FY2004 Annual Report to Congress
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Table of Contents
I am pleased to offer this Twenty-Fifth Annual Report to the Congress on the Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Program. The report highlights the operation and accomplishments of the program for FY 2004.
The Child Support Enforcement Program continues to make progress toward making child support payments a reliable source of income for families and children. Stronger enforcement tools such as the Federal Parent Locator Service, streamlined paternity establishment, uniform interstate child support enforcement, computerized statewide collections, and tougher penalties for nonpayment continue to play leading roles in making this progress possible.
In FY 2004, the Child Support Enforcement Program collected and distributed almost $22 billion to families and children. We are proud of this noteworthy achievement. Although we are pleased with the progress and accomplishments that the Child Support Enforcement Program has made in the past, we look forward to even greater progress in the future. Accordingly, we have renewed our commitment to dependent children in the child support caseload and resolve to further strengthen our effectiveness in holding their parents more accountable for their financial, medical, and emotional support. We look forward to our continued partnership with States and with our other partners who share the mutual goal of improving the well-being of children.
Michael O. Leavitt
The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is part of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The mission of ACF is to promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities.
The Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Program, under title IV-D of the Social Security Act, is a Federal/State/tribal/local partnership. The purpose of the CSE program is to ensure that assistance in obtaining support, including financial support of both parents and medical support, is available to children by locating noncustodial parents, establishing paternity and support obligations, monitoring and enforcing obligations, and collecting and distributing child support. The program functions in all States and territories, through the State/county Social Services Department, Attorney General’s Office, or Department of Revenue. Most States work with prosecuting attorneys, other law enforcement agencies, and officials of family or domestic relations courts to carry out the program at the local level. Several Native American tribes operate federally funded child support programs in the context of their cultures and traditions.
Child support services are available to any custodial or noncustodial parent or any other person with custody of a child who has a parent living outside the home. Services are available automatically for families receiving assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the Medicaid program, and the Foster Care program. Other families seeking government child support services can apply through their State/local or tribal agency running the program. For these families, there is an application fee.
Child support collected on behalf of families receiving TANF is used to reimburse the State and Federal governments for TANF payments made to the families. Child support payments over the amount needed to repay the government for public assistance payments are sent to TANF families. Child support payments that are collected on behalf of families never on TANF are sent to the families.
The child support program mission has remained the same since its inception—locate noncustodial parents, establish paternities, and establish and enforce support obligations by obtaining support from the noncustodial parent. However, the program has shifted its focus from reimbursing the government’s welfare program to helping families become self-sufficient.
In Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2004, the Child Support Program continued to demonstrate a firm commitment to the financial and emotional well-being of dependent children through strong enforcement of the financial obligations owed by their absent parents. Child support payments collected and distributed during this period totaled $21.9 billion, which represents a 3.2 percent increase over the FY 2003 collection amount of $21.2 billion. In addition, in FY 2004, 1.6 million paternities were established or acknowledged, and 1.2 million new child support orders were established. The child support caseload showed a slight decline over the previous fiscal year’s caseload.
Overall, considerable progress was made in FY 2004 to ensure that paternity and support orders are established for children in the Child Support caseload and that these children receive support from both parents. The following report provides further details of the many activities and accomplishments which underlie this progress.
Automation is critical to the operation and success of the Child Support Enforcement Program. States would not have the means to locate noncustodial parents who are delinquent in child support payments or to make collections if it were not for a comprehensive, reliable, flexible, and secure automated system.
At the Federal level, the Office of Child Support Enforcement was charged with the responsibility of developing the initial Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS). Today, the expanded FPLS includes several mission-critical systems supporting OCSE business processes and one State-to-State communications network. The specific FPLS systems that support OCSE in achieving its goals are the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH), Federal Case Registry (FCR), Intergovernmental Referral Guide (IRG), Child Support Enforcement Network (CSENet), and Federal Offset System.
The FPLS systems have been aligned with four child support-specific functions:
Location/Data Sharing. This involves collecting location, income, and asset information from Federal and State data sources and sharing those data with State CSE agencies. States then use this information for establishing paternities and orders and collecting child support. This information is also used by authorized Federal agencies for reducing erroneous payments and overall program costs.
Collection and Enforcement. This involves initiating enforcement activities at the Federal level on behalf of State CSE agencies. Records in the FPLS Offset File pertaining to delinquent child support obligors are compared against three key sources to collect past-due child support: (1) records maintained by the IRS Financial Management System (FMS) to identify and offset Federal tax refunds and payments to collect past-due support; (2) records held by multi-state financial institutions to identify and permit State Child Support Enforcement agencies to seize accounts to collect past-due support; and (3) in the case of obligors owing more than $5,000 in past-due child support, records maintained by the Department of State to prevent issuance of a passport to those obligors.
Communication. The FPLS facilitates the electronic communication of information pertaining to interstate child support data and case processing procedures between State CSE agencies. This enables the electronic exchange of data between State CSE agencies and other stakeholders.
Research. This involves providing data to authorized Federal and State governmental researchers to assist in the study of measuring and/or improving child support and public benefit programs.
All of these systems enable the child support program to operate more efficiently by providing centralized interfaces and standardized data exchange methods rather than duplicating the functions in each individual State. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides the operating environment for the Federal Case Registry (FCR), National Directory of New Hires (NDNH), and the Federal Offset System (FOS) in accordance with an interagency agreement. OCSE also utilizes SSA’s communications network (SSANet) to facilitate Federal-to-State and Federal-to-Federal agency communications. Additional information on these applications is accessible at www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/newhire/.
How Automation Helps Improve the Program
Fiscal Year 2004 marked the year OCSE concentrated on conducting system certification reviews, as States and territories implemented enhancements to their statewide child support systems to take advantage of the provisions of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). OCSE’s efforts resulted in the certification of 28 States in FY 2004, in addition to the 22 States certified in previous years, as being compliant with PRWORA automation requirements. This brings the total number of States and territories certified as meeting PRWORA automation requirements to 50.
Since the majority of States and territories have operational CSE systems, OCSE sponsored a two-day training meeting in Chicago, Illinois in August 2004 to explain the pros and cons of closing their Information Technology (IT) project. States that can demonstrate that their system has proven to be cost-beneficial can close their IT project and therefore stop providing annual documentation and contracts to OCSE for prior approval. However, if the State anticipates additional enhancements to their CSE system, then they can use the earlier automation cost benefits to justify those new enhancement costs. The training meeting also covered how to provide documentation that their automation benefits exceeded the costs of their automated system, how to pursue enhancements to their statewide systems, and other issues.
In 2004, OCSE assumed the lead among other Federal agencies in the proposed update and revision of the regulations related to State IT plans and procurement approvals. OCSE funded a Federal/State workgroup with representations from Food Stamps, Medicaid, TANF, and Child Welfare programs, as well as the CSE program. Following the recommendations from the State workgroup members, OCSE took the lead in developing a Cost Allocation Methodology Toolkit to assist States that are developing integrated systems, especially those States initiating State enterprise architecture projects.
OCSE is continuing to encourage States to increase the level of automation. In 2004, OCSE began development of guidance on how to automate the child support order review and adjustment process more fully by improving and increasing automated functionality. Also, in FY 2004, OCSE continued to encourage the collection and dissemination of best practices in automation through Section 1115 of the Social Security Act and Special Improvement Project (SIP) grants.
Outcomes Attributed to the FPLS
The FPLS plays a crucial role in helping the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Child Support Enforcement to fulfill its mission in assisting States to secure the financial support upon which millions of our nation’s children depend. The FPLS is not simply used to support Federal and State child support enforcement—it enables OCSE and State CSE agencies to locate parents who have financial obligations and to quickly collect and move money to children who depend on that parental financial support for food, shelter, education, medical care, and other needs. Without technology, the program would not be able to accomplish its mission and provide its services.
In addition, the FPLS data are used across Federal and State agencies to reduce erroneous payments and overall program costs in Public Assistance and Benefit Programs. These data-sharing initiatives reduce redundant investments in Federal Information Technology resources and provide a single source of data for multiple purposes. This also significantly reduces the burden on private and public data providers by eliminating the cost and resources involved in the requirement for multiple submissions.
Since its inception, the FPLS has been a highly useful and effective tool for State and Federal partners. The following provides the benefits realized by the State and Federal partners from accessing the FPLS data processed or maintained by these applications.
Data in the NDNH are automatically compared on a daily basis to data in the FCR to locate putative fathers and noncustodial parents involved in child support cases. Successful matches are returned to the States so they can establish paternity and child support obligations and issue income-withholding orders (IWOs). Each year, the FPLS returns employment data to the States on approximately 4.5 million noncustodial parents and putative fathers (PFs).
To quantify the effectiveness of these tools and States’ use of them to collect interstate child support, OCSE’s Economics Analysis team conducted studies used a random sample of noncustodial parents’ matches resulting from new hire information submitted to the NDNH that were returned to the studied States in FY 2000-FY 2003. The results of each study were reported to each individual State, and compiled to project national numbers. The study found that:
- 35 percent of the sample NDNH new hire matches that had child support orders in place resulted in the issuance of an IWO directly from a State CSE agency to an employer;
- 42 percent of those IWOs resulted in a collection directly attributable to the NDNH-FCR new hire match; and
- The median monthly child support payment in these cases was $234.
It is estimated that over $109 million is collected annually in these thirteen States due to these matches. By projecting these results nationally, an estimated $400 million in child support would be collected annually.
The methodology for estimating collections attributable to NDNH data can be found in A Guidebook for a Common Methodology for Determining NDNH-Attributable Child Support Collections on the ACF website at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css/resource/guidebook-for-a-common-meth....
- During tax year 2004, a total of 6.9 million child support cases, with arrearages of $75.7 billion, were certified for Federal tax and administrative offset. Administrative offset payments would be any payments eligible for offset under the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA) that are not Federal income tax refunds. The Federal Offset Program collected almost $1.5 billion in delinquent child support by offsetting tax refunds and other administrative payments to delinquent child support obligors. Of this total, approximately 47 percent was targeted for reimbursement of TANF payments; the remaining 53 percent was collected for non-public assistance child support debt.
- The State Department denies over 60 passports per day through the Passport Denial Program, resulting in $12.5 million in lump sum payments during FY 2004. Since the inception of the program in 1998, cumulative collections exceed $41.1 million.
- During FY 2004, account matches for over 1 million obligors identified through the Multistate Financial Institution Data Match (MSFDM) were returned to the States each quarter. States reported $104 million in collections as a result of these matches. Since the program began in 1999, cumulative collections total approximately $272.4 million.
- Over 7.9 million interstate transactions to facilitate communication among State child support enforcement agencies occurred in FY 2004 through the CSENet.
