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Measurement / Reporting of the State Paternity Establishment Percentage (PEP)

AT-95-04

Published: January 1, 1995
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Case Management, Paternity Establishment, Federal Reporting
Types:
Policy, Action Transmittals (AT)

ACTION TRANSMITTAL
OCSE-AT-95-04
January 1995

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

SUBJECT:       The Measurement and Reporting of the State
               Paternity Establishment Percentage (PEP) in
               accordance with Section 452(g) of the Social
               Security Act as revised by P.L. 103-66 (OBRA '93)
               and P.L. 103-432.

CONTENT:       This Action Transmittal (AT) changes instructions
               previously explained in OCSE-AT-89-03 and OCSE-AT-
               92-09 regarding data reporting, method of
               calculating a State's PEP, and the standards used
               to determine a State's compliance with Federal
               requirements.
RELATED
MATERIAL:      OCSE-AT-90-12
               OCSE-DC-94-43
               OCSE-DC-94-64

SUPERSEDED
MATERIAL:      OCSE-AT-89-03
               OCSE-IM-89-02
               OCSE-AT-92-09

EFFECTIVE
DATE:          For fiscal years beginning on or after
               October 1, 1994

INQUIRIES TO:  ACF Regional Administrators





                              David Gray Ross
                              Deputy Director
                              Office of Child Support
                                Enforcement
BACKGROUND

Section 452(g) of the Social Security Act mandates that States
meet a standard for paternity establishment in order to be in
substantial compliance with the requirement to operate an
effective paternity establishment program.  Recent legislation
has revised this Section regarding the measurement of a State's
Paternity Establishment Percentage (PEP) by: 1) including the
children of Title IV-E cases in the universe of children used in
the calculation of a State's PEP; 2) changing the method of
computing a PEP; and, 3) revising the standards of performance
used to evaluate whether a State is in substantial compliance
with Federal requirements.

Paternity establishment data used to determine a PEP are reported
on form OCSE-158, Child Support Enforcement Program Annual Data
Summary Report.  Instructions for completing form OCSE-158 are in
OCSE-AT-90-12.  The following information outlines new
requirements for the States.

NEW REQUIREMENTS

As reported in OCSE-DC-94-64, Public Laws 103-66 and 103-432 have
revised Section 452(g) of the Social Security Act.  These
revisions are now effective and States will need to begin to
collect data necessary to complete form OCSE-158, due October 30,
1995.  Section 452(g) now provides as follows:

1.   A State's program under this part shall be found, for
purposes of section 403(h), not to have complied substantially
with the requirements of this part unless, for any fiscal year
beginning on or after October 1, 1994, its Paternity
Establishment Percentage (PEP) for such fiscal year is based on
reliable data and (rounded to the nearest whole percentage point)
equals or exceeds--

     (A) 75 percent;

     (B) for a State with a PEP of not less than 50 percent but
     less than 75 percent for such fiscal year, the PEP of the
     State for the immediately preceding fiscal year plus 3
     percentage points;

     (C) for a State with a PEP of not less than 45 percent but
     less than 50 percent for such fiscal year, the PEP of the
     State for the immediately preceding fiscal year plus 4
     percentage points;

     (D) for a State with a PEP of not less than 40 percent but
     less than 45 percent for such fiscal year, the PEP of the
     State for the immediately preceding fiscal year plus 5
     percentage points;

     (E) for a State with a PEP of less than 40 percent for such
     fiscal year, the PEP of the State for the immediately
     preceding fiscal year plus 6 percentage points.

2.   For purposes of this section--

     (A)  the term "paternity establishment percentage" means,
with respect to a State (or all States, as the case may be) for a
fiscal year, the ratio (expressed as a percentage) that the total
number of children--

          (i)  who have been born out of wedlock,

          (ii)(I) except as provided in the last sentence of this
     paragraph, with respect to whom aid is being paid under the
     State's plan approved under part A or E in the fiscal year
     or, at the option of the State, as of the end of such year,
     or (II) with respect to whom services are being provided
     under the State's plan approved under this part in the
     fiscal year or, at the option of the State, as of the end of
     such year pursuant to an application submitted under section
     454(6), and

          (iii) the paternity of whom has been established or
     acknowledged,

     bears to the total number of children born out of wedlock
     and (except as provided in such last sentence) with respect
     to whom aid was being paid under the State's plan approved
     under part A or E as of the end of the preceding fiscal
     year, or with respect to whom services were being provided
     under the State's plan approved under this part as of the
     end of the preceding fiscal year pursuant to an application
     submitted under section 454(6), and

     (B) the term 'reliable data' means the most recent data
available which are found by the Secretary to be reliable for
purposes of this section.

