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Executive Order - Federal Government a Model Employer

DCL-95-17

Published: February 27, 1995
Information About:
Employers, State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Employer Responsibilities
Types:
Policy, Dear Colleague Letters (DCL)

TO ALL STATE IV-D DIRECTORS

RE: Executive Order

Dear Colleague:

I am pleased to forward the Executive Order signed by President Clinton yesterday morning, making the Federal government a model employer in the area of child support enforcement. We are certain this important initiative is a timely effort to move us into the 21st Century of "putting children first." It is critical that the Federal government sets the example and, with this order, we do.

The President said:

This Executive Order "is an important step in our efforts to bring the Federal government in line with the basic values of ordinary Americans. People who bear children and bring them into this world have an absolute responsibility to do their best to take care of them. And any parent who isn't paying support should be required to pay.

"... Child support enforcement is essential to the welfare reform effort. And Congress should include these tough child support enforcement measures in the proposed welfare reform legislation."

"... I thank all the people who have helped to put together this child support enforcement order. We will proceed to aggressively implement it."

The Executive Order will make it easier for us to find Federal employees who do not meet their obligations to their children, and will speed up our ability to garnish wages and force them to pay the child support they owe. It also establishes a vital communication link with all Federal agencies, including all branches of the military, to become model employers providing consistent support all of our children deserve.

We believe this Executive Order is a major step in addressing many of the concerns you have expressed associated with child support collection.

We will be sharing information with you as implementation progresses. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your ACF Regional Office.

Respectfully,


David Gray Ross Deputy Director Office of Child Support Enforcement

Enclosure.

cc: ACF Regional Administrators OCSE Regional Program Managers ACF Assistant Regional Administrators

FEDERAL REGISTER Vol. 60. No. 39

Presidential Documents

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

Executive Order 12953 of February 27, 1995

The President

Actions Required of all Executive Agencies To Facilitate Payment of Child Support

60 FR 11013

DATE: Tuesday, February 28, 1995

Children need and deserve the emotional and financial support of both their parents.

The Federal Government requires States and, through them, public and private employers to take actions necessary to ensure that monies in payment of child support obligations are withheld and transferred to the child's caretaker in an efficient and expeditious manner.

The Federal Government, through its civilian employees and Uniformed Services members, is the Nation's largest single employer and as such should set an example of leadership and encouragement in ensuring that all children are properly supported.

NOW, THEREFORE, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 301 of title 3, United States Code, it is hereby ordered as follows:

PART I-PURPOSE

Section 101. This executive order: (a) Establishes the executive branch of the Federal Government, through its civilian employees and Uniformed Services members, as a model employer in promoting and facilitating the establishment and enforcement of child support.

(b) Requires all Federal agencies, including the Uniformed Services, to cooperate fully in efforts to establish paternity and child support orders and to enforce the collection of child and medical support in all situations where such actions may be required.

(c) Requires each Federal agency, including the Uniformed Services, to provide information to its employees and members about actions that they should take and services that are available to ensure that their children are provided the support to which they are legally entitled.

PART 2-DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this order:

Sec. 201. "Federal agency" means any authority as defined at 5 U.S.C. 105, including the Uniformed Services, as defined in section 202 of this order.

Sec. 202. "Uniformed Services" means the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Public Health Service.

Sec. 203. "Child support enforcement" means any administrative or judicial action by a court or administrative entity of a State necessary to establish paternity or establish a child support order, including a medical support order, and any actions necessary to enforce a child support or medical support order. Child support actions may be brought under the civil or criminal laws of a State and are not limited to actions brought on behalf of the State or individual by State agencies providing services under title IV-D of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 651 et seq.

Sec. 204. "State" means any of the fifty States, the District of Columbia, the territories, the possessions, and the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and of the Mariana Islands. [*11014]

PART 3-IMMEDIATE ACTIONS TO ENSURE CHILDREN ARE SUPPORTED BY THEIR PARENTS

Sec. 301. Wage Withholding. (a) Within 60 days from the date of this order, every Federal agency shall review its procedures for wage withholding under 42 U.S.C. 659 and implementing regulations to ensure that it is in full compliance with the requirements of that section, and shall endeavor, to the extent feasible, to process wage withholding actions consistent with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. 666(b).

(b) Beginning no later than July 1, 1995, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) shall publish annually in the Federal Register the list of agents (and their addresses) designated to receive service of withholding notices for Federal employees.

Sec. 302. Service of Legal Process. Every Federal agency shall assist in the service of legal process in civil actions pursuant to orders of courts of States to establish paternity and establish or enforce a support obligation by making Federal employees and members of the Uniformed Services stationed outside the United States available for the service of process. Each agency shall designate an official who shall be responsible for facilitating a Federal employee's or member's availability for service of process, regardless of the location of the employee's workplace or member's duty station. The OPM shall publish a list of these officials annually in the Federal Register, beginning no later than July 1, 1995.