In addition to supporting the Child Support Enforcement Program mission, the FPLS has also generated savings for other Federal agencies by providing them with data, as authorized by statute, to help them prevent and recoup erroneous payments in public assistance and benefits programs. Through these matches, the FPLS has greatly facilitated OCSE’s support of and contributions to the President’s Management Agenda, with a specific concentration on the Improved Financial Performance Initiative. In addition, these matches have facilitated agency compliance with the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 and agencies’ preparations of their Performance and Accountability Reports. FPLS data have been used in intragovernmental and intergovernmental data-sharing initiatives, resulting in savings totaling over $3 billion, as follows:
Higher Education Loans and Grants – More than $2.77 billion was collected in FY 2004 by the Department of Education from student loan defaulters, based upon matches against data maintained in the NDNH (based on information reported to OCSE by the Department of Education).
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – $713 million in tax refunds were frozen by the IRS on the basis of combined data from the FCR and SSA and analysis of EITC claims of 269,000 taxpayers for Tax Year 2004 (based on information reported to OCSE by IRS’s EITC Department).
- Supplemental Security Income – Approximately $371 million was collected in recovery of overpayments and prevention of future overpayments in FY 2004 (based on a cost/benefit analysis conducted by SSA).
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – In FY 2004, a pilot project overseen by OCSE and the Office of Family Assistance compared data in the NDNH with TANF data maintained by the District of Columbia’s (DC) Income Maintenance Administration. According to a report by the DC Income Maintenance Administration, the pilot resulted in the identification of 6,681 TANF recipients who were employed, yet failed to report earnings as a condition of TANF eligibility. Independent verification of the results of the data comparison (conducted by the TANF office) resulted in case actions generating annualized savings of over $9.8 million.
Expanding Electronic Government
OCSE recognizes that information technology is critical to the mission of the CSE program. To that end, OCSE has identified numerous areas in which program efficiencies and capabilities may be enhanced through the expanded use of electronics, including streamlining government-to-government, government-to-business, and government-to-citizen communications. These initiatives are outlined below:
Government-to-Government. The FPLS streamlines government-to-government communication in the following ways:
Electronic Transmission of Child Support through the E-Payroll Initiative. OCSE participates in the standardization and consolidation of the Federal civilian payroll services to promote the electronic transmission of child support payments owed by Federal employees from the payroll center to State CSE programs.
Identification of Health Coverage for Children. OCSE conducted a pilot match to identify actual and potential coverage for children receiving child support services and to determine whether a State CSE agency should electronically transmit a National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) to the Department of Defense (DoD) via OCSENet. This match was between more than 2 million FCR records related to child support cases from Ohio and New York and the Defense Department’s records on medical coverage for military dependents. It is estimated that these matches save States $1.00 to $10.00 per NMSN.
Query Interstate Cases for Kids (QUICK) Electronic Access to Child Support Payment Data. OCSE, State CSE programs, and other stakeholders are collaborating on a pilot project designed to efficiently provide authorized child support personnel in one State with real-time access to financial and case information in another State for purposes of processing cases and providing customer service to parents receiving child support services.
Electronic Reporting of New Hires and Wage Data by Federal Agencies. Federal law requires Federal employers to report newly hired employees and quarterly wages of their employees to the NDNH. The FPLS provides employers with an electronic option to comply with the reporting requirement.
Government-to-Business. The FPLS streamlines government-to-business communication in the following ways:
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)/Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). EFT/EDI is the primary method for sending payments electronically through the banking system. During 2004, OCSE continued to assist the States in increasing the number of employers that send child support payments electronically to the State Disbursement Units (SDUs). OCSE also assisted States in converting their own interstate payments to electronic payments. During 2004, OCSE continued working with national employer organizations (like the American Payroll Association), Federal agencies (including large Federal payroll service providers like the General Services Administration, the National Finance Center, the National Business Center, and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service), and State CSE agencies to increase the number of employers sending child support payments electronically to the State disbursement units (SDUs). By the end of 2004, e-payments for child support increased to about 25 percent of total payments. All States except South Carolina now accept child support payments electronically.
OCSE’s outreach in 2004 included monthly teleconferences, presentations to developers of payroll software, information dissemination, training, and technical assistance to large employers (through presentations at conferences of the American Payroll Association) and major private and Federal payroll service providers. Some additional results of these promotional activities include:
All large private payroll service providers are sending child support payments electronically.
Ninety-five percent of Federal agency payroll processors are remitting child support payments electronically.
Most States are now sending their interstate payments electronically.
About 20 States/counties have implemented web-based payment services for employers and/or noncustodial parents as an alternate payment option to EFT/EDI.
Most States have implemented electronic disbursement of child support to custodial parents through the use of direct deposit for those with bank accounts or debit cards for those without bank accounts.
E-Income Withholding by Employers. OCSE, States, and employers, including the United States Postal Service (USPS), piloted a program to reduce the burden on employers, eliminate paper forms, and promote EFT/EDI. This program enables a State CSE agency to electronically communicate to an employer standardized data that currently includes a notice to withhold child support from an employee’s income and enables the employer to electronically acknowledge receipt of the data.
Electronic Registration for Multistate Employers. The FPLS allows an employer conducting business in more than one State to comply with Federal law by registering with the FPLS electronically and designating a single State to which the employer will report data on “newly-hired” employees. This electronic option provides employers with a one-stop point of service and eliminates the need to collect the same information multiple times.
Government-to-Citizens. The FPLS streamlined government-to-citizen communication by implementing a redesign of the FPLS section of the OCSE website to make it easier for parents and other individuals to access information about the child support program.
Federal Oversight and Funding of State Automation Programs
ACF supported the development of automated information systems for CSE Programs since 1981 by providing enhanced (up to 90%) Federal Financial Participation (FFP). This support provided States with the financial resources to develop and acquire cost-effective automated systems to meet the requirements of law. Despite the availability of FFP, State development and implementation of compliant child support enforcement systems was slow. To stimulate development, Congress passed the Family Support Act of 1988 mandating the implementation of automated CSE systems in every State, requiring that such systems be fully operational no later than October 1, 1995 and rescinding FFP for systems development and equipment costs effective September 30, 1995.
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 reinstated FFP at a 90 percent rate, with limits, retroactive to October 1, 1995 and through September 1, 1997 to enable States to complete the development and implementation of a child support system that meets the requirements of the Family Support Act.
PRWORA also provided FFP at an enhanced rate of 80 percent (capped at $400 million total share), for systems development and implementation costs related to the automation requirements of PRWORA, and established a deadline of October 1, 2000. This enhanced funding authority expired on October 1, 2001. States not compliant by the statutory deadline faced either State plan disapproval or an alternative systems penalty that increased every year they were out of compliance.
During FY 2004, OCSE conducted system certification reviews, as States and territories implemented enhancements to their statewide CSE systems to take advantage of the provisions of PRWORA. These efforts resulted in the certification of 28 States in FY 2004, in addition to the 22 States certified in previous years, as being compliant with PRWORA automation requirements. This brings the total number of certified States and territories to 50.
Training and Technical Assistance
OCSE works in partnership with the Federal/State Training and Technical Assistance Work Groups, ACF regional offices, other OCSE components, and national organizations to provide training and technical assistance to the child support community. In FY 2004, technical assistance and training were provided in a variety of key operational areas listed below:
Collaborative Initiatives – IV-D and Courts
Following the May 2003 Second National Symposium on Children, Courts, and the Federal Child Support Enforcement Program (with the goal of improving collaboration between child support agencies and the courts and judiciary), the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) issued resolutions identifying three collaboration priorities and strategies for each priority area: (1) uncollectible arrears, (2) default orders, and (3) interstate case processing.
In early 2004, OCSE formed the National Judicial/CSE Task Force to take the next steps. The task force is comprised of 35 core members and represents a wide cross section of national court/judicial organizations, trial and appellate judges, State/tribal child support agencies, and OCSE. Its members come from 22 States. It has been at the forefront for many important and ongoing initiatives between the IV–D and court/judicial communities. It currently operates under six subcommittees: arrears management/order modification, inter-jurisdictional case processing/electronic data exchange, education/cross training for all stakeholders, collaborative planning; problem solving courts, and reducing default orders.
Collaborative Initiatives Between Child Support, TANF, and Workforce Investment
A goal of OCSE is to encourage child support agencies and courts to refer unemployed or underemployed noncustodial parents to One-Stop Centers under the Workforce Investment Act and other workforce investment operations to improve their ability to support themselves and their families.
OCSE has worked with the Department of Labor’s Employment Training Administration for the past several years to develop awareness and encourage collaboration between child support enforcement and workforce investment agencies at the Federal, State, and local levels.
In addition, OCSE, along with the Department of Labor and the Administration for Children and Families Office of Family Assistance, developed a seminar curriculum on improving program outcomes through interagency collaboration. The seminar, designed for State and local office and regional managers from Child Support, TANF, and workforce investment, demonstrates the advantages of working together to achieve program goals to help client families. One of the goals of this initiative is to increase the referral of noncustodial parents to workforce offices by both child support and TANF.
In FY 2004, OCSE delivered training to 6 States (Delaware, Colorado, Washington, North Dakota, Arizona, and Pennsylvania). At the end of each seminar, the group produced an action plan to be carried out.
Here are some highlights of actions following the training:
In North Dakota, one of the most significant training benefits was that State CSE staff learned a great deal about the array of services available through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Programs. Another significant benefit was that local CSE staff were able to meet and discuss issues with Job Service staff from their geographical area. After diagramming the programs' operations and points of intersection, it was determined that the biggest collaboration needs were between the CSE Program and the JOB Service Program. The primary area identified for collaboration between the two programs related to noncustodial parent work activities. The existing collaboration between CSE and TANF, and between TANF and JOB Service, was already fairly strong; thus, issues surrounding those interactions tended to be more detailed and process-oriented, rather than systemic.
North Dakota proceeded with implementation of a pilot project entitled “Parental Employment Pilot,” which addresses work activity among noncustodial parents. That project involves collaboration of all three programs. North Dakota also developed and obtained funding for the Parental Employment Pilot Project. The program is now in full operation. An individual has been hired to provide case management for noncustodial parents who are having difficulty meeting their child support obligations. Referrals to the program come from Child Support offices or judges that have jurisdiction in this area. Several job placements have taken place as a result of these referrals.
As a result of the Collaboration Meeting, TANF program administrators met with Child Support officials and they continue to meet regularly with JOBS workers. A change in eligibility requirements for TANF, called "Up Front Eligibility" has resulted in increased communication and collaboration between TANF workers and the other two entities. Clients applying for TANF are now required to provide information on the noncustodial parent to child support and begin cooperating with JOBS before eligibility for TANF is determined. North Dakota also has a mental health professional available to TANF recipients.
