Tag Archives: families

The Hague Child Support Treaty

Multi-ethnic children looking at globe on table in libraryThe moment has arrived. After more than a decade of negotiation, development, and legislation, the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (also known as the Hague Child Support Treaty) was formally ratified by the United States on August 30, 2016. The treaty goes into effect in the United States on January 1, 2017. In ratifying the treaty, we join 31 Convention countries in a reciprocal, multilateral agreement to enforce child support. We expect more countries to join the treaty now that the United States is on board. With ratification, more children whose parents live in different countries will receive help obtaining child support payments.

Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution provides that the president “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the State, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.” It takes a long time for a treaty to become the law of the land, and the Hague Treaty was no exception.  The United States approved the treaty in 2007, under the previous administration. The Senate gave its advice and consent to the treaty in 2010 and passed implementing legislation in 2014. One of the features of this treaty is that every state was required to update its interstate enforcement laws to incorporate the treaty provisions.  By 2016, all 54 states and territories operating child support programs enacted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act of 2008 (known as UIFSA 2008) to implement the treaty.

The world is getting smaller. Countries on every continent are reexamining family policies to address the needs of modern families, including families who live across international borders.

Spurred in part by the Hague treaty, societies are reexamining gender roles, considering new protections for women and children, and increasing economic opportunities for families that have nowhere else to turn.

We are witnessing an historic moment. As more countries sign on, the treaty will grow in importance and impact for families.  Many people in the child support community contributed to this achievement.  It has been my privilege to take part.

For more information on the treaty, refer to the “Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support” section of the OCSE International webpage and Putting the ‘Uniform’ back in UIFSA on pages 3-4 of the December 2015 Child Support Report. The January Child Support Report will provide more information on what to expect once the treaty goes into effect for the U.S.

Don’t forget to read the October 2016 Child Support Report. Michael Hayes describes a 7-step tune up that child support agencies can use to improve their handling of cases that might include domestic violence situations. Vermont gives us a look at their recent domestic violence training. Puerto Rico has a new financial training program for residents that promotes self-sufficiency. And a county in California is trying to collect back child support by looking for unclaimed property. You’ll find these stories and more in this month’s Child Support Report.

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Health care options for families

Bubble ChartOne of the “bubbles” in the child support bubble chart is health care coverage. In identifying family-centered strategies over the last four years, I have highlighted family health care needs. Through our medical support activities, the child support program has long had the responsibility to obtain private health insurance for the children in our caseload. Now we can play a critical role in providing information to both parents about the range of available health care options—for their children and for themselves.

Later this month, OCSE plans to launch two new fact sheet series to explain child support and health care connections under the Affordable Care Act and to address promising medical child support policies and practices under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. Watch for them on our website, www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css.

Starting Oct. 1, 2013, parents will be able to choose new affordable insurance options through a new Health Insurance Marketplace. There will be one application, called the “Health Insurance Marketplace Application for Health Coverage & Help Paying Costs,” that parents can use to apply for the new Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and tax credits that will help pay for premiums. Parents may choose to use this application online, by phone, by mail, or on paper. In-person counselors and a toll-free phone line will be available to help them through every step of the process.

No matter what state they live in, families can get help as they apply for and choose new insurance options. Some states are setting up a state-based Marketplace; other states will work with the federal government in a State Partnership Marketplace; and the remaining states will have a federally facilitated Marketplace.

The Affordable Care Act authorizes states to expand Medicaid to adults under age 65 with income of up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. This is approximately $15,280 for a single adult in 2013. The Act provides unprecedented federal funding for these states—the federal government will pay for 100 percent of the cost of coverage for newly eligible individuals through 2016, and pay no less than 90 percent of the cost subsequently.

No one plans to get sick or hurt, but most people need medical care at some point. Health insurance helps pay these costs. Help families find out how insurance works—and why it’s so important to have. Go to:  http://www.healthcare.gov/


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