Forest County Potawatomi Community to Pilot Test New Tribal Child Support Automated IT System
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Contact: ACF Press Office
WASHINGTON, D.C. – HHS’ Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has selected the Forest County Potawatomi for operational testing of a new automated Model Tribal System (MTS). The system is fully compliant with industry standards and was built with freely available, open source software, tools and database programs, resulting in substantially lower operating and maintenance costs.
“This is truly a groundbreaking event. The MTS is the first computer application developed collaboratively with and for tribes to assist in the operation of a public assistance program,” said Acting OCSE Commissioner Donna Bonar. “We are excited about the potential this system holds to increase the effectiveness of tribal programs.”
Under federal law, tribes and tribal organizations can choose to operate a Title IV-D Tribal Child Support Enforcement Program and receive direct funding from the federal government. Thirty-two comprehensive tribal programs now can establish paternity, modify and enforce support orders and locate absent parents. Ten others are receiving federal funding to start new tribal programs.
Once testing is completed, the MTS is expected to improve child support case processing, paternity establishment and collections, advancing the lives of Native American families and children nationwide. Tribal child support programs across the nation are anxiously awaiting the outcome of this important testing effort.
OCSE anticipates the start of pilot testing this February, with completion in late May or early June of this year. General availability of the MTS to all tribes is expected shortly thereafter.