Washington State decided, at the collaboration seminar in August, to convene an interagency workgroup to address improving child support collections for TANF families. The group was sponsored by the Director of the Community Services Division and the Director of the Division of Child Support. The Steering Committee consisted of several Community Services Division Regional Administrators, Division of Child Support District Managers, and staff from the Information and Technology Division. The State is working on cross-training and identification of problem areas to improve data collection and retrieval.
Collaborative Efforts between Regions II & III
HHS Regional Child Support offices in New York (Region II) and Philadelphia (Region III) collaborated in a series of Bi-Regional Interstate Meetingsin March 2004. These meetings allowed larger jurisdictions in these regions an opportunity to discuss ways of improving the processing of interstate cases. As a result, State contact directories were sent to meeting participants to facilitate their efforts in communicating with each other. Additionally, several bi-regional conference calls took place to discuss and provide some resolution to specific issues within the interstate program. Areas of discussion included how to eliminate barriers to interstate collections, why order establishment ishigher on interstate cases than on intrastate cases,and what can be done to improve service of process.
Region II sponsored the fourth round in a series of urban meetings in collaboration with Region III in June 2004. The goals of these meetings were to discuss issues involving mass processing of cases in large urban jurisdictions and to improve services to clients in these areas. As a result of these meetings, staff from New Jersey and several other States visited the Philadelphia Domestic Relations Division to observe child support unit functions for possible replication in their jurisdictions. Participants were specifically interested in seeing the legal process and Philadelphia’s systems, including paternity testing procedures, paternity establishment, enforcement, service of process, case management, Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) registration procedures, outreach, and arrears processes and projects.
New Training Curricula
A new trainer guide, entitled “Working with the Military on Child Support Matters,” was initially produced in late 2003. This guide underwent substantial revisions necessitated by the passage of the Service Members Civil Relief Act in FY 2004. The curriculum was successfully presented as a pilot to child support trainers and military executives and then as a field trial for CSE caseworkers. This comprehensive guide contains a two-day course curriculum targeted for CSE workers who process cases involving military members.
14th National Training Conference
As the Child Support Enforcement program grows and builds on its past accomplishments, its future direction promises exciting opportunities for the CSE community. The 14th National Child Support Enforcement Training Conference, held in Arlington,Virginia, in September 2004, was the forum for “Scaling New Heights in Child Support.” While the main topic of this conference was the National Child Support Enforcement Strategic Plan, other topics included:
- re-evaluating the structure and operations of automation systems;
- promoting early intervention practices;
- final rules for the Tribal Child Support Enforcement program;
- innovative approaches to improve performance on child support enforcement processes; and
- lessons learned in child support healthy marriage projects.
Urban and Rural Jurisdictions Academies
Meetings, referred to as Urban Academies, began in FY 2002 and continued through FY 2004. The focus of these meetings was on exchanging information on performance-related issues and practices common to child support enforcement agencies in large jurisdictions.
“Reunion” calls, or audio conferences, with Academy participants and subject matter experts were held on topics identified for follow-up, including service of process, effective enforcement techniques, and mass case processing.
OCSE and regional staff also held audio conferences with rural counties. Approximately 25 rural counties participated in a total of six audio conferences.
The OCSE Region III office in Philadelphia organized conference calls with the rural county offices (Domestic Relations Sections) and the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement in Pennsylvania. These interactive calls covered many topics affecting rural child support offices, including:
- trends in local offices (customer service, local budgets, etc.);
- distinguishing characteristics of high performing offices; and
- job loss and how rural economic trends affect child support orders and collections
These calls were replicated with several local rural offices throughout the nation.
OCSE IV-A/IV-D Academy for Urban Centers
On June 14-15, 2004, OCSE sponsored a IV-A/IV-D Collaboration Academy for several urban sites with large caseloads. The purpose of this meeting was to improve TANF and child support collaboration. The four jurisdictions were: Houston/Harris County, TX, Los Angeles County, CA, New York City, NY, and Philadelphia, PA. OCSE asked these urban areas to develop action plans and special initiatives to improve collaboration efforts and share them with other agencies. A couple of examples are:
- Los Angeles held an urban summit with over 400 staff and developed specific office action plans to implement summit recommendations; and
- Philadelphia provided training to TANF staff to improve data exchange and successfully piloted several IV-A/IV-D co-location offices.
The CSE Program has maintained its commitment to ensuring that child support is a reliable source of income for families. In this regard, ensuring that money collected on behalf of children is actually distributed to them continues to be a national priority.
In FY 2004, about 97 percent of the $21.9 billion collected was distributed to families as required and about $657 million remained undistributed.
In FY 2004, a Federal workgroup developed a “UDC Monitoring Guide” to systematically monitor undistributed collections on a nationwide basis. This monitoring guide enables Federal OCSE staff to identify States with high levels of undistributed collections and to offer appropriate consultation and technical assistance when needed.
Understanding the Child Support Debt
As of September 30, 2004, States reported that the total amount of unpaid child support debt that has accumulated since the program began in 1975 is $102 billion. While the $102 billion in arrears is often compared to the annual distributed collections, it is important to note that arrears include all overdue child support currently owed, regardless of the year in which it first came due. In the past 30 years, the child support enforcement program has collected and distributed $239 billion in child support. (The amount of debt reported by the States is slightly overstated because in interstate cases both States that are involved can report the arrears.)
A top priority for the OCSE program is to gain a greater understanding of child support debt. With more knowledge about the composition of unpaid child support debt, the program should be able to design and implement more effective strategies to collect arrears from those who have the ability to pay and develop more appropriate policies for low-income parents who are unable to pay.
The Office of Child Support Enforcement and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation contracted with the Urban Institute to conduct a “Child Support Debt Analysis Study” for nine large States. The purpose of this study is to identify the composition of child support debt, the causes for its growth, and steps to curb future arrears growth.
Preliminary results from this study show that most arrears are highly concentrated among a relatively small number of noncustodial parents and most arrears are held by those with no or low reported wages. The research suggests that some of the arrears’ growth results from orders that are too high relative to the noncustodial parent’s reported income. Many orders could benefit from more timely review and adjustment.
Another factor the research found to be contributing to arrears growth is assessment of interest. About one-third of the States assess interest routinely; another third assess interest on an intermittent basis; and the remaining third do not charge interest on arrears. Early results also show that most arrears are owed by debtors who owe large amounts of arrears, and charging interest concentrates arrears among this group even further. For example, in States that charge interest routinely, debtors who owed over $40,000 in arrears owe over half of the arrears in those States. In States that do not charge interest, the debtors who owed over $40,000 owed less than 30 percent of the total arrears in those States.
Some other factors that contribute to arrears are:
- default orders and imputed income;
- orders that are not modified when circumstances change;
- retroactive support; and
- incomplete enforcement.
Individual States are also studying their debt and experimenting with ways to better manage arrears. Such efforts include adopting new procedures, setting more appropriate orders for low-income parents, and/or expanding resources to enhance collection capabilities.
In FY 2004, OCSE developed the FY 2005-2009 National Child Support Enforcement Strategic Plan. One of the guiding principles of the Strategic Plan is to take prompt, proactive steps to ensure that appropriate levels of child support are paid on time and consistently to prevent the accrual of unpaid child support. Until recently, child support has followed a business model predicated on enforcement, as the name “child support enforcement” implies. That is, the system intervened only after substantial debt accumulated, and often too late for collection to be successful. Appropriately applied, severe enforcement remedies have their place, but this new principle will help to build a culture of compliance, in which parents support their children voluntarily and reliably.
Early intervention to prevent the unnecessary build-up of arrears benefits both families and States in numerous ways, from improving collection rates to keeping noncustodial parents from running underground to avoid overwhelming and largely uncollectible arrears. So, the Plan provides for proactive efforts to:
- modify orders to ensure that obligations stay consistent with ability to pay;
- contact noncustodial parents soon after a scheduled payment is missed;
- update child support guidelines to recognize modern family dynamics such as shared custody, incomes of custodial parties;
- use automation to detect noncompliance as early as possible; and
- require reliable payment of current support, even if it means compromising uncollectible arrears to bring the noncustodial parent back into the fold.
The Child Support Performance and Incentive Act of 1998 (CSPIA) mandated the establishment of the Medical Child Support Working Group (MCSWG) to identify impediments to the effective enforcement of medical support. The MCSWG report (June 2000) contained recommendations for improving medical support enforcement and access to health care coverage for children receiving IV-D services.
The CSPIA also mandated establishment of the Medical Support Incentive Workgroup (MSIW) to develop a performance measure of the effectiveness of States in establishing and enforcing medical support obligations. In response to the recommendations of the MCSWG and the MSIW, OCSE has continued to work with State partners and stakeholders in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Department of Labor in developing legislative proposals. OCSE has also continued its consultation with State partners in developing regulatory revisions to improve the establishment and enforcement of medical support, including the issues of availability and affordability of employer-sponsored coverage.
Additionally, CSPIA mandated the development of the National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) to improve the administration of medical support obligations. The NMSN regulation was promulgated December 27, 2000. As of October 1, 2004, almost all States had enacted laws to require the use of the NMSN in cases where the obligated parent has medical support provisions in the child support order and may be able to provide health care coverage through employer-provided insurance. The remaining States are seeking legislation or are in the process of implementing/automating the NMSN.
The Employer Outreach team, a component in the Federal OCSE, continues to provide extensive technical assistance to employers on the NMSN through articles in publications, presentations at conferences and teleconferences, and explanatory material on its website. For example, the NMSN matrix informs employers of each State’s implementation date for the NMSN, the State’s priority between child support and medical support, and the State’s contact person for additional information. In addition, the OCSE website has a downloadable version of the NMSN for use by State workers. The Employer Outreach team continues to assist States with individual requests.
OCSE issued guidance regarding medical support enforcement and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This guidance responds to issues from States, employers, and health insurance plan administrators about the HIPAA privacy provisions.
In response to MCSWG recommendations, OCSE and other Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) components sponsored research projects to improve establishment and enforcement of appropriate medical support obligations: (1) The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), in consultation with OCSE, sponsored research addressing health care coverage among child support-eligible children; (2) ASPE also sponsored research addressing State practices in medical child support cross-program coordination with Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP); and (3) OCSE sponsored Special Improvement Project grants to assist States in the enforcement of the custodial parent’s health insurance coverage, to decrease Medicaid and SCHIP funds spent on children’s medical coverage, and to increase the number of cases where premium costs are shared in a balanced manner between parents. OCSE has also included medical support as one of the five priority areas for research demonstration activities to add to the knowledge ad to promote the objectives of the child support enforcement program.
The OCSE Strategic Plan for 2005-2009, developed in 2004, includes the establishment and enforcement of medical support as a stand-alone goal. OCSE acknowledges that the provision of medical coverage by the custodial parent (or step-parent) may be a better option for many children. In addition, the program recognizes its role in assisting States to control their Medicaid expenditures by placing the financial responsibility for health care on the family, not the taxpayer, to the greatest extent possible. The OCSE Strategic Plan includes indicators for both the establishment and enforcement of medical support, as well as the percentage of IV-D children with health care coverage from any source and the Medicaid cost savings attributable to OCSE medical support efforts.
