March 14, 2013

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Maximus spokesperson Hall from Nashville said Favors’ position on child support is too “extreme.” During the forum, said Hall, Favors told the audience, “‘Going to jail for [not paying] child support is like going sharecropping, being enslaved, prison labor.”

 Nevertheless, Favors said custodial parents, mostly mothers, also had plenty to say during the forum.

“I was surprised with custodial parents too, who came and said they were not receiving their payments in a timely matter,” she said.

Baker, a custodial parent, said she believes her own experience with Maximus is a good indicator as to what many other parents are going through.

In 2006, Baker wanted her daughter’s father to accept responsibility for her upbringing, so they went to family court to establish child support. The judge determined the father, who was employed with benefits, was a year behind in child support and ordered him to pay nearly $7,000 in arrears and provide health insurance. He paid the arrears, but never provided health insurance.

“I contacted Maximus many times to ask them to enforce the insurance issue, but Maximus told me there was ‘nothing they could do for me,’” Baker said, adding that she was confused as to why they wouldn’t just enforce the order.

She turned to the DHS for help.

“They sent me a letter saying I would have to contact Maximus about my complaints, since they have jurisdiction over child support collections for my county, and that they could not assist me with anything child-support related,” she said. “In 2007, I was forced to go on Medicaid since Maximus and the state refused to enforce the order, which stated the non-custodial parent was responsible for providing insurance.”

Earlier this year, she received a letter from DHS telling her that both the court and Maximus had made a “mistake.” DHS said Maximus had not deliberately denied health coverage, but the corporation had misinterpreted the court order believing it was her responsibility to provide coverage for her daughter.

Baker loathed going on Medicaid, but she had no choice but to accept what the system offered her.

“All of us who are forced to deal with Maximus child support are, in my eyes, at the mercy of a giant corporation and local governments that are clearly working together to make a profit from child-support collections,” she said. “Politicians on a local level do not want to suffer the heat from an under-performing juvenile court system, and Maximus is more than happy to collect their millions, under-perform and not give a crap about child-support collections.”

John Lasker is an Ohio-based investigative reporter whose work has appeared in more than 50 newspapers and magazines, including Wired, The Christian Science Monitor, Agence France Press, Truthdig and the Cleveland Scene. In 2010, Lasker received a grant from the Knight Foundation to write about U.S. military servicewomen and military sexual trauma, for which he won a 2012 Project Censored award.


March 14, 2013

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Just a few comments to clear the air regarding the nonsense Lasker was getting from Sally Anderson, an outsourced "Maximus spokesperson", ... whatever that is.

Maximus does in fact use unskilled temporary workers from Randstad. The turnover rate in Shelby County is extremely high and a worker is rarely on board long enough to really master the job responsibilities.

Maximus was to "staff up" to approximately 200 staff in Memphis. The highest headcount was about 170 inearly 2010. They were losing money hand over fist at that staffing level and are now down to around 100.

There are about 20 Maximus staff in Memphis, the remainder are Randstad temporaries. In fact, excepting the 13 staff attorneys at the Shelby location, the entire Maximus staff has turned over, excepting one operations manager. One of the casualties was the Project Director in Shelby County who is now the Assistant Human Services Commissioner in charge of child support enforcement. He left a $147K job with Maximus for a $108K job with Tennessee. He's lucky he got that as he was cut loose. As I said, there is but one Maximus staff left in place from when the contract began.

In case you're wondering, I know theis stuff because I worked there for a while as Maximus staff. ... Worst job, by far, I ever had.

They are unable to perform adequately at that staffing level and have been unable to meet the contract's performance standards from day 1 of the contract.

Despite what Ms. Anderson mumbled about the Shelby County contract being "turned over" to Maximus. There was a competitive bid on that contract wit 4 bidders, including the vendor who currently held the contract. Maximus won the bid.

It is my understanding that there are currently 5 - 6 full time State employees stationed at the Shelby County offices because Maximus is doindg such a lousy job.

I believe the fact that Maximus would not respond to any of your questions regarding staffing is answer enough.

Maximus bids many of their contracts too low and cannot adequately staff them to meet performance standards.

The contracts are public information, as well as the monthly performance standard reports produced by the State. You can look for yourself at the contract situations in Tennessee and will scratch your heads as to why Maximus is still on the Shelby contract.

Personally, I would believe nothing Anderson says after vetting some of her inaccurate comments to you.

I'm late to the party, ... but better late than never to set the record straight.

Lazarus Jones 306 days ago

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