About the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE)
OCSE partners with federal, state, tribal, and local governments and others to promote parental responsibility so that children receive support from both parents, even when they live in separate households. The national child support program is one of the largest income-support programs for families, contributing money to family budgets to help pay for the basics – shelter, food, child care, transportation, and school clothes. Child support makes a big difference to children.
OCSE does not provide services directly to families. Instead, we help child support agencies in the states and tribes develop, manage and operate their programs effectively and according to federal law.
Families receive services directly from their local child support office. Either parent may apply for services. Grandparents or other custodians may also apply. The agencies locate noncustodial parents, establish paternity, establish and enforce support orders, modify orders when appropriate, and collect and pay out child support payments. Each state and tribe operating a child support program has different laws and operates its program a little differently. While child support programs vary from state to state and tribe to tribe, services are available to all who need them, regardless of income, residency, nationality, or gender.
Our vision is that children can count on their parents for the support and love that they need to be healthy and successful. To realize this vision, we need effective child support enforcement tools coupled with family-centered customer service.
We are proud to hold up the child support program as a government success story. Congress began the child support program in 1975 to reimburse benefits paid by the government’s welfare programs. Congress changed the program in 1996 as part of welfare reform laws to expand the role of technology and ensure children receive more of the support paid by their parents. In 1998, Congress began funding the child support program based on its performance. In fiscal year 2011, the program collected $27.3 billion, of which 94 percent was distributed to families.
OCSE Commissioner Vicki Turetsky oversees the child support program operated by each state and many tribes. Commissioner Turetsky brings more than 30 years of experience as a public administrator and advocate for low-income families. She is a nationally recognized expert in family policy and has been instrumental in boosting child support payments to families. Due to Commissioner Turetsky’s efforts, OCSE has established realistic child support policies that encourage fathers to play an active parenting role, both financially and emotionally.
OCSE Fact Sheet
Want to learn more about OCSE? Check out our Fact Sheet! There, you can read about our mission, purpose, goals and more to get a better sense of how our program serves children and families.Learn More