IV-A/IV-D Collaboration and Electronic Data Exchange
DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER
DATE: January 22, 2004
TO: State IV-A and IV-D Directors
RE: IV-A/ IV-D Collaboration and Electronic Data Exchange
In OCSE-DCL-03-28 dated 7/11/2003 you were asked:
“Are your local IV-A and IV-D offices working together to serve families on TANF?”
The Federal Offices of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and Family Assistance (OFA) have undertaken a number of activities to assist in working through this question and how our programs partner at the state level. With this letter, we are pleased to announce a project that surveys recent system enhancements to the electronic interfaces involving the TANF and CSE systems that have the potential to improve child support collections and the self-sufficiency of public assistance-related CSE cases.
The value of the data exchanged through automated interfaces supporting enforcement and temporary assistance processes cannot be overstated. Helping the client to achieve self sufficiency relies in part on the ability for staff to promptly initiate a referral and exchange reliable information. Enforcement results are considerably enhanced when, for example, up to date demographic information about a non-custodial parent is available from more sources than the TANF applicant.
The project seeks to highlight system enhancements implemented by states that have facilitated better information sharing and program collaboration. This undertaking is being accomplished in coordination with other projects focusing on policy, process, regulation, and procedure that are also looking for means to improve the links between IV-A and IV-D. Results of this project will benefit both programs.
Samples of benefits to IV-A from improved data exchange and system-based collaboration:
- Share state new hire data which can potentially improve the quality of employment services for aided families and reduce or eliminate public assistance payments;
- Improve on IV-D ability to support IV-A by enforcing child support orders, increasing collections and reducing the number of active public assistance cases;
- Increase public assistance reimbursements as a result of child support enforcement collections.
Samples of benefits to IV-D from improved data exchange and system-based collaboration:
- Increase IV-D chances to locate non-custodial parent and subsequently establish paternity and orders for support;
- Improve on ability to meet state performance measures.
Both TANF and CSE can benefit from this project in these ways:
- Identify common barriers to effective data sharing and promote practices that facilitate collaboration;
- Improve quality and timeliness of important data;
- Further identify common challenges and unique challenges that large and small jurisdictions face;
We recognize that the expertise to expand upon and further detail the benefits to both programs rests with you, as you have been working to make welfare reform a reality. In some cases the best practices related to automation and exchange of information are in place, in others they are still ideas. We intend to work with you to document and then to share these ideas and best practices with you.
Project staff will work with our federal regional offices to identify practices and states to contact for information about those collaboration and interface best practices and ideas, particularly those surrounding case referrals and data exchange. Additionally, the data elements described as required to be exchanged between the state TANF and Child Support programs listed in OCSE-AT-89-09 will be reviewed and a determination made as to what changes are needed for the success of both programs.
We hope you agree that this is a tremendous opportunity to participate in something that makes sense from a family perspective as well as an economic perspective. In the near future you or members of your staff may be contacted by the vendor supporting OCSE on this project to solicit your ideas and best practices. At the completion of this work, a report will be distributed to all of you.
This project is just one of many that support this critical partnership. All of us will benefit by your participation.
Sherri Z. Heller, Ed.D.
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Office of Family Assistance