Nudges to Increase Customer Engagement (NICE) in Child Support Programs was an effort to use insights from behavioral science to increase noncustodial parents’ engagement in an administrative process for establishing their child support orders and to improve ongoing communication between the child support program and its clients. The New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) engaged MDRC, one of the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity’s evaluation partners, to provide technical assistance for NICE initiatives from 2015 to 2016.
HRA offered an office meeting as an alternative to court-based child support order establishment for noncustodial parents whose children received cash assistance. MDRC did not conduct a formal evaluation of this project but advised HRA on the design, implementation, and assessment of two new outreach campaigns informed by behavioral science.
In addition, MDRC developed a two-part training program that built on the child support program’s continuous improvement of its print communications. The goal of the training program was to teach staff members responsible for writing letters and procedures how to adopt principles of behavioral science in written communication by using graphical elements and timelines, simplified language, reminders, and action-oriented lists.