Assisting Veterans in the Child Support Caseload
DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER
DATE: November 8, 2013
TO: ALL STATE AND TRIBAL IV-D DIRECTORS
RE: OCSE – Assisting Veterans in the Child Support Caseload
November 11 is a time to celebrate and thank our nation’s veterans. It also is an opportunity for the child support community to reaffirm and enhance our commitment to provide veterans and service members with child support services that strengthen families.
Over the last decade, the United States military has mobilized more troops than at any time since World War II. Many of these service members have returned home, and thousands more will follow. As the military prepares for continued troop draw down, child support agencies also need to plan for how they can help these men and women transition to civilian life.
Many of our older veterans have large child support debts, which are major impediments to their achieving financial stability. In fact, a survey of homeless veterans found that three of their top four unmet needs were family related matters: child care, legal assistance for child support, and family reconciliation. In 2009, the Office of Child Support Enforcement, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Bar Association collaborated at nine pilot sites to help end homelessness among our nation’s veterans by addressing their child support issues. Over the past three years this initiative has assisted many veterans in filing for modifications, reducing their arrears, reinstating driver’s licenses, and reconnecting with their families. The project’s initial report and lessons learned are accessible on the OCSE website in Child Support Fact Sheet #9. (For further information on the pilot collaborations, please contact Mike Ginns at email@example.com.)
Additional information about how local child support agencies are participating in Stand Down events is in Child Support Fact Sheet #12.
OCSE is committed to strengthening military families. In addition to a Handbook for Military Families and the recently updated Working with the Military on Child Support Matters: Trainer Guide, we are developing resources for employers, child support agencies, and other federal agencies. We have also established a veteran/military liaison network of child support professionals interested in better serving military and veteran families. (For information about the liaison network, contact Thom Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
In honor of Veterans Day, this letter offers promising practices and resources that child support agencies can use to better serve veterans and their families, who have sacrificed so much for all of us. These practices, implemented at the state and local levels, have resulted in more regular receipt of support. Most importantly, they have also often led to the strengthening or even rebuilding of veterans’ relationships with their families.
Thank you for all you do to serve our veterans and service members.
Office of Child Support Enforcement
cc: ACF/OCSE Regional Program Managers