St. Louis Public Radio News
7:49 am
Mon December 8, 2008

Audit finds backlog of child support, paternity cases in Mo.

Jefferson City, MO – A backlog of child support and paternity cases in Missouri could take seven years to resolve, according to a state audit released today.

The audit cites various reasons for the backlog, including staff turnovers, heavier workloads, and a lack of training.

Audit Department spokeswoman Samantha Brewer said recommendations include improved training for case workers.

"They need to establish time frames for scheduled hearings, and perhaps a workload analysis in order to ensure that all the duties and activities are established and identified," Brewer said.

Brian Hauswirth, spokesman for the Department of Social Services, said they've been working since July to reduce the backlog.

"We nearly doubled the number of hearing officers, and then we also at that time worked on developing a new management structure with an emphasis on training both hearing officers and support staff...that is a step in the right direction," Hauswirth said.

Hauswirth also said while it will take time to reduce the backlog, he doesn't think it will necessarily take seven years to complete.