Federal Funding for County and Municipal ODR Efforts

The Pew Charitable Trusts and Karen Lash of American University created a series of case studies on funding access to justice initiatives. In particular, Michigan’s 20th Circuit Court in Ottawa County used Title IV-D funds for its ODR efforts starting in 2016. Critically, the Ottawa County court’s ODR platform provided important benefits for families and the court.

Learn how state courts have leveraged federal funding for court technology.

Photo by Marisa Howenstine on Unsplash

Michigan’s 20th Circuit Court was among several leading courts mentioned in the funding justice programs research. It used Federal Title IV-D funding for its ODR platform.

Under Title IV-D, the federal government reimburses $2 for every $3 the state spends on program costs….

Civil Legal System Modernization Case Study 6 (PDF)

The research lead, American University’s Karen Lash, describes the court’s use of federal funds in the Pew Charitable Trusts interview:

Title IV-D, an open-end reimbursement grant for state child support programs, funds several online dispute resolution (ODR) tools in Ottawa County, Michigan, which has incorporated text reminders to noncustodial parents. Since adoption, the county reports an increase in child support collections and a decrease in the number of “show cause hearings,” in which a judge will decide to hold a parent in contempt of court for not following the child support order. The court also saw a decline in child support-related arrest warrants for failure to pay child support. The people who run the program have gone further by leveraging data and sound research methods to evaluate the efficacy of this ODR pilot. 

Karen Lash, quoted in the interview on the Pew Charitable Trusts website

Hear from the 20th Circuit Court on Federal Funding for ODR

This Pew Trusts interview links to a case study (PDF) that describes the Ottawa Court ODR project and outcomes. The Court leveraged federal Title IV-D funding for its ODR platform.

According to Court Administrator Kevin Bowling,

The use of ODR technology in child support cases has been incredibly beneficial to parents and the 20th Circuit Court in Ottawa County. Our Court strives to be accessible and ODR is an effective method of making the judicial process more timely, more convenient, and more cost effective for the people we serve. Our initial success with child support cases caused us to create a litigant portal and expand the use of ODR for parenting time disputes. Soon we hope to further expand ODR to other case types.

Kevin Bowling, Michigan 20th Circuit Court Administrator, Ottawa County quoted in the case study (PDF)

Congratulations to Chief Circuit Judge Jon A. Van Allsburg, the Ottawa County Friend of the Court, and Court Administrator Kevin Bowling for your leadership and your achievements.

Matterhorn is proud to power the online ODR platform for the Court.

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