PRISM (Providing Resources to Improve Support in Minnesota)

DHS Program Area

Children and Family Services


PRISM is a federally mandated computer system that supports Minnesota’s Child Support Enforcement program in efforts to:

• Locate missing non-custodial parents.• Implement automatic withholding with employers for support.• Enforce child support orders.• Centralize receipt and disbursement of child support payments as required by federal law.

Programs Supported

PRISM supports Minnesota’s Child Support Enforcement program. PRISM identifies cases where there are Medical Assistance, Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) assistance or Child Care Assistance costs. This allows the state to identify child support payments where reimbursement of public assistance costs is appropriate.

Who Uses It

County and state child support staff and contractors who provide centralized receipting services use PRISM.

Who Benefits

• Children, through a stable standard of living.• Taxpayers, through reduced use of public assistance.• DHS business associates and counties, through improved technology that helps staff do their jobs.• Legislature, through uniform application of laws.• DHS and federal program staff, through updated technology that provides better information for child support program management.


In state fiscal year 2008, PRISM:

• Supported approximately 250,000 child support cases affecting 403,000 parents and approximately their 254,000 children.• Processed and disbursed payments of $625 million.• Processed approximately $54,000,000 in payments per month, receipting incoming payments within 24 hours, and issuing payments the following business day (through the DHS child support payment center).

Design Features

PRISM automates routine functions of locating missing non-custodial parents, implementing income withholding with employers, and enforcing child support orders.

Successes in 2008

As of September 2008 or otherwise noted, PRISM:

• Initiated “locate” requests to state and federal agencies, generating 140,000 locates each month.• Sent locate requests to other states resulting in 1,770 locates per month.• Received and sent electronic payments with all 50 states.• Deposited approximately $547 million electronically to authorized custodial parent bank accounts.• Automatically deducted about $3.3 million from payers’ authorized checking accounts through Electronic Funds Transfer.• Provided information to over 143,000 callers per month through the Integral Voice Response system.• Received New Hire Reporting matches each month averaging 196,000.• Minnesota Child Support Online (MCSO) provides parents with access to case and payment information via the Internet. As of June 30, 2008 parents accessed their cases an average of 249,000 times per month.
In 2008 we:
• Initiated development of the federal Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) requirements due October 1, 2009.• Established an employer website enabling employers to exchange information with MN Child Support.• Enabled employers to make electronic fund transfers as child support payments for their employees.• Collaborated with MN Dept of Health (MDH) in creating an electronic interface to extract birth record data.

Major Issues, Challenges and Opportunities

• PRISM is an asset to be further leveraged in exploring approaches and techniques that allow for rapid development and delivery of new, Web-based applications that meet the demands for quicker and more direct access to data and services. • We are performing complex changes to the financial and distribution portions of our system in order to comply with Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) directives.• Child support is assisting numerous Minnesota Tribal Nations as they become IV-D child support agencies.

Future Planning

• Long term planning includes assessing the future direction of our Legacy system through a Business Process Redesign process to be completed in the first quarter of 2009. The purpose is to assess existing program policies and procedures to determine where improvements may be made to simplify, enhance, and streamline (administratively or legislatively) existing processes both manually and through automation; and consider how any potential change will impact PRISM. • We are also finalizing a contract with a vendor to analyze how services are delivered in the MN Child Support program. The purpose is to assess the existing program organization and administrative structure and recommend service delivery model options that foster greater performance and cost effectiveness.
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