Sec. 303. Federal Parent Locator. Every Federal agency shall cooperate with the Federal Parent Locator Service, established under 42 U.S.C. 653, by providing complete, timely and accurate information that will assist in locating noncustodial parents and their employers.

Sec. 304. Crossmatch for Delinquent Obligors. (a) The master file of delinquent obligors that each State child support enforcement agency submits to the Internal Revenue Service for Federal income tax refund offset purposes shall be matched at least annually with the payroll or personnel files of Federal agencies in order to determine if there are any Federal employees with child support delinquencies. The list of matches shall be forwarded to the appropriate State child support enforcement agency to determine, in each instance, whether wage withholding or other enforcement actions should be commenced. All matches will be performed in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(o)-(u).

(b) All Federal agencies shall inform current and prospective employees that crossmatches are routinely made between Federal personnel records and State records on individuals who owe child support, and inform employees how to initiate voluntary wage withholding requests.

Sec. 305. Availability of Service. All Federal agencies shall advise current and prospective employees of services authorized under title IV-D of the Social Security Act that are available through the States. At a minimum, information shall be provided annually to current employees through the Employee Assistance Program, or similar programs, and to new employees during routine orientation.

Sec. 306. Report on Actions Taken. Within 90 days of the date of this order, all Federal agencies shall report to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the actions they have taken to comply with this order and any statutory, regulatory, and administrative barriers that hinder them from complying with the requirements of part 3 of this order.

PART 4-ADDITIONAL ACTIONS

Sec. 401. Additional Review for the Uniformed Services. (a) In addition to the requirements outlined above, the Secretary of the Department of Defense (DOD) will chair a task force, with participation by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Transportation, that shall conduct a full review of current policies and practices within the Uniformed Services to ensure that children [*11015] of Uniformed Services personnel are provided financial and medical support in the same manner and within the same time frames as is mandated for all other children due such support. This review shall include, but not be limited to, issues related to withholding non-custodial parents' wages, service of legal process, activities to locate parents and their income and assets, release time to attend civil paternity and support proceedings, and health insurance coverage under the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS). All relevant existing statutes, including the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act, and the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, shall be reviewed and appropriate legislative modifications shall be identified. (b) Within 180 days of the date of this order, DOD shall submit to OMB a report based on this review. The report shall recommend additional policy, regulatory and legislative changes that would improve and enhance the Federal Government's commitment to ensuring parental support for all children.

Sec. 402. Additional Federal Agency Actions. (a) OPM and HHS shall jointly study and prepare recommendations concerning additional administrative, regulatory, and legislative improvements in the policies and procedures of Federal agencies affecting child support enforcement. Other agencies shall be included in the development of recommendations for specific items as appropriate. The recommendations shall address, among other things:

(i) any changes that would be needed to ensure that Federal employees comply with child support orders that require them to provide health insurance coverage for their children;

(ii) changes needed to ensure that more accurate and up-to-date data about civilian and uniformed personnel who are being sought in conjunction with State paternity or child support actions can be obtained from Federal agencies and their payroll and personnel records, to improve efforts to locate noncustodial parents and their income and assets;

(iii) changes needed for selecting Federal agencies to test and evaluate new approaches to the establishment and enforcement of child support obligations;

(iv) proposals to improve service of process for civilian employees and members of the Uniformed Services stationed outside the United States, including the possibility of serving process by certified mail in establishment and enforcement cases or of designating an agent for service of process that would have the same effect and bind employees to the same extent as actual service upon the employees;

(v) strategies to facilitate compliance with Federal and State child support requirements by quasi-governmental agencies, advisory groups, and commissions; and

(vi) analysis of whether compliance with support orders should be a factor used in defining suitability for Federal employment.

(b) The recommendations are due within 180 days of the date of this order. The recommendations are to be submitted in writing to the Office of Management and Budget.

Sec. 501. Internal Management. This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the executive branch with regard to child support enforcement and shall not be interpreted to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party against the United States, its officers, or any other person.

Sec. 502. Sovereignty of the United States Government. This order is intended only to provide that the Federal Government has elected to require Federal agencies to adhere to the same standards as are applicable to all other employers in the Nation and shall not be interpreted as subjecting the Federal Government to any State law or requirement. This order should not be construed as a waiver of the sovereign immunity of the United [*11016] States Government or of any existing statutory or regulatory provisions, including 42 U.S.C. 659, 662, and 665; 5 CFR Part 581; 42 CFR Part 21, Subpart C; 32 CFR Part 54; and 32 CFR Part 81.

Sec. 503. Defense and Security.

This order is not intended to require any action that would compromise the defense or national security interest of the United States.

S/WILLIAM J.CLINTON

THE WHITE HOUSE,

February 27, 1995. [FR Doc. 95-5146 Filed 2-27-95; 11:23 am]

Billing code 3195-01-P