OCSE provided demonstration grant funding to the State of Georgia to develop and implement a model to expand private health insurance coverage through use of volume purchasing arrangements with private health plans. This would be the court-ordered option if neither the custodial parent nor the noncustodial parent has employer-sponsored insurance.
The child support enforcement community recognizes that it has a unique role to play in increasing the extent to which children receive health coverage. OCSE is planning regional medical support meetings to bring State directors from Medicaid, State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), child welfare (IV-E), and child support enforcement (IV-D) to collaborate on ways to increase medical support for children and Medicaid cost savings through child support enforcement.
Grants to States and Other Organizations
Section 1115 Demonstration Grants
Section 1115(a) of the Social Security Act provides OCSE with authority to fund demonstration grants. Only State Title IV-D agencies, or the State umbrella agencies of which they are a part, can receive the grants. The agencies can contract with other agencies, universities, or private consultants to join in these efforts. States must apply for these funds in response to a grant announcement of the availability of funds.
In FY 2004, OCSE awarded the following 15 new Section 1115 grants:
Ohio was awarded $50,000 to test the hypothesis that more information provided to noncustodial parents at first contact will result in more paternity and order establishment and more collections. The State proposes to employ "navigators" at the agency and at the court to provide this information and to refer noncustodial parents to counseling, employment, legal, or other community services.
Texas was awarded $125,000 to test (in Harris County) whether referral to Access and Visitation Enforcement services will result in regular child support payments. Nonpaying cases with minor-aged children of ten or younger with no domestic violence or serious substance abuse issues will be selected for the study to determine if enhanced Access and Visitation services will result in more regular payments. Selected parents will receive a free consultation with an attorney followed by mediation services. Parents in this high-level treatment group will also have educational programming available to them on subjects of co-parenting and relationship building.
Georgia, with a grant of $125,000, proposes to set up a controlled test of services provided under Georgia’s federally-funded Access and Visitation program. Services provided to the experimental group will be a mix of case intake and assessment, counseling or individual parent education, development of parenting plans, mediations, and supervised visitation and neutral exchanges.
Florida was awarded $124,144 to establish collaboration between its 11th Judicial Circuit Court system and the Child Support program to create a new Family Division Section within the court system to address access and visitation issues and to develop a simplified hearing process for child support cases. Two hypotheses will be tested. The first is that the associated hearing process and increased services will increase non-custodial parent involvement with their children. The second is that increased access and visitation will increase compliance with child support orders.
Colorado, with a grant of $125,000, proposes to demonstrate the effect of providing access and visitation services to parties with child support cases on collections. The State will place a child access specialist in each of three county child support offices to screen parties to determine the scope of their access and visitation issues, assess what services would most effectively address the issues, link the parties to services in the community, and provide some direct services. The key issue to be determined is whether a State can associate increased collections and access of noncustodial parents to their children through the services of such a full-time specialist.
Florida, with a grant of $99,853, will test the use of video-communications and electronic signatures to eliminate the need for clients to go physically from the IV-A office to the IV-D office and vice versa, at the intake phase. The interviews will be used by child support staff to gather child support information immediately from public assistance applicants who are uncooperative. The video-communications will enable applicants and TANF staff in Pensacola to be interviewed by child support staff located in the central office (Tallahassee). The project goals coincide with performance measures listed in the project announcement: improve paternity establishment, improve the rate of order establishment, and increase child support collections. Other goals include increasing the completeness of application information, streamlining the procedures, increasing client knowledge, reducing time to locate noncustodial parents, improving customer satisfaction, and improving the obligation rate.
Massachusetts was awarded $100,000 to establish a collaboration between its child support and TANF agencies to improve the information gathered from TANF applicants about custodial parents and noncustodial parents. Currently, the IV-A interviewers spend 15 minutes or less on child support materials during the intake interview that lasts an hour and a half to two hours. In this project, the child support information will be scripted and presented first in the interview by the child support worker in half of the cases and by the TANF worker in the other half. The procedures will be targeted on cases close to self-sufficiency and/or nearing the end of their benefits period to heighten the possibility of generating child support. The hypothesis is that there will be increases in paternity and order establishment and a reduction in the time to establish paternity and support orders.
The District of Columbia was awarded $86,574 to improve TANF referrals to the IV-D Program through co-locating of TANF and CSE workers. In this project, DC will set up one or more cubicles in the Anacostia office, with staff from both programs sitting side-by-side with monitors on the same desk. Five hundred clients will be randomly assigned to the treatment group with a joint intake and 500 to the control group (with the current TANF intake process). The joint location ensures that the same, correct, and complete information is entered into the databases for both programs.
Nebraska, with a grant of $72,466, will use innovative telecommunication strategies to increase collections. The State has a prize-winning phone system for customer service contact, which has been used primarily by custodial parents. The system will be extended to noncustodial parents throughout the State. The State seeks to reach half the noncustodial parents with new court orders. Two experienced call center staff will make targeted outbound calls to identify new noncustodial parents when they first become delinquent in their payments and interact with them early in the child support process in order to build long-term relationships.
Iowa was awarded $29,000 to improve collections and regular payments from noncustodial parents by assigning caseloads stratified by likely cooperation. Iowa seeks to shape a trusting relationship with child support program customers, particularly noncustodial parents, to encourage them to engage in the support establishment process and in problem solving if they encounter difficulty in making their support payments. Advanced statewide training will be provided to enhance child support specialists’ ability to initiate personal contacts in a manner that succeeds in gaining noncustodial involvement in support establishment and encouraging their compliance with support orders.
Tennessee, with a grant of $62,300, will apply the Australian system of monitoring and using early intervention to improve collections and avoid arrears. Tennessee will stratify cases based upon an assessment completed at the time that the child support order is established and identify financial and other parental characteristics that may be predictive of the likelihood of compliance. The case stratification will also be used to identify what interventions may be appropriate for the case, such as more frequent personal contact with NCPs, prompt modification of orders if necessary, and additional reminders to NCPs (including monthly reminders by mail or telephone). Case stratification will enable the child support agency to better identify NCPs who are in need of services to address employment and parenting issues. An additional component of the proposed project will be to identify cases with unmarried parents who may benefit from marriage in order to refer them to marriage assistance programs.
Delaware was awarded $50,000 to test procedures to meet paternity establishment standards. Delaware will develop mechanisms to assure that data entries are reliable and complete; it also will provide training to staff to more accurately capture paternity-related information in its system. Other steps that the State will take include increasing the presence and extent of materials at hospitals and other medical centers, using educational liaisons to increase the knowledge of incarcerated noncustodial parents, and holding paternity establishment seminars to encourage parents to establish the paternity of their children. The demonstration also seeks to expand its community outreach efforts regarding establishing paternity for children born outside of marriage.
Minnesota, with a grant of $43,000, will demonstrate innovative voluntary paternity establishment practices. The proposal emphasizes that a crucial first step is to identify the barriers that impede voluntary acknowledgement. A key concern is the low paternity acknowledgement rate at one hospital that serves a substantial number of the neediest population. The innovative approach includes the development of alternate locations for paternity establishment, training hospital staff to overcome paternity establishment barriers with an emphasis on culturally sensitive paternity establishment, and recommendations for including marriage promotion activities as part of voluntary paternity establishment efforts.
Georgia was awarded $43,000 to design and implement a model to expand health insurance options for parents through the use of volume purchasing arrangements with private health plans. The goal of this project is to increase the number of children in IV-D cases with health care coverage.
West Virginia, with a grant of $43,000, proposes to develop a 10-12 minute video and brochures to provide information about child support to incarcerated parents. Trained prison staff will show the video to inmates before release. The State has 2,643 inmates in 10 jails, 1,036 of whom have child support obligations. About 80 percent of inmates are released each year. The executive director of the regional jail authority will select inmates who will appear in the video. Anticipated benefits of the project include more realistic orders, improved collections, a better collection to/order ratio for the State, reduced contempt petitions for nonpayment, and better compliance with support orders by released inmates.
Special Improvement Project Grants
The purpose of the Special Improvement Project (SIP) grant program is to provide funding for projects that further the national child support mission and goals and help improve program performance. Under the authority of section 452(j) of the Social Security Act, SIP grants provide Federal funds for research and demonstration programs and special projects of regional or national significance relating to the operation of State child support enforcement programs. Eligible applicants include State and local public agencies, non-profit agencies (including faith-based organizations), and tribal organizations.
In FY 2004, OCSE awarded the following 12 SIP grants:
The Michigan Supreme Court received $100,000 to collaborate with the Office of Child Support, local courts, the Detroit College of Law, and other agencies to test the value of video and teleconferencing in granting the prison population access to child support proceedings. It is hoped that these collaborators will help incarcerated parents to avoid the build-up of past-due support.
The Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania, received $99,978 to test the effectiveness of allowing nonresident parents to appear at interstate hearings through video and teleconferencing.
The Center for Policy Research received $99,926 to conduct an assessment of early case intervention techniques in five States (Oregon, Wisconsin, Texas, Colorado, and Massachusetts).
The Connecticut Judicial Branch received $100,000 to use a comprehensive client outreach approach, both personal and automated, that seeks to increase collections and customer satisfaction.
The Louisiana Family Council received $100,000 to collaborate with Support Enforcement, Orleans Family Court, community organizations, and other agencies to combine programs for diverse populations into service delivery strategies focusing on client barriers. The project aims to educate judges and support staff to culturally responsive approaches to child support, identify barriers to effective service delivery (and develop ways to reduce/eliminate them), and educate clients and the public.
The Urban Institute received $100,000 to develop high-quality online child support information for ethnically and culturally diverse populations. The project examines research on the opportunities and barriers that ethnic and culturally diverse populations face in the Nation’s child support enforcement program, identifies available high-quality information, and conducts focus groups in two communities (Washington, D.C. and Portland, Oregon) in order to develop information on child support that would be more responsive to these populations.
Iowa received $100,000 for a project in which State and local child support staff will teach the general public and community-based and faith-based service providers about the impact of marriage and single-parent child-rearing on children. The child support staff will sponsor contests, provide classes, participate in young men’s groups, and use public service announcements to educate young parents about ways to meet their responsibilities for their children.
Tennessee received $100,000 for a project in Shelby County to educate unwed parents on parental responsibility, to promote healthy marriage, and to obtain voluntary acknowledgements of paternity. The project will provide marriage and child support information in social service and clinical settings.
The Circuit Court of Baltimore County received $150,815 to increase employment opportunities for parents who owe support by combining court oversight with case management and links to employment and training.
