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Data Exchange Between Child Support Agencies and Courts


Published: September 3, 2003



ATTACHMENT: Feasibility Study for a Data and Document Exchange Capability between CSE Agencies and Courts (Adobe PDF)

DATE: September 3, 2003


RE: Data Exchange Between Child Support Agencies and Courts

Dear Colleague:

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) contracted with the State Information Technology Consortium (SITC) to complete a feasibility study that examines the viability of an electronic data and document exchange capability between state child support agencies and their respective courts. The intent of an electronic exchange capability is to benefit states by saving time and improving the accuracy of data and documents exchanged. This feasibility study is enclosed for your review and comment.

Child Support Enforcement (CSE) program and judicial staff from nine states and one county were surveyed to determine the level of automation that exists, how data and documents are currently exchanged, how states and courts would like to exchange information, and the possible benefits of an electronic exchange capability.

Three alternatives are described and evaluated in the study: an eXtensible Markup Language (XML) based interface, a traditional system-to-system interface, and an imaging solution. Alternatives were assessed against the requirements to determine their feasibility, as well as their suitability to support interstate exchange.

Each of the alternatives, given the right circumstances, can provide a means for exchanging data between agencies and their courts. However, the results of the study confirmed that an XML solution offers the highest potential for the future and the capability for courts and CSE agencies to electronically exchange information with each other. XML provides the ability to exchange information between different computer systems without having to modify hardware, operating systems, computer applications, or databases. XML can build the data in any desired format, thus avoiding the back and forth exchange of paper documents and forms. No user intervention is required to translate information from one computer system to another.

OCSE would like to continue the work completed to date by the child support XML workgroup to expand the draft document type definition (DTD). OCSE envisions using the XML DTD as a guide and building a “palette” based on the data available in the feasibility study, data elements from CSENet, information identified and defined by the Interstate Workgroup, and more.


Sherri Z. Heller, Ed.D.


Office of Child Support Enforcement


cc: Regional Program Managers

ACF Regional Administrators

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