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Measurement and Reporting of State Paternity


Published: October 9, 1992



October 9, 1992



SUBJECT: Measurement and Reporting of State Paternity

Establishment Percentages Used to Determine Compliance with Paternity Standards Mandated by P.L. 100-485

CONTENT: The following instructions amend those in Action Transmittal (AT) OCSE-AT-89-3 and OCSE-IM-89-2 dated March 6, 1989, related to Section 111, Performance Standards for State Paternity Establishment Programs, of the Family Support Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-485) and OCSE-AT-90-12 dated November 2, 1990, Instructions For Filling Out OCSE Forms 156 and 158.

These instructions specify alternative methods for establishing the percent of children in the IV-D caseload born out of wedlock and for whom paternity has been established, and those for whom paternity needs to be established, as of September 30, 1992. This AT permits States to use the less rigorous sampling methodology, regardless of the method previously used; allows use of alternatives to the probe sample required for determination of final sample size; allows States the option of inclusion or exclusion from the sample of children whose fathers are deceased; directs that Title IV-E cases be excluded; and explicitly warns States to save all documentation from the sample they select, to be reviewed by the OCSE auditors.

Due date for submission of the subject report is October 30, 1992. The collection and submission requirements of these data are the same as the requirements for OCSE form 158 paternity data, and are to be transmitted to OCSE via that form.


MATERIAL: OCSE-AT-89-03 and IM-89-2, dated March 6, 1989, and OCSE-AT-90-12, dated November 2, 1990.


DATE: September 30, 1992


TO: ACF Regional Administrators


Allie Page Matthews

Deputy Director, Office of

Child Support Enforcement


OCSE-AT-89-3 (with accompanying OCSE-IM-89-2) specified three methods for determining paternity establishment baseline percentages. The three methods were: a complete census of children in IV-D case records; a rigorous sample requiring a relatively large number of sampled cases; and a less rigorous sample requiring fewer sampled cases. States were advised that if they chose the less rigorous sample for the baseline, they would be required to implement the more rigorous sampling plan for the next measurement of paternity establishment as of September 30, 1992.

The instructions as set forth in OCSE-IM-89-2 also specified the need for a "probe sample" (i.e., a preliminary sample) of 500 cases in order to establish, along with caseload size, the sample size that would be required to reflect accurately the State's true paternity establishment percentage.


In measuring the paternity establishment percentages for FY 1992 to reflect caseload status as of September 30, 1992, all instructions, definitions, requirements and tables as set forth in OCSE-AT-89-3, OCSE-IM-89-2 and OCSE-AT-90-12 (Instructions for Filling Out forms 156 and 158) must be followed carefully except for the four following provisions:

1. All States may use the less rigorous sample method to fulfill the FY 1992 paternity establishment measurement requirement, regardless of the method used to measure the baseline. See OCSE-IM-89-2 Table 3 to determine the sample size for the less rigorous sampling methodology. States may still use a census or the more rigorous sample.

2. If States are satisfied that they have an accurate estimate of the extent of paternity establishment for children in their cases as of September 30, 1992, it is not necessary to estimate this number by means of the "probe sample" of 500 cases as described in OCSE-IM-89-2. States may use the baseline paternity percentage or the paternity establishment percentage as calculated for the OCSE form 158 reflecting the paternity status of their caseloads as of September 30, 1991, or other valid means of estimation.

Note: If States do not draw the probe sample for estimating their current paternity establishment percentage, they must include along with their submission a short discussion of the means whereby they estimated that statistic and a justification for why they claim the estimation to be accurate. A paternity establishment percentage not accompanied by such a discussion andjustification will not be complete.

3. OCSE-AT-89-3 specified that out-of-wedlock children whose fathers are deceased should be excluded from the sample. For purposes of the FY 1992 paternity establishment percentage such cases may be included if the state established paternity, or excluded at the State's option.

4. OCSE-AT-89-3 provided guidance on the counting of Title IV-E foster care cases. These cases must be excluded from the IV-D AFDC case sample, and need not be reported separately on the OCSE form 158.


Each State may be audited specifically on its paternity establishment percentage, and must be able to document the process by which the percentage was calculated. OCSE staff, in auditing paternity baseline data reliability, have encountered several problems, including States that were unable to reproduce the data from which the baseline was determined, or to explain and document by which method the baseline percentage was determined. Failure to produce these materials will result in an unsubstantiated paternity establishment percentage.


Paternity establishment data gathered for this requirement should also be used to satisfy the reporting requirement for OCSE form 158. Instructions for completing OCSE form 158 and the paternity establishment percentage required in this AT are the same and will result in data for the OCSE form 158 and the paternity establishment percentage required by this AT. The means for reporting the FY 1992 paternity establishment percentage is via the OCSE form 158.

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