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Availability of FFP for Making Arrests Pursuant to Appropriate State Process

AT-79-03

Published: June 6, 1979
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies, Other Public Partners, Courts
Topics:
Case Management, Enforcement, Funding, Federal Financial Participation (FFP)
Types:
Policy, Action Transmittals (AT)

Availability of Federal Financial Participation (FFP)

ACTION TRANSMITTAL

OCSE-AT-79-03

June 6, 1979

TO : STATE AGENCIES ADMINISTERING CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT PLANS APPROVED UNDER TITLE IV-D OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT AND OTHER INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS

SUBJECT : Availability of Federal Financial Participation (FFP) for Making Arrests Pursuant to Appropriate State Process

PURPOSE : The purpose of this Action Transmittal is to clarify those situations in which Federal funding is available for the costs of making arrests necessary to enforce support obligations.

REGULATION REFERENCES : 45 CFR 304.21 and 304.22

CONTENT : Since the enactment of the Child Support Enforcement program, OCSE has made FFP available for the cost of making arrests in the following situations:

1) when an arrest is made by employees of State or local IV-D agencies; or,

2) when an arrest is made by employees of an agency that is providing IV-D services under a cooperative agreement with a State or local IV-D agency.

In the past, OCSE has not provided Federal funding for any other costs incurred in making arrests. This prohibition was specifically intended to prevent State or local IV-D agencies or court or law enforcement officials under cooperative agreement with a State or local IV-D agency from purchasing arrest services from police or police type agencies. The term arrest, as used herein, means taking an individual into physical custody pursuant to court issued process and transporting that person to the court that ordered his or her arrest. It does not include incarceration, arraignment and other activities that may occur as the result of an arrest. Federal funding for these costs are prohibited by 45 CFR Part 74,Appendix C. Part Ic.1(a) since these activities are the overall responsibilities of State or local governments.

The limited availability of FFP for arrest activities has had a negative impact on the ability of child support agencies to enforce support obligations and to collect support payments. Current staff resources and current Federal policy governing the availability of Federal funding are not adequate to make arrests in all cases in which this is necessary. This has resulted in large backlogs of cases in which delinquent support obligations have not been enforced.

Based on the experience gained in administering the program over the last three years, OCSE has determined that the lack of resources available to make arrests is a severe impediment to the continued success of the program. It is now clear that increased availability of Federal funding for the arrest of absent parents in appropriate situations will provide States with an additional capability to produce better results in the child support enforcement program. FFP will, therefore, be made available as of the effective date below, for the costs of making arrests when they are claimed under a purchase of service agreement as provided in 45 CFR 304.22. This will enable State and local IV-D agencies to contract directly with other agencies of State and local government to perform these functions. For example, if a State or local IV-D agency entered into a purchase of service agreement with a sheriff or police agency to make arrests, FFP will be available for these costs.

States should give full consideration to the conditions offered below. OCSE will use them as guidelines when determining if FFP is available in the costs incurred in making arrests.

1) Purchase of service agreements to obtain arrest services will not be subject to prior approval if the individuals who perform these activities devote their working hours 100 percent to IV-D arrest activities. OCSE believes that the most cost effective basis on which to provide these services and assure that they are adequate to meet the needs of the IV-D program is by establishing a unit within the agency providing arrest services that is dedicated to IV-Dactivity. If this unit only makes arrests for IV-D cases, there will be no problem setting priorities for staff between child support arrest needs and other duties. Also, no allocation of costs incurred in compensating these individuals will be required.

2) Purchase of arrest services will be permitted when individuals making arrests do not work exclusively on IV-D matters. However, in these situations, the purchase of service agreement must be given prior approval by the appropriate Regional Representative, OCSE. OCSE believes that this is the only way in which the requirement of 45 CFR 304.22 that " . . . rates of payment . . do not exceed amounts reasonably necessary to assure quality of such services and . . the cost reasonably assignable to such services. . ." can be met. (See generally 45 CFR Part 74, Appendix C, Part I.c.) Also, OCSE believes that prior approval is the only way to insure that Federal funding will only be provided for costs incurred pursuant to the State IV-D plan, i.e., for the benefit of the IV-D program. Approval granted by the Regional Representative will be for one year's operation under the agreement. Continued operations under the agreement in later years will also be subject to prior approval.

In granting prior approval of these agreements, the OCSE Regional Representative must review the following factors:

- The adequacy of the justification for not using staff dedicated solely to the IV-D arrest function;

- The adequacy of the methodology used for allocating and reporting costs of the services provided. To the extent that the costs of these services are assessed by a unit charge, the reasonableness of the charge must be evaluated. It is anticipated that the level of payment might be conditioned on whether the request is successful;

- The adequacy of the record keeping process which must show the number of cases referred and the number of successes and failures in making arrests.

The review conducted by the Regional Representative must be completed within 30 days of receipt of the request for funding. In addition, it is essential that the Region review State operations under the agreement to insure that claims for Federal funds are being properly made.

OCSE intends to seek an amendment of regulations in the near future to impose specific requirements similar to these on all purchase of service agreements providing for arrests.

EFFECTIVE DATE: June 1, 1979

INQUIRIES TO: Regional Representatives, OCSE

Deputy Director

Office of Child Support Enforcement