OCSE Fact Sheet

Mission Statement

Increase the reliability of child support paid by parents when they live apart from their children by:

  • Locating parents
  • Establishing legal fatherhood (paternity)
  • Establishing and enforcing fair support orders
  • Increasing health care coverage for children
  • Removing barriers to payment, such as referring parents to employment services, supporting healthy co-parenting relationships, supporting responsible fatherhood, and helping to prevent and reduce family violence

Brief Description


The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement partners with federal, state, tribal, and local governments and others to promote parental responsibility so that children receive reliable support from both of their parents as they grow to adulthood.

How it is Administered

OCSE helps child support agencies in the states and tribes develop, manage, and operate their programs effectively and according to federal law.

  • Financially support child support program operations
  • Provide grants for state Access and Visitation programs
  • Provide policy guidance and technical help
  • Conduct audits and educational programs
  • Support research and provide grants for program improvement
  • Operate the Federal Parent Locator Service and the National Directory of New Hires
  • Work with states to provide limited enforcement services, such as federal tax refund intercepts and passport denials
  • Work with employers and other private and public partners
  • Help with intergovernmental child support cases

Expected Goals

The child support program annually measures and reports its progress toward achieving the following goals:

  • All children have established parentage.
  • All children in child support cases have appropriate support orders.
  • All children in child support cases receive timely and consistent financial support from parents as ordered.
  • All children in child support cases will receive payments on overdue support.
  • The child support program will be efficient and responsive in its operations.

Brief History of the Program

Established Date

The child support program was established in 1975.

Reason it was Formed

Congress began the child support program to reimburse benefits paid by the government’s welfare programs. Congress changed the program in 1996 as part of the new welfare reform laws to expand the role of technology and ensure children receive more of the support paid by their parents. Today, the child support program has emerged as a family support program providing significant income for vulnerable families.

Amount of People Served

In fiscal year 2015, the child support program served 15.9 million* children and families.

Children served:
FY 2011: 17.3 million
FY 2012: 17.2 million
FY 2013: 16.9 million
FY 2014: 16.3 million
FY 2015: 15.9 million*

*Preliminary data

Fiscal Year Budgets

Child support program funding:
FY 2011: $4.0 billion
FY 2012: $3.9 billion
FY 2013: $3.9 billion
FY 2014: $4.0 billion
FY 2015: $4.0 billion*

*Preliminary data

General Information


Vicki Turetsky


Office of Child Support Enforcement
Administration for Children & Families
330 C Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20201

Main Email Address


Website Link



Last Reviewed: August 18, 2016

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