Passport Denial—A Model of Customer Service

PassportsThe OCSE passport denial program collects tens of millions of dollars for children every year. We work closely with state child support programs and the Department of State (DOS) to ensure that passports are denied when appropriate and “holds” are released quickly upon payment. Did you know that DOS paralegals (in its Bureau of Counselor Affairs) work with embassies to help parents who are stranded overseas? And OCSE staff members work closely with the DOS “special issuance passport” members who handle all diplomatic and military passports, which take longer to process than others.

A custodial parent recently credited the passport denial program for receiving an unexpected $75,000—from a father who had never paid child support—on behalf of her now-adult daughter. In fact, she was about to close the case when she got word of the payment. The father’s employer loaned him the money in order to rush the release of the passport.

The director of a large urban child support program sent in a letter from a parent who unexpectedly received nearly $150,000 from a passport denial action: “I am forever indebted to all your hard work and dedication. May you all be blessed with much success for other parents seeking support for their children. Realize and understand that you are helping secure the future of our greatest resource, our children!”

A passport hold can be released within a day—in expedited cases, within a couple hours—a model of intergovernmental coordination. “Thank you very much for your help in getting my passport,” said one noncustodial parent. “It is so nice to see someone take pride in their job and go the extra step to help a fellow man in time of need. You went above and beyond and for that I am truly grateful as I did not lose the job and in part it was because of all your help.”

Passport denial is a powerful tool, one that can help children receive the support they deserve. I, for one, appreciate the dedication and care taken by OCSE, DOS and state child support staff to ensure that both custodial and noncustodial parents receive prompt attention and individualized service through the passport denial program.

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