow in May and October 2019. A 30-second audio recording about child support services and a visual banner that links directly to Orange County’s website will appear between songs until February 2019.

Orange County DCSS Research, Marketing and Development Manager Veronica McNamara said, “We were excited to get the grant because streaming audio is the perfect next step, added on to the outreach we’ve already begun.” In this first effort, the audio recording and visual banner will appear more than 700,000 times total on Pandora and iHeartRadio.

The goal of the OCSE grant program is to create a body of tested knowledge and best practices for digital outreach that can be adopted by all the states, increasing the efficiency of digital media implementation and eliminating “re-invention of the wheel.” The focus of Orange County DCSS on streaming audio will complement other efforts being conducted by other grantees in social media, web-based advertising, and search engine optimization.

Orange County DCSS based its concept on research they conducted in 2013, which revealed that 31 percent of local parents who do not open a child support case upon divorce or separation are simply not aware of the program or how it could benefit them.

Each of the three interventions will build on the one before, providing valuable information and allowing the team to evaluate and modify effectiveness before the next intervention begins. Orange County DCSS is off to a great start!