Behavioral Interventions


The Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) Project

October, 2019
Yana Kusayeva, Peter Baird, Jonathan Timm

This intervention tested with the Vermont Office of Child Support changed outreach materials and the structure of conferences with parents in order to increase parent participation in the child support process and increase the percentage of cases where both parents reached agreement outside of court. It did improve both outcomes.


Testing Early Parent Engagement in Washington’s Child Support Program

July, 2019
Asaph Glosser, Angela Gaffney

The state of Washington tested an intervention meant to foster a better relationship with parents early in the child support process. The intervention included specialized caseworkers, phone calls, and redesigned documents. There was limited evidence that the intervention increased parent engagement, and it did not improve payment outcomes.


Increasing Child Support Order Modification Review Completion in Ohio

May, 2019
Peter Baird, Rhiannon Miller

In Ohio, the process to modify a child support order has two stages that typically take more than 100 days to complete. In two counties, the Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services team worked with local agencies to test four interventions designed to simplify the process.


Engaging California Parents During Child Support Order Establishment

June, 2019
Angela Gaffney, Michael Fishman, Jared Smith

Child support agencies in Sacramento and San Joaquin Counties and the Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services team tested whether a behavioral intervention could increase the percentage of parents who responded to early paperwork and got involved in the child support process.


Using Behavioral Science to Identify Barriers to Credit Intensity and Satisfactory Academic Progress

April, 2019

Taking enough credits and passing enough classes are key requirements for college success. But behavioral and institutional barriers often get in the way. A new report from MDRC shows how behavioral science can expose these barriers and help colleges move their students past the finish line to graduation.

Issue Focus
April, 2019
Pei Zhu, Ivonne Garcia, Erick Alonzo

This evaluation examines a “growth mindset” intervention for ninth-graders as they make the transition to high school. It aims to boost students’ ability to meet challenges and persist in school by demonstrating that academic setbacks do not indicate poor intelligence ― with the goal of enhancing academic resilience and, ultimately, performance.


Using Behavioral Strategies to Increase Initial Child Support Payments in Texas

April, 2019
Mary Farrell, Carly Morrison

This behavioral science-based intervention was designed to increase the percentage of employed parents who made child support payments during the first months after a new order was established, before employer income withholding went into effect. It did increase the percentage who made payments in the first month.


Engagement in New York City’s Kindergarten Application

March, 2019

Parents applying to kindergarten today must follow multiple steps. Identifying families who do not apply can help a school system improve its application process and can help it target families who need support. MDRC partnered with the New York City Department of Education to conduct this sort of diagnosis.


Two Proven Strategies to Boost Summer Enrollment

February, 2019

Summer courses can help students progress to graduation, but most students do not enroll in them. An informational campaign incorporating behavioral science, tested with and without tuition assistance, increased summer enrollment. This brief presents findings from the Encouraging Additional Summer Enrollment (EASE) project following the reinstatement of year-round Pell grants.