Jun 4, 2011 1:23 AM by Dr. Anya Winslow
El Paso County reports they are collecting more in child support payments than the rest of the state, and they are doing it more cost effectively.
Why are they seeing an increase?
In January of this year, the county hired Young Williams, a private company based out of Jackson, Mississippi, to be in charge of the Child Support Services division, and they are responsible for the overall improvement.
The group provides a variety of services from paternity testing to collecting child support payments.
"For the first three months of this year, we've collected over $11.6 million dollars, which is more than any other county collected in Colorado history," says Jeff Ball from Young Williams, who is the project manager for the El Paso County Child Support Services division.
This is a substantial increase from the same period last year when Child Support Services collected $11.1 million, when the county was on contract with another company.
Why the change in outsourcing companies?
"As contracts came up, we have to re-bid them. So, in this last year, we re-bid the contract. Young Williams won the contract based on the cost and the customer service," says Commissioner Sallie Clark.
Clark adds, "The county has a vested interest in trying to contract out as much as we can, in terms of privatization. When government can do it better, government should do it. When government can't do it better, I think it's important to get those [contracts] out; and in this case, it seems like a win-win situation for both of us."
Why aren't other counties jumping on board with outsourcing?
"I think it's the will of elected officials to determine what's in the best interests of their citizens. If they want to be extremely cost effective, producing a lot of collections for a smaller dollar cost to run the program," says Bell.
Young Williams has also put-up big numbers for the month of May. "Our May numbers show that we collected $4.4 million for May alone. So, that could project to potentially over $50 million for the calendar year if we continue with the successful collections," adds Bell.
Currently, the company employs sixty people. Another added advantage of using a private company Bell says, "There's a lot of flexibility in what we do. If we need to move people around, we don't have to wait for decisions that may delay changes that could take months it not years. We can hire and fire very quickly, if appropriate."
Young Williams won the contract for $3.6 million for the first year of their service, and the county has the option to renew for four more years.