San Francisco Child Support Services received $200,000 for developing ways to reduce the number of default support orders and the number of cases in which imputed income is used to establish orders. The project will address educational, cultural, and economic barriers to parental involvement. The goals of this project are to reduce default rates and arrearages and to increase payment rates.
Vermont received $100,000 to improve the automated data exchange between child support, Medicaid, and employers to increase access to private and public health insurance options available to the family. The project seeks to increase the frequency of medical support in orders, compliance with orders, and children enrolled in insurance plans. The project also seeks to thereby reduce Medicaid costs.
Texas received $100,000 to determine the cost-effectiveness of identifying parental interests in pensions and retirement plans and encumbering and seizing them to increase support collections.
Access and Visitation Grants
Program goals for the “Grants to States for Access and Visitation” program, as set in statute, are to:
- enable States to establish and administer programs and
- support and facilitate noncustodial parents’ access to and visitation of their children.
Services include, but are not limited to:
- mediation (mandatory and voluntary);
- education (e.g., parent education);
- development of parenting plans;
- visitation enforcement (monitored or supervised visitation);
- neutral drop-off/pick-up; and
- development of guidelines for visitation and alternative custody arrangements.
Since FY 1996, funding for access and visitation has remained a constant $10 million per year. However, grants to individual States may change based on the funding formula that is set in statute. There is a minimum annual grant award. States with small populations are guaranteed a base grant amount of $100,000, and those States with large populations are awarded a larger grant amount based on the prescribed funding formula. States are required by law to provide a minimum of 10 percent of the total program costs.
Federal law requires States to monitor, evaluate, and report on services funded through access and visitation. This requirement is satisfied through the annual submission of the “State Child Access Program Survey,” which includes:
- State agency contact information;
- services funded;
- provider agency contact information;
- number of parents served;
- socio-economic and demographic information on families served; and
- outcome data (i.e., actual increase in noncustodial parenting time with children).
A record number of parents (nearly 71,000) received access and visitation services in fiscal year 2004 (see Chart A). Slightly more mothers (35,217) than fathers (32,906) were served and nearly 2,262 grandparents and legal guardians-who had primary custodial responsibility of children-were beneficiaries of these services as well. It is anticipated that roughly 80,000 children were positively affected by their parents’ participation in access and visitation programs during this time period.
Approximately 40 percent of the total number of parents who received access and visitation services in FY 2004 were unmarried. In addition, divorced parents constituted 28 percent of the total number of parents served; 19 percent of parents were legally separated; and 13 percent reported they were still married to each other. Out of the 32,906 fathers served, States report that 18,323 noncustodial parents were able to obtain increased parenting time with their children. The majority of parents served have annual incomes of less than $20,000.
On average, States continue to fund a range of access and visitation services although parent education, mediation, and supervised visitation ranked among the most popular programs. For additional information on this grant program, see Preliminary Data: Child Access and Visitation Grants – State Profiles (FY 2004). This report can be accessed on OCSE’s website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse.
*This chart is based on data reported by 53 states and territories for FY 2004. Data were collected on grandparents and legal guardians during fiscal years 2003 - 2004.
Healthy Marriages Initiative Waivers
The Secretary approved the following Section 1115 waivers in FY 2004, allowing States and approved sites to provide healthy marriage education integrated with Child Support Enforcement. These services to parents are intended to strengthen relationships and foster marriage when appropriate. This education is to be voluntary and gender neutral; domestic violence protocols are required. Federal funds of 66% must be matched by 34% State and local non-child support funds.
- Michigan was funded at $1,000,000 to provide healthy marriage education to parents recruited through 10 faith-based community organizations in low-income areas and other sources.
- Minnesota was funded at $989,999 to provide healthy marriage mentoring from minority married couples to young low-income unwed parent couples located through hospital pre-natal and post-natal programs and in-hospital paternity programs.
- Louisiana was funded at $924,000 to provide healthy marriage education programs integrated with child support information to young unwed low-income parents around the time of the birth of the child.
- Illinois was funded at $925,650 to give marriage and child support education to young unwed parent couples at local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) centers and those recruited by hospital-related pre- and post-natal programs.
The Technology Transfer (TT) Program usually enables a State or local CSE agency to cover expenses associated with traveling to another jurisdiction to learn the details of a transferable practice. Some transfers may occur in meetings where issues are discussed and solutions developed. Funds may also be used to write up findings and follow up and report on the implementation of practices. It is anticipated that as a result of the TT there will be improved performance in States that adapt successful practices from other jurisdictions and there will be resolution of cross-State issues.
In Missouri, a one-day meeting was conducted in August 2004 at the Western Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center in St. Joseph by staff from the Missouri Department of Corrections and Region VII for these staff members to share Child Support/Corrections demonstration information with the State of Kansas. Attendees included staff from the Department of Corrections, staff of State and Federal child support offices, and representatives from other partner agencies. Attendees shared information on services to offender noncustodial parents that led to interaction with their children, increased payment of child support, and reduced recidivism for released parents. Missouri and Kansas agreed to meet regularly to develop a concept for a bi-state project in a border city that would assist fathers in obtaining employment, paying their child support, and connecting with their children after they have been released.
Staff from OCSE and from the Missouri Department of Corrections and Missouri Family Support Division gave the presentation at the American Correctional Association’s 134th Congress of Correction in Chicago, Illinois in August 2004. The presentation provided an opportunity to showcase projects funded by OCSE. Missouri had a grant funded by OCSE to promote successful collaborations between State child support and corrections agencies and community/faith-based agencies in addressing the needs of incarcerated fathers and their children. The workshop at the Congress, entitled “Successful Re-Integration” highlighted Fathers for Life, a demonstration program in two Missouri prisons. Administrators and social service workers benefited by learning from a panel of practitioners and policy makers how they can better assist inmates to lessen child support challenges at the time of re-integration. Practitioners learned to navigate the child support system to ensure that child support obligations do not interfere with an inmate’s ability to re-establish relationships with their children and families.
OCSE provided funds for staff from the Los Angeles County Child Support and TANF managers to participate in the IV-A/IV-D Academy in Washington, DC in September 2004. At the Academy, the Los Angeles County Child Support staff developed an action plan for improving services to families and communication between the two programs. Following the Academy, OCSE provided financial assistance for a joint Child Support Services Department (CSSD) and Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) “Blue Ribbon Summit,” which brought together approximately 400 managers and staff from the County child support and TANF programs to brainstorm ideas on how to increase child support collections and income for families.
Four issues identified for further action were:
- expand child support data collection through TANF Home Program Redetermination Process;
- target cases approaching TANF time limits and cases with less than $100 TANF grants for child support collection;
- recognize district/division offices with increased child support collections; and
- provide joint on-going training for both County departments.
Following the summit, staff have been working together to develop and implement new processes/procedures that will result in improved services to customers and increased child support collections.
New Jersey received funds for three staff members to meet with the Michigan program and systems staff to review and discuss aspects of the Michigan Child Support Enforcement (Automated) System (MICSES) in September 2004. The trip allowed New Jersey workers an opportunity to see a system similar to the one they would be building for their own State prior to their evaluation of bids on it. Michigan is now on its first year of implementing the MICSES system and has identified key fundamental issues with the system which affect case structure, including areas of case definition, document generation, archiving, member merge, and solutions, so that these could be taken into consideration by the project leadership in New Jersey. The plan during the visit was to look at the leadership structure that Michigan has put into effect to handle project management problems of this nature and magnitude across the complex structure in which the program operates. Since Michigan is significantly similar to New Jersey in structure, New Jersey wanted to build something similar right from the beginning in order to successfully meet the timeline for re-engineering and assure a quality project outcome.
Focusing on Results
The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) program’s effectiveness is measured through the use of specific performance indicators. Performance indicators were selected that further the goals of the child support program to see that:
- all children have parentage established;
- all children in IV-D cases have financial and medical support orders;
- all children in IV-D cases receive financial and medical support from parents, as ordered; and
- the IV-D program will be efficient and responsive in its operations.
Performance-Based Incentives and Penalties
Since 1975, the Federal government has paid incentives to State child support enforcement programs to encourage improved child support collections through efficient establishment and enforcement techniques. These incentive payments are a key source of funding for State programs. The method for calculating payments changed with the adoption of the Child Support Performance and Incentive Act (CSPIA) in 1998. An Incentive Funding Workgroup composed of State and Federal partners made recommendations to the Secretary to develop this system. Four key elements of the performance-based incentive system include:
- incentive payments based on performance in the five measures: paternity establishment, order establishment, collections on current support due, cases paying toward arrears, and cost-effectiveness;
- reliable and complete data (determined by annual data reliability audits and reviews);
- a capped incentive pool from which States are paid; and
- incentives that must be reinvested into State child support programs.
In FY 2004, 47 States received an incentive for all five measures and seven States received an incentive for four measures. This is a marked improvement over FY 2003 results that show 43 States received an incentive for all five measures, eight States for four measures, and three States for three measures.
The child support enforcement performance-based penalty system provides that a financial penalty be assessed when data submitted for calculating State performance is found to be incomplete or unreliable. Penalties may also be assessed when the calculated level of performance for any of the three penalty measures (paternity establishment, support order establishment, or current collections) fails to achieve a specified level or when States are not in compliance with certain child support requirements. There is an automatic corrective action year if performance measures are not achieved. The corrective action year is the immediately succeeding fiscal year following the year of the deficiency. If the State’s data are determined complete and reliable and the related performance is adequate for the corrective action year, the penalty is not imposed.
If the corrective action was unsuccessful, the financial penalty is a reduction to the State’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. The penalty amount is calculated as one to two percent of the adjusted State Family Assistance Grant (SFAG) for the TANF program for the first year of the deficiency. The penalty amount increases each year, up to five percent, for each consecutive year the State’s data are found to be incomplete, unreliable, or the State’s performance on a penalty measure fails to attain the specified level of performance. In 2004, nine States received a penalty after the FY 2003 corrective action year for the FY 2002 performance period. Six States filed appeals to the Department Appeals Board.
Audits and Data Reliability
The OCSE Office of Audit performs Data Reliability Audits (DRAs) to evaluate the completeness, accuracy, security, and reliability of data reported and produced by State reporting systems. The DRAs help ensure that incentives under the Child Support Performance and Incentives Act of 1998 are earned and paid only on the basis of verifiable data and that the incentive payments system is fair and equitable.
Beginning with the FY 2003 audit period, OCSE identified 12 States as not needing a DRA, primarily because they demonstrated the ability to consistently report reliable data over a period of at least two years and passed all performance standards. States that were excused from an audit were still required to provide audit trails to support the data being reported for incentive purposes, as well as a management assertion that the system used to report the data had not undergone significant change since the last audit. These requirements were necessary to help ensure and protect the integrity and reliability of the data and the incentive payment system. The audit staff performed a limited Data Reliability Review (DRR), primarily to ensure that the audit trails matched the data being reported. A State that was initially determined exempt from a DRA could be subject to the DRA in the same year as the DRR if the DRR disclosed serious problems between the audit trails and the data or if there was some other irregularity about the data being reported such as a sudden, major change that could not be explained. For FY 2004, 15 DRR’s were performed. The goal is to reach a point at which all States are on a three-year annual cycle. This three-year cycle will free up audit resources for other important responsibilities mandated by law (such as administrative cost audits).
