South Carolina may need six more years and almost $75 million to complete a long-delayed child support enforcement system, according to the Greenville News.
It’s been 25 years since federal law mandated that we put the system into effect, but embarrassingly, South Carolina remains the only state in the nation that hasn’t completed implementation.
This summer, the state terminated its contract with Hewlett Packard – the third company hired to finish the project that has been tinged with chaos and missteps.
The company is now in a contract dispute with the state, a conflict that is being heard by the state’s chief procurement officer and is expected to last more than a month.
Because of the ongoing challenges, South Carolina has been fined more than $104 million by the federal government for missing the deadline attached to having a working system in place.
It would be a relief for officials, and most importantly taxpayers, if our state would find an effective and cost-efficient administrator to implement the system.
There are certainly better ways to spend millions in taxpayers’ dollars. Bringing in a new contractor to finish the project could bog down implementation even more, and make our state suffer through even greater expenses. An analysis is greatly needed.
Without a system in place, it delays the state’s efforts to track down those parents that are behind on payments. This hurts children and their single parents who are likely apprehensive over their finances, much like many residents in our state. According to the Associated Press, if the network is ever fully put in place, it will have stronger teeth to it and make a stronger effort to not allow parents to skirt payments simply by moving out of the county or state.
It will also reduce paperwork since more of the documentation will be computerized and will be centralized as part of a national network.
The state should truly make a stronger commitment to this much needed project, an objective that’s decades in the making.