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Callers are used to aggravations from automated customer-service systems, but the antiquated system at the D.C. Child Support Services Division takes those headaches to a higher level, dropping calls, giving an incorrect address for child-support payments, and even giving the wrong name for the D.C. Attorney General’s Office, which oversees the division. “Our phone system is shot. That whole system is messed up,” says Joseph Bradley, a child-support enforcement specialist and union official who represents the office’s support staff. D.C. Acting Attorney General Linda Singer revealed a list of problems with the automated system in a written response to questions from D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson. The system, which cannot be upgraded and will cost approximately $900,000 to replace, cannot handle the nearly 500 calls received each day, so callers sometimes get dropped. The system’s outgoing message — which still lists the division as part of the Office of Corporation Counsel, the former name of the Attorney General’s Office before it was changed in 2004 — cannot be changed. Singer wants a new system that will fix the problems and have added features, but there is no word on how long that will take. Traci Hughes, the office’s spokeswoman, did not respond to questions about whether the trouble-plagued system has caused the loss of some child-support payments.
Brendan Smith can be contacted at [email protected].

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