By Greg Wilson, Executive Director, CSDA
The Federal Office of Child Support enforcement has awarded Section 1115 grants for Digital Marketing to several Local Child Support Agencies in California. The awarded child support agencies will use the grant funds to test digital marketing approaches that will help engage parents to make child support payments and encourage child support involvement.
The California LCSAs include: Del Norte, Merced, and Imperial Counties, who will collaborate on an award of $170,000; San Diego County, with a single award of $170,000; Sacramento County, also with a single award of $170,000; and Orange County, with a single award of $141,533. Each of the LCSAs will work with the California Department of Child Support Services who will act as the pass-through entity.
The funds are awarded by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF). The digital marketing demonstration project will allow grantees to collect and analyze data on how digital marketing may help child support programs more effectively reach and serve families in their communities.
“I am excited that we are funding this project in response to two growing challenges for child support agencies around the country,” said Scott Lekan, Commissioner of the Office of Child Support Enforcement. “The first is communicating with parents through social and other digital media. The second is making parents aware of how child support services may benefit their family. I look forward to seeing rapid, positive results and to sharing approaches that agencies can implement easily and cost-effectively.”
The six participating California LCSAs will use the funding to design at least three digital marketing interventions during the two-year project period. Examples of proposed interventions include launching social media campaigns, internet advertisements, and communicating through various communication mediums such as text messaging.
Grantees will be required to prepare a communications plan for each intervention and evaluate projects using analytics from the digital marketing tools used in the campaigns and child support program data.
Funded by Section 1115(a) of the Social Security Act, this year’s awardees also include two tribal child support programs for the first time under the funding authority. While state child support programs have been able to receive funding for years, Congress amended the statute in 2014 making tribal child support programs eligible to receive the funding as well.
Other states and tribal agencies awarded a Digital Marketing Grant include: Cherokee Nation, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Indians of Wisconsin, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.