By: The OCM Office
The Compromise of Arrears Program (COAP) is an excellent program that is available to non-custodial parents (NCPs). The program allows the NCP to reduce the past-due amount owed to California. To seek a better understanding of the pain points and how the process can be improved for the California Department of Child Support Services (CA DCSS), local child support agencies (LCSAs) and most importantly, our customers, CA DCSS implemented a business sprint to see where and how improvements could be made. A business sprint is a 5-day process that is designed to attack problems in a collaborative and structured way. The COAP business sprint consisted of the COAP Unit from CA DCSS, Riverside County Department of Child Support Services, San Diego County Department of Child Support Services (San Diego County DCSS) and Executive staff from CA DCSS, with interviews of other counties and CA DCSS staff. For the LCSAs, there was plenty of discussion on how to improve the automatic and manual COAP process within California Child Support Central.
Where are we now in the process? Early on in the business sprint, it was evident that the complex and lengthy COAP application was a deterrent for prospective customers. This was identified by the business sprint team as the first step in implementing COAP improvements. A new and improved application, adapted from the outstanding pilot form created by San Diego County DCSS, is being formalized by the CA DCSS Forms Unit for statewide use. It reduces the nine-page form to two pages plus two instruction pages, which will be more manageable and useful for both applicants and LCSAs.
When completed, it will be released to the counties and public as a fillable PDF. Both CA DCSS and LCSA staff enjoy the new look and cannot wait to get this new application out to the public. Watch for news of its release!
To add to the good news, Michelle Santiago and Patricia Angelique of the COAP Unit at CA DCSS are working with CA DCSS Technology Services Division software developers and design team to create an all-new COAP system. A prototype of the data-intake portion has been designed and tested with the participation of staff from departments of child support in El Dorado, San Diego, Ventura, Marin, and Santa Clara counties. During recent design sprints, LCSA staff were interviewed about their intake process, challenges, what could really help improve the process, and improvements they would like to see. LCSA feedback was overwhelmingly positive, noting that the new COAP system is better aesthetically, easier to navigate, and removes the manual COAP process. Design and development sprints will continue until a new system can be rolled out to LCSAs.
Make sure to keep an eye out for further updates!