The many systems that connect caseworkers around the country have become very important to the child support program. Child support professionals are able to help families get child support payments more quickly, and families are then better able to help their children thrive.
Many of you are already reaping the benefits of the State Services Portal—an exciting step forward in the world of child support electronic communications. Thanks to the portal (part of the Federal Parent Locator Service, or FPLS), state workers have web-based access to other states’ child support information through a secure, “single sign-on interface.” Last year the Query Interstate Cases for Kids (QUICK) and Federal Offset and Passport Denial applications, and the e-Employer Query Page, moved onto the State Services Portal.
Now there’s more! This summer we added new services and applications to the portal. Building on existing interfaces with states, users are able to access Locate, Debt Inquiry and Department of Defense (DOD) Entitlement data using the portal.
We could look at it this way. We have evolved from a program that was worker driven to one that is systems driven. But you can never take the worker out of our program. As the child support program evolves, so does the nature of our work. We want to position ourselves to be able to serve the 25 percent of the parents in our caseload who are struggling to make ends meet and manage their parental responsibilities. The State Services Portal is one way we are helping states improve services to parents.
Here are a few technical details about the portal:
- Locate – States struggle with making program changes to take advantage of new locate sources. This enhancement allows a caseworker to request an FPLS locate through the portal. They will receive the NDNH data immediately and will be notified when the locate responses are available for them to view.
- Debt Inquiry Service – Employers and insurers now have a central place to provide information about upcoming payments, such as a bonus or claim payment. The Debt Inquiry Service is designed to match the information that they provide to the Debtor file, which contains information submitted by state child support agencies to OCSE about delinquent child support debts. Matches are sent to the appropriate states so they can collect those payments.
- DOD Entitlement – This enhancement gives states a faster method of obtaining information about entitlement payments for parents in the military (active and reservists). Currently states submit a subpoena to DOD for this information, which can be a time-consuming process. The NDNH provides Quarterly Wage data as a total amount that includes all entitlements. The breakdown of entitlements provided with this enhancement will allow states to set more accurate child support orders.
States now using the portal are Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, North Dakota, Minnesota, Indiana and Virginia. You can learn more from the End User Support team at 800-258-2736 or CSENet.firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d like to hear about your experiences with the portal. Please share your comments on this Commissioner’s Voice blog.