Fiscal year 2004 was the fifth year that OCSE calculated and paid incentives to States for meeting performance standards in five performance measure areas. DRAs for FY 2004 showed continued improvement over FY 2003 results. Fifty States and jurisdictions passed the DRA/DRR for FY 2004, compared with 48 in the previous year. For the second year in a row, the lines for reporting paternity information on the OCSE-157 Report* were the only lines in error. In FY 2004, only four States, as compared to six States in FY 2003, did not meet the data reliability standard for the paternity measure. All States passed the DRA for cost-effectiveness in FYs 2002, 2003, and 2004.
OCSE is required by statute to evaluate the adequacy of the financial management of a State’s program. Specifically, the OCSE Office of Audit is mandated to perform reviews of expenditures claimed by States for Federal reimbursement. The primary objectives of a cost audit are to determine whether costs claimed by the State for Federal reimbursement are allowable, allocable, and reasonable to the child support program and to ensure that States bear their fair share of child support costs. Financial audits are performed after the DRAs are complete to the extent that time and resources are available before beginning the next fiscal year’s DRAs. Audit findings from cost audits performed or reported in FY 2004 included, among other things, unallowable non IV-D costs claimed for reimbursement and the receipt of program income not used to offset expenditures as required.
* The form States use to report statistical information to the Federal government.
Each State must conduct an annual review of its child support enforcement program using the compliance criteria and sampling methods required under section 454(15)(A) of the Social Security Act. Each year States must assess their IV-D program performance, and submit a report of their findings. The criteria and efficiency rates States use to assess their program performance are: case closure (90%), establish paternity and support (75%), enforce support orders (75%), collect and distribute support (75%), secure and enforce medical support (75%), review and adjust support orders (75%), interstate services (75%), and expedited processes for six months (75%) and twelve months (90%). The Federal role in self-assessment is to periodically analyze the reports, provide technical assistance, and identify best practices.
States continue to use the CSE program self-assessment process as a management tool to evaluate and improve CSE program performance and submit annual reports of such assessments to OCSE central and regional offices. In addition to reporting the status and accomplishments of the respective States’ CSE Program, including “best practices,” the annual reports also identify program deficiencies and corresponding corrective actions taken or planned. Based on review and evaluations of these annual State self-assessment reports, OCSE staff makes appropriate recommendations, offer technical assistance, and identify “best practices” which can be shared with other States. Nationally, all States passed the self-assessment criteria for FY 2004.
As a condition of receiving Federal funding (Federal Financial Participation, referred to as FFP), State IV-D agencies must submit approvable State Plans describing the nature and scope of their program. The State Plan consists of preprinted pages and related attachments and contains all the information necessary for OCSE to determine whether it can be approved. The authority to approve State Plans is delegated to the OCSE regional offices, but the Commissioner of OCSE retains the authority for determining that a State IV-D Plan is not approvable.
In FY 2004, two States (South Carolina and California) received notices of intent to disapprove their IV-D State Plans for failure to have in effect and in operation automated child support enforcement systems that met all Federal requirements under PRWORA. Both States received notices of intent to disapprove their IV-D State Plans for failure to implement the requirement to collect social security numbers on driver’s license applications. During the year, these States made considerable progress implementing the required procedures.
National Child Support Enforcement Strategic Plan FY 2005-2009
In September 2004, the Office of Child Support Enforcement unveiled the National Child Support Enforcement Strategic Plan for 2005-2009 (the Plan). The Plan updates the Strategic Plan from fiscal years 2000-2004, reflecting changes in the child support enforcement program over the last five years. The Plan is the product of an enormously effective collaboration with the Child Support Enforcement community, including Federal, State, Tribal, and local level child support enforcement professionals. This Plan is used to ensure that all CSE programs are stressing the same program goals and objectives.
The revised Plan’s mission, vision, guiding principles, goals, objectives, and indicators are intended to bring child support professionals everywhere, and all others who collaborate with the IV-D program, an understanding of how the work they do directly affects the outcomes in the program. The plan also is designed as a practical management tool for setting work priorities and focusing resources. Like its predecessors, this Plan provides a direction for the course of the program over the next five years. In addition, it gives parents and taxpayers a tool for holding the program accountable for progress.
A few of the highlights that distinguish this Plan from previous Plans:
- Families first. Child support should be a reliable source of income for families. Families receive 90 percent of total support collections. Our priorities include reducing the amount of support collected but not distributed. Success is not just getting any collection, but getting regular, timely payments to families.
- Meaningful medical support for children. Medical support is now a separate goal with new indicators.
- Preventing the build-up of unpaid support (arrearages) through early intervention rather than traditional debt threshold-based enforcement. This includes new proactive efforts to modify orders to ensure that obligations stay consistent with the ability to pay and using automation to detect non-compliance as early as possible.
- Increased accountability of the Child Support Enforcement Program. The Child Support Enforcement Program has a long tradition of setting high standards and of holding itself accountable for achieving meaningful results. In the Plan, OCSE commits to measure performance through the use of over a dozen new or revised performance indicators.
OCSE presented the Plan at national and regional Child Support Enforcement conferences and meetings with other Federal and State agencies. OCSE also participated in a one-day session on Strategic Planning for the Leadership Development Program within the Office of the Inspector General, HHS.
Project Save Our Children
Project Save Our Children (PSOC) is a criminal child support enforcement initiative that targets chronically delinquent parents who willfully fail to take responsibility for their children and owe large sums of past due child support ($20,000 and over). Due to the parent’s excessive delinquency in providing child support payments, criminal charges may have been pending or ruled upon.
PSOC’s goal is to increase child support collections through the identification, investigation, and, when warranted, prosecution of flagrant, delinquent child support offenders. The total ordered amount of restitution related to Federal investigations were $5.4 million. The amount of restitution actually collected was $2.6 million in FY 2004.
By prosecuting parents who will not provide support, a pointed message of responsibility is sent that may help to give their children a better chance in life.
Since the project’s creation in 1998, PSOC has investigated over 9,000 cases and is responsible for over 1,000 Federal and State arrests and over 800 Federal and State convictions and adjudications. PSOC’s activities resulting from these investigations have increased OCSE’s ability to collect arrearages.
During FY 2004, PSOC activities included:
- the implementation of the Child Support Enforcement Tracking System 5 (CSETS 5), a redeveloped system that is available at all screening sites used to track cases, including restitution payments;
- a random PSOC screening site that passed the IRS audit, in which audit guidelines were developed, approved, and will be used by all screening sites;
- web-based training on law enforcement data systems required for all Investigative Analysts;
- two published articles on the results of the 2003 Round Up discussing what happens after the arrest of the non-paying parents; and
- an international case (referred by Maryland IV-D offices) that proved the ability of the PSOC Task Force to coordinate with various entities for a successful outcome. (The program worked with MD IV-D offices, Mid-Atlantic PSOC, Office of the Inspector General, Department of Justice, Department of State, and the US Embassy in Spain, as well as various courts and law enforcement offices in Spain.)
States historically have been charged with providing child support services to tribal recipients, as they comprise part of the State caseload. In 1996, The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act allowed the Office of Child Support Enforcement to directly fund tribal child support enforcement programs. Currently, the Department of Health and Human Services provides funding to nine tribes to operate a comprehensive child support enforcement program. The nine tribes are:
- Chickasaw Nation
- Navajo Nation
- Puyallup Tribe
- Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe
- Lac du Flambeau Tribe
- Menominee Tribe
- Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe
- Lummi Nation
- Forest County Potawatomi Community
In FY 2004, these tribes participated in national child support meetings and conferences which included the following: the Tribal Child Support Final Rule Roll-Out, the Tribal/State Cooperation Workgroup, the Tribal CSE System Workgroup, the National Indian Child Welfare Association Directors Training Conference, the Central Office/ACF Regional Office Conference, and the Electronic Income Withholding Notice Workgroup. On-site technical assistance was provided to the Lac du Flambeau Band of Chippewa Indians and the Navajo Nation.
The final rule on the Tribal Child Support Enforcement programs was published in the Federal Register on March 30, 2004 (69 FR 16638). The rule sets forth the requirements and related provisions and provides guidance to tribes and tribal organizations on how to apply for funding and, upon approval, receive direct funding for the operation of Tribal IV-D programs. To receive funding, tribes must meet the following objectives:
- establishment of paternities and support orders;
- modification and enforcement of support orders;
- collection and distribution of support; and
- location of noncustodial parents.
OCSE conducted a series of meetings and conferences across the nation in the summer of 2004. The meetings provided an overview of the regulation, including the start-up process, funding process, and reporting requirements. Meetings and conferences were held in Seattle, WA; Prior Lake, MN; Albuquerque, NM; Palm Springs, CA; and Washington, DC.
During FY 2004, foreign reciprocating country (FRC) agreements became effective between the United States and the Canadian provinces/territories of New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, and the nation of Switzerland. During FY 2004, the U.S. also declared Costa Rica to be reciprocating, pending notification of fulfillment of legal requirements from the government of Costa Rica.
In June 2004, the Office of Child Support Enforcement, Department of State (DOS), and State child support agency officials attended the Hague Conference on Private International Law and participated in meetings of the Special Commission on Family Maintenance, which is working to develop a new multilateral convention for child support enforcement. While the U.S. has not been a signatory to previous conventions, U.S. participation in the current Special Commission offers the possibility that a new multilateral instrument might provide more children with the benefits of an expanded international system of cooperation.
As part of OCSE’s efforts in support of the Hague Special Commission, the U.S. has taken a leadership role in organizing and coordinating the Administrative Cooperation Working Group (ACWG). The stated goals of the ACWG, which was begun in 2003, are to improve administrative cooperation among participating countries and to develop possible recommendations on administrative cooperation for Hague Special Commission meetings. During 2004, the ACWG and its three subcommittees (Standard Forms and Procedures, Timelines for Case Processing, and Country Profiles) met and prepared reports for the June 2004 Special Commission. The Special Commission made the ACWG a formal committee with responsibility to recommend appropriate post-convention implementation of the new Convention.
The formalization of the ACWG is a significant accomplishment and responsibility for the U.S. and other countries that participate in the workgroup. The U.S. child support system serves as the model for performance-based measurement and monitoring of child support efforts.
In September 2004 in Puerto Rico, OCSE and the Department of State organized a Caribbean negotiation to develop a model bi-lateral child support reciprocity agreement with English-speaking Caribbean nations. After this conference, a meeting was held to plan a pilot project between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to advance international child support efforts between those two jurisdictions.