For purposes of subparagraph (A), the total number of children
shall not include any child who is a dependent child by reason of
the death of a parent unless paternity is established for such
child or any child with respect to whom an applicant or recipient
is found to have good cause for refusing to cooperate under
402(a)(26) or any child with respect to whom the State agency
administering the plan under part E determines (as provided in
section 454(4)(B)) that it is against the best interests of such
child to do so.
DATA REPORTING

SUMMARY OF NEW CHANGES

1.  States are required to report the number of children born out
of wedlock with paternity established or acknowledged in Title
IV-E foster care child support cases.

2.  States are required to report the number of children born out
of wedlock in Title IV-E foster care child support cases.

3.  States, at their option, may include the number of children
with paternities established or acknowledged from cases closed
during the fiscal year.

4.  Children whose paternity is voluntarily acknowledged may be
counted as having paternity established, provided that the
acknowledgement creates a rebuttable or conclusive presumption of
paternity under State law (see OCSE-DC-94-43).  Note that a
paternity establishment can only be counted once (either when a
voluntary acknowledgment is obtained or at the time an order
determining paternity is established).

Additional Instructions for Lines 1 through 4 on OCSE-158

Current definitions and instructions to complete the OCSE-158 are
found in OCSE-AT-90-12.  The new paternity establishment data
reporting requirements of Section 452(g) of the Act, are
satisfied by completing lines 1 through 4 of OCSE-158.  In
reporting these data, States must obtain an unduplicated count of
the total number of children born out of wedlock by categories
from the total inventory of open IV-D cases, on the last day of
the fiscal year. 

The new law expands the reporting to include children in IV-E
cases.  Instructions in OCSE-AT-90-12 are valid; however, States
may choose not to separately report IV-E foster care children.
Therefore, if the State chooses, the number of children in title
IV-E cases, born out of wedlock with paternity established, that
should be reported on line 2, may be alternatively combined and
reported in line 1 across all categories.  Similarly the number
of children that should be reported for line 4 may be
alternatively combined and reported in line 3 across all
categories.

The revisions to Section 452(g) require new additional
instructions for completing lines 1 through 4.  New instructions
for completing lines 1 through 4 of OCSE-158 are:
Line 1 - Children Born Out of Wedlock in Title IV-D cases

Report the number of children born out of wedlock in title IV-D
cases open on the last day of the fiscal year, excluding title IV-E
foster care children born out of wedlock.  This is the number of
children, not the number of cases, who were born out of wedlock.

Optional:  The number of IV-E foster care children may be added and
included on this line instead of line 2.

Line 2 - Children Born Out of Wedlock in Title IV-E Foster Care
Child Support Cases

If IV-E foster care children are included in line 1, write across
line 2, "IV-E foster care children are included in line 1".

Report the number of title IV-E foster care and foster care arrears
only children born out of wedlock, in title IV-D cases open on the
last day of the fiscal year.  This is the number of children, not
the number of cases, who were born out of wedlock.

Line 3 - Children Born out of Wedlock with Paternity Established in
Title IV-D Cases

Report the number of children born out of wedlock in all open title
IV-D cases, counted on line 1, excluding title IV-E foster care
children born out of wedlock, who have had paternity established or
acknowledged.  This is the number of children, not the number of
cases, who have had paternity established or acknowledged.
Paternity does not have to have been established by the IV-D
agency. 

Optional:  The number of IV-E foster care children may be added and
included on this line instead of line 4.  Also, at State option,
children from IV-D cases closed during the fiscal year may be
included.

Line 4 - Children Born Out of Wedlock with Paternity Established in
Title IV-E Foster Care Child Support Cases

If IV-E foster care children are included in line 3, write across
line 4, "IV-E foster care children are included in line 3".

Report the number of title IV-E foster care and foster care arrears
only children born out of wedlock, counted on line 2, who have had
paternity established or acknowledged.  This is the number of
children, not the number of cases, who have had paternity
established or acknowledged.  Paternity does not have to have been
established by the IV-D agency. 

Optional:  The number of children from IV-D cases closed during the
fiscal year may be included.
DOCUMENTATION FOR AUDIT PURPOSES

Each State may be audited specifically on its paternity
establishment percentage, and must be able to provide any
information or documentation required to verify the data
reported.  OCSE staff, in auditing previous paternity baseline
data reliability, have encountered data reliability problems,
including States that were unable to provide information on how
data submitted were derived, or to explain what method was used
to obtain the numbers.  Failure to produce these materials will
result in an unsubstantiated paternity establishment percentage.

METHODOLOGY

OCSE-AT-89-03, OCSE-IM-89-02, and OCSE-AT-92-09 discuss
previously accepted sampling methods for reporting paternity
establishment data.  With States' automated Child Support systems
mandated to be on-line by October, 1995, the sampling
alternatives for submitting paternity establishment data should
no longer be necessary.  State automated systems will enable
States to report a complete census of children from their
caseload.  Therefore, beginning with the data for the fiscal year
ending September 30, 1995, a complete census of children from the
caseload is required.