In support of State caseworkers during 2004, OCSE issued guidance on processing cases with FRCs, improved international child support internet resources, international payments, and procedures for FRC access to the Federal Parent Locator Service.
Charts and Graphs
List of Charts
Figure 1 Total Caseload for Five Fiscal Years
Figure 2 IV-D Cases With and Without Orders Established for Five Fiscal Years
Figure 3 Number of IV-D Cases for Which a Collection Was Made for Five Fiscal Years
Paternities Acknowledged and Orders Established
Figure 4 IV-D and Statewide Paternities Acknowledged for Five Fiscal Years
Figure 5 Number of Support Orders Established and Percent Change for Five Fiscal Years
Figure 6 Total Distributed Collections by Current, Former, Never Assistance, and Medicaid, FY 2004
Figure 7 Total Collections by Method of Collections, FY 2004
Figure 8 Total Distributed Collections by TANF/Foster Care and Non-TANF Collections for Five Fiscal Years
Figure 9 Current Collections Due and Distributed, FY 2004
Figure 10 Cases Paying Toward an Arrears, FY 2004
Figure 11 Interstate Collections for Five Fiscal Years
Figure 12 Interstate Cases - Cases Sent to and Received from Another State for Five Fiscal Years
Figure 13 Total Expenditures for Five Fiscal Years
Figure 14 Total ADP Expenditures for Five Fiscal Years
Number of Children
Figure 15 Number of Children in the IV-D Program for Five Fiscal Years
Federal Parent Locator Services
Figure 16 Number of Unique Persons in the Federal Case Registry (FCR) for Five Fiscal Years
Figure 17 Federal Offset Collections for Five Processing Years (PY)
Figure 18 IV-D Tribal Program, FY 2004
|Source: Form OCSE-157 lines 1 and 3|
|Total Caseload (Millions)||17.2||16.8||16.0||15.9||15.8|
|With Orders (Millions)||10.7||11.0||11.3||11.5||11.8|
|Without Orders (Millions)||6.5||5.8||4.7||4.4||4.1|
Cases with support orders established have increased each year over the last five years, while cases without orders have decreased.
Figure 3: Number of IV-D Cases for Which a Collection Was Made for Five Fiscal Years
|Source: Form OCSE-157 line 18|
|Total Cases (Millions)||7.2||7.5||7.8||8.0||8.1|
|Never Assistance (Millions)||2.9||3.1||3.2||3.4||3.5|
|Former Assistance (Millions)||3.5||3.6||3.8||3.8||3.9|
|Current Assistance (Millions)||0.8||0.8||0.8||0.8||0.8|
The number of cases with collections has increased each year since FY 2000.
Figure 4: IV-D and Statewide Paternities Acknowledged* for Five Fiscal Years
|Source: Form OCSE-157 lines 10 and 16|
|IV-D Paternities Established (Thousands)||867||777||697||663||692|
|In-hospital and Other Paternitites Acknowledged (Thousands)||687||791||830||862||915|
Nationwide paternities continue to increase due to in-hospital and other paternity acknowledgements.
*Includes in-hospital and other paternities acknowledged. State paternity acknowledgements include an unknown number of acknowledgements for children in the IV-D caseload.
Figure 5: Number of Support Orders Established and Percent Change for Five Fiscal Years
|Source: Form OCSE-157 lines 17|
The percent of support orders established has increased by two percent between FY 2003 and FY 2004.
Figure 6: Total Distributed Collections by Current, Former, Never Assistance, and Medicaid, FY 2004
|Current Assistance||Former Assistance||Never Assistance||Medicaid|
|Source: Form OCSE-34A line 8G|
|$1 Billion (5%)||$8.8 Billion (41%)||$10.0 Billion (46%)||$1.8 Billion (8%)|
Over 80 percent of total distributed collections went to former and never assistance families in FY 2004.
Figure 7: Total Collections by Method of Collections, FY 2004
|Wage Withholding*||Unemployment Offset||Federal Tax Offset||State Tax Offset||Other Sources||Other States|
|Source: Form OCSE-34A lines 2a thru 2g|
|69.9% ($19.3 Billion)||2.1% ($567 Million)||5.1% ($1.4 Billion)||0.7% ($207 Million)||17.6% ($4.9 Billion)||4.6% ($1.3 Billion)|
Wage withholding, with over $19 billion collected, was the most effective method used in FY 2004.
*Wage withholding includes IV-D and non-IV-D collections.
Figure 8: Total Distributed Collections by TANF/Foster Care and Non-TANF Collections for Five Fiscal Years
|Source: Form OCSE-34A, lines 7a, 7b, 7c and 8|
Almost $20 billion made up the Non-TANF portion of collections distributed in FY 2004, while the remaining $2.2 billion was TANF/FC.
Figure 9: Current Collections Due and Distributed, FY 2004
|Current Support Distributed||Balance||Total Current Support Due|
|Source: Form OCSE-157 lines 24 and 25|
|$16.5 Billion (59%)||$11.5 Billion (41%)||$28 Billion|
Fifty-nine percent of the current support due was distributed. The balance represents current support not collected or not distributed.
Figure 10: Cases Paying Toward an Arrears, FY 2004
|Cases Not Paying Towards Arrears||Cases Paying Towards Arrears||Total Cases with Arrears Due|
|Source: Form OCSE-157 lines 28 and 29|
|4.4 Million (40%)||6.5 Million (60%)||10.9 Million|
The majority of parents are paying toward their overdue child support.
Figure 11: Interstate* Collections for Five Fiscal Years
|*Collections forwarded to other states.|
|Source: Form OCSE-34A, lines 5g|
The amount of interstate collections continues to increase.
Figure 12: Interstate Cases – Cases Sent to and Received From Another State for Five Fiscal Years
|Source: Form OCSE-157 line 1a and 1b|
|Current Assistance (Thousands)||118||113||115||121||115|
|Former Assistance (Thousands)||544||546||556||581||567|
|Never Assistance (Thousands)||355||357||371||383||375|
|Source: Form OCSE-157 line 1a and 1b|
|Current Assistance (Thousands)||258||253||243||222||212|
|Former Assistance (Thousands)||115||119||117||128||132|
|Never Assistance (Thousands)||563||557||575||599||611|
Nationally, States sent over one million cases to another State. Cases received from another State were close to one million cases in FY 2004.
Figure 13: Total Expenditures for Five Fiscal Years
|Source: Form OCSE-396A line 9, column A+C|
|Federal Share (Billions)||$3.0||$3.2||$3.4||$3.4||$3.5|
|State Share (Billions)||$1.5||$1.6||$1.8||$1.8||$1.8|
Total expenditures consist of the Administrative Cost + Automated Data Processing + Laboratory Paternity. The growth in total expenditures has increased to $5.3 billion in FY 2004, just above the $5.2 billion reported in the previous year.
Figure 14: Total ADP Expenditures for Five Fiscal Years
|Source: Form OCSE-396A, lines 4, 5, and 6|
Automated Data Processing (ADP) expenditures increased between FY 2003 and FY 2004 due to systems development cost in California.
Figure 15: Total Number of Children in the IV-D Program for Five Fiscal Years*
|Source: Form OCSE-157, line 4|
The number of children in the child support program has declined in recent year—reflective of the decrease in the child support caseload.
*Includes children 18 years of age and under.
Figure 16: Number of Unique Persons in the Federal Case Registry (FCR) For Five Fiscal Years
|Type of Participant||Non-custodial parents||Putative fathers||Custodial parents||Children|
|Number of People (Millions)||11.2||1.2||12.1||19.6|
|Number of Unique Persons Matched (Millions)||3.5||4.2||4.5||4.6||4.2|
A large portion of unique persons in the FCR by participant type are children.
*The figures for the individual participant types are unduplicated within that category but not between them - i.e., an individual may appear in more than one category, but is only counted once within that category. ** As a result, the counts for the individual participant types may not add up to the Total Number of Unique Persons in the FCR. In addition, an individual can be a child support case participant in more than one State but is only counted once in the nationwide total. The Unique NCPs and PFs matched is derived by unduplicating SSNs located across all data types (W4, QW, and UI). The figure is unduplicated within each data type but not between them—i.e., an individual may appear in more than one category but is only counted once in that category and once in the Total Number of Unique Persons Matched. As a result, the individual W4, QW, and UI counts may not add up to the Total Number of Unique Persons Matched figure. In addition, an individual can be returned as a match to more than one State but is only counted once in the nationwide total.
CH – this number may be higher than the total number of children in Figure 15 due to States not closing cases on the FCR even though they are closed in the State’s system and due to States not deleting children off of the FCR case when they have emancipated and no arrears are owed for that particular child.
Type of Participant: NCP - Noncustodial Parents, PF - Putative Father, CP - Custodial Parties, CH - Children.
Figure 17: Federal Offset Collections for Six Processing Years (PY)
|Total Net Collections (Billions)||$1.34||$1.39||$1.65||$1.46||$1.554||$1.49|
Almost $1.50 billion was collected through Federal offset collections in Processing Year 2004.
Figure 18: IV-D Tribal Program, FY 2004
|Tribes||Caseload||Paternities Established||Support Orders Established||Total Collections||Outlays*||Collections Forwarded To States|
Source: Reports submitted by Tribes NA-Not Available
*Total Federal share of expenditures.
Tribes continue to increase their collections.
List of Tables
Federal and State Share of Collections
Payments to Families
Cases and Caseloads
Non-Cooperation and Good Cause
Federal Parent Locator Service
Financial and Statistical Terms
Table 3 - Total Distributed Collections (Form OCSE-34A, line 8E; beginning in FY 2004, line 8G)
Total amount of collections distributed during the year on behalf of both TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and Non-TANF families. Total collections are calculated as the sums of Current IV-A Assistance, Current IV-E Assistance, Former Assistance, and Never Assistance.
Table 7 - Distributed TANF/Foster Care Collections (Form OCSE-34A, line 8(A+B) + line 7aC; beginning in FY 2004, line 8 (A+B) + line 7a (C+D))
The portion of total collections received on behalf of families receiving assistance under the TANF program plus children placed in foster care facilities. These collections are divided between the State and Federal governments to reimburse their respective shares of either Title IV-A assistance payments or Title IV-E Foster Care maintenance payments.
Table 10 - Distributed Non-TANF Collections (Form OCSE-34A, lines 7bC + 7cC + 8D; beginning in FY 2004, lines 7b (C+D) + 7c (C+D) + 8 (E+F))
The portion of total collections received on behalf of families not receiving assistance under the TANF/Foster Care programs and distributed to those families during the year.
Federal and State Share of Collections
Table 11 - Federal Share of TANF/Foster Care Collections (Form OCSE-34A, line 12a + 10B; beginning in FY 2004, lines 10aG + 10bG 4th quarter)
The portion of child support collections used to reimburse the Federal government for its share of past assistance payments under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act or Foster Care maintenance payments, before the payment of incentive payments.
Table 12 - State Share of TANF/Foster Care Collections (Form OCSE-34A, line 7aE - line 10E; beginning in FY 2004, lines 7aG - (line 10aG + 10bG 4th quarter))
Collections that will be divided between the State and Federal governments to reimburse their respective shares of either Title IV-A assistance payments or Title IV-E Foster Care maintenance payments.
Table 14 - Net Undistributed Collections (Form OCSE-34A, line 9bE - 4th quarter; beginning in FY 2004, line 9bG - 4th quarter)
The amount of collections that remains available for distribution in a future quarter.
Table 16 - Collections Forwarded to Non-IV-D Cases (Form OCSE-34A, line 4E; beginning in FY 2004, line 4G)
Those collections received through income withholding and processed through the State Disbursement Unit on behalf of Non-IV-D cases that were forwarded to the custodial parent during the quarter.
Payments to Families
Table 19 - Payments to Families (Form OCSE-34A, line 7cE; beginning in FY 2004, line 7cG)
The collections that are distributed either to the family or to the foster care agency to be used on the child’s behalf.
Table 20 - TANF/Foster Care Payments to Families (Form OCSE-34A, line 7c(A+B))
The total amount of collections that are distributed either to the family or to the foster care agency to be used on the child’s behalf.
Table 21 - Interstate - Collections Forwarded to Other States (Form OCSE-34A, line 5E; beginning in FY 2004, line 5G)
Amounts received in response to a request for assistance from another State and forwarded during the quarter to that State for distribution, including interstate case and Administrative Enforcement in Interstate (AEI) collections.
Table 24 - Cost Effectiveness Ratio (Form OCSE-34A, lines 5+8+13 divided by OCSE-396A, line 9(A+C) minus 1b(A+C))
The total of collections forwarded to other States, plus total collections distributed, plus fees retained by other States, divided by total current quarter claims and total prior quarter adjustments minus Non IV-D cost.
Tables 25 and 26 - Incentive Payment Estimates and Actuals (Form OCSE-34A, line 11E; beginning in FY 2004, line 11G)
The amount of money States earn for running an efficient child support program. This amount is estimated prior to the start of the fiscal year and is reported by the State on a quarterly basis. Actual incentive amounts are computed after the end of the fiscal year and appropriate adjustments are made in State grant awards.
Table 27 - Medical Support Payments to Families (Form OCSE-34A, line 7bE; beginning in FY 2004, line 7bG)
The portion of any collection that corresponds to any amount specifically designated in a support order for medical support. To the extent that medical support has been assigned to the State, medical support collections should be forwarded to the Medicaid agency for distribution in accordance with current regulations. Otherwise, the amount should be forwarded to the family.
Table 30 - Administrative Expenditures (Form OCSE-396A, line 9(A+C))
Total amount of expenditures eligible for Federal funding that is claimed by the State during the year for the administration of the Child Support Enforcement program. Including all amounts claimed during the year, whether expended during the current or a previous fiscal year. The amounts being reported have been reduced by the amount of program income (fees and costs recovered in excess of fees and interest earned and other program income) received by the States.
Table 31 - Federal Share of Administrative Expenditures (Form OCSE-396A, line 9(B+D))
Net Federal Share of current quarter claims plus prior quarter adjustments.
Table 32 - State Share of Administrative Expenditures (Form OCSE-396A, line 16(B+D) - line 11B)
Total share of current quarter claims plus prior quarter adjustments minus Federal share of current quarter claims plus Federal share of prior quarter adjustments.
Table 33 - Non-IV-D Costs (Form OCSE-396A, line 1b(A+C))
The amount of administrative expenditures attributable to the collecting, entering, maintaining, and processing information relative to Non-IV-D child support cases in the State Case Registry and to the processing of Non-IV-D child support collections through the State Disbursement Unit. Non-IV-D cases are those for which there is no assignment of support rights to the State or where the State has not received an application for Title IV-D services.
Table 34 - ADP Expenditures (Form OCSE-396A, lines 4, 5, and 6)
Expenditures made in accordance with the terms of an approved ADP for the planning, design, development, implementation, enhancement, or operation of an automated Statewide Child Support Enforcement System (CSES).
Table 35 - Expenditures for Laboratory Tests for Paternity Establishment (Form OCSE-396A, line 8(A+C))
The amount expended for laboratory costs associated with the process of determining paternity. This amount is the “net” amount of expenditures, reduced by any fees collected by the State to recoup the cost of these services.
Table 38 - Total Program Costs (Form OCSE-34A, line 7a - OCSE-396A, line 9(A+C))
Collections that will be divided between the State and Federal governments to reimburse their respective shares of either Title IV-A assistance payments or Title IV-E Foster Care maintenance payments minus total amount of current quarter administrative expenditure and prior quarter adjustment of administrative expenditure.
Cases and Caseloads
Table 41 - Cases with No Jurisdiction (Form OCSE-157, line 3)
The number of open cases on the last day of the fiscal year over which the State has no jurisdiction.
Table 43 - Total Caseload (Form OCSE-157, lines 1 and 3)
The number of IV‑D cases open on the last day of the fiscal year, including the number of open cases at the end of the fiscal year as a result of requests for assistance received from other States.
Table 47 - Total Cases with Orders Established (Form OCSE-157, line 2)
The number of IV‑D cases open on the last day of the fiscal year that have support orders established. Included are cases with orders entered prior to the case becoming a IV‑D case, as well as cases with orders established by the IV‑D agency. Judgments for arrears, regardless of whether there is a payment schedule or an order for ongoing support are also included. Also included are all interstate cases-both cases sent to and received from other States.
Table 49 - Total Number of Paternities Established or Acknowledged (Form OCSE-157, lines 10a and 16(b+c+d))
The number of children born out of wedlock in the reporting State for whom paternity has been acknowledged during the fiscal year. Included are children with paternity acknowledged through the State’s voluntary in‑hospital acknowledgment program and other acknowledgment processes. Also reported is the number of children in cases in the IV‑D caseload for whom paternity was established or acknowledged during the fiscal year.
Table 50 - Paternity Establishment (Form OCSE-157, lines 5, 6, 8 and 9)
The number of children in the IV-D caseload in cases open at the end of the fiscal year who were born out of wedlock. Also the number of children born out of wedlock in the IV-D caseload in cases open at the end of the fiscal year who have paternity established or acknowledged.
The total number of children who were born out of wedlock in the State during the fiscal year. Also included is the number of minor children who were born out of wedlock in the State for whom paternity has been established or acknowledged during the fiscal year.
Table 51 - IV-A Cases Closed Where a Child Support Payment was Received (Form OCSE-157, line 14)
Includes all cases terminated from TANF during the fiscal year in which there was any child support collection in the month of termination.
Table 52 - Number of Support Orders Established During the Fiscal Year (Form OCSE-157, line 17)
The number of cases in which support orders were established by the IV‑D agency during the fiscal year. Includes support orders established for medical support or health insurance.
Table 53 - Number of CSE Cases in Which a Collection was Made on an Obligation (Form OCSE-157, line 18)
The number of cases for which one or more collections were made during the fiscal year. Included are cases where no support order is established but a voluntary payment was made.
Table 54 - Cases Sent to Another State (Form OCSE-157, line 19)
The number of interstate cases the reporting State sent to other States during the fiscal year. Includes cases submitted for location, establishment of paternity or support order, enforcement of support, or any other IV‑D activity.
Table 55 - Cases Received from Another State (Form OCSE-157, line 20)
The number of interstate cases received from another State during the fiscal year.
Table 56 - Cases Requiring Services to Establish an Order (Form OCSE-157, line 12(b+c+d))
Total number of IV‑D cases open at the end of the fiscal year that need services to establish a support order
Table 57 - Children Requiring Paternity Determination Services (Form OCSE-157, line 13)
The number of children in cases that are open at the end of the fiscal year who required paternity establishment. This includes all children whose paternity has not been established and children in the process of having paternity established. If there is more than one putative father for a child, this child is only counted once.
Table 58 - Full-Time Equivalent Staff by State and Local, Cooperative Agreements and Privatized Offices (Form OCSE-157, lines 30, 31 and 32)
The total number of FTE staff employed by the State and local IV‑D agencies.
The total number of FTE staff employed by an agency (public or private) working under a cooperative agreement with the IV‑D agency.
The total number of FTE staff employed by privatized IV‑D agencies.
Table 61 - Amount of Current Support Due (Form OCSE-157, line 24)
The total amount of current support by current, former, and never assistance for the fiscal year for all IV-D cases. Includes total voluntary collections.
Table 62 - Amount of Support Distributed as Current Support (Form OCSE-157, line 25)
The total amount of support distributed as current support during the fiscal year for all IV-D cases. Voluntary payments are considered current support and should be included even though there is no order to require payment.
Table 63 - Total Amount of Arrearages Due (Form OCSE-157, line 26)
The total amount of arrears due and unpaid as of the end of the fiscal year for all fiscal years, including the fiscal year covered by the report. Interest and penalties on arrearages may be included.
Table 64 - Total Amount of Support Distributed as Arrears (Form OCSE-157, line 27)
The total amount of support distributed this fiscal year as arrearages. This amount includes judgments ordered and paid this fiscal year for prior year support.
Tables 66 and 67 - Cases with Arrears Due and Paying Towards Arrears (Form OCSE-157, lines 28 and 29)
The number of cases with arrears due during the fiscal year, including cases closed during the fiscal year with arrearages.
The number of cases in which there was at least one payment toward arrears during the fiscal year and the total number of IV‑D cases in which payments of past‑due child support were received during the fiscal year. Part or all of the payments were distributed to the family to which the past‑due child support was owed.
Non-Cooperation and Good Cause
Table 68 - Cases with Determination of Non-Cooperation (Form OCSE-157, line 38)
The number of IV‑D TANF cases open at the end of the fiscal year in which a determination was made that the custodial parent refused to cooperate with State agencies in identifying and locating the non-custodial parent.
Table 69 - Cases with Good Cause Determinations (Form OCSE-157, line 39)
The number of cases open during the fiscal year in which it was determined by the State that the custodial parent has a good cause for refusing to cooperate with State agencies in identifying and locating the non-custodial parent.
Table 70 - Children with Paternity Resolved (Form OCSE-157, line 7)
The number of children in the IV‑D caseload open at the end of the fiscal year with paternity resolved. Include all children born within a marriage, legitimized by marriage or adoption, and children with paternity established or acknowledged.
Table 71 - Total Number of Children (Form OCSE 157, line 4)
The number of children in the IV‑D caseload in cases open at the end of the fiscal year. This includes those children who are under age 18.