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Revised Measurement/Reporting of Paternity Establishment Percentages in Compliance with Family Support Act of 1988

AT-89-03

Published: March 6, 1989
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Case Management, Paternity Establishment, Federal Reporting
Types:
Policy, Action Transmittals (AT)
Tags:
Performance Management

ACTION TRANSMITTAL

OCSE-AT-89-3

March 6, 1989

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

SUBJECT:Measurement and Reporting of State Paternity Establishment Percentages Used to Determine Compliance with Paternity Standards Mandated by P.L. 100-485

CONTENT:The following instructions amend those given in Action Transmittal OCSE-AT-88-20 dated December 28, 1988, related to implementing compliance with Section 111, Performance Standards for State Paternity Establishment Programs, of the Family Support Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-485).

The instructions relate to alternative methods for establishing the percent of children in the caseload born out of wedlock and for whom paternity has been established, and those for whom paternity needs to be established, as of December 31, 1988, and also extends the due date for submitting these data from April 1, 1989, to July 31, 1989. December 31, 1988, was selected for the baseline date because a common date is needed for all States, and it is the most likely date provided for in the law for which States will be able to produce the data needed.

The Secretary may modify the requirements of the paternity establishment process outlined in section 111 to take into account additional variables that may affect a State's ability to comply. Such additional variables may be later outlined for future measurements of paternity establishment for purposes of determining whether or not State performance equals or exceeds one of the three performance standards stipulated in the law beginning with fiscal year 1992. Any additional variables that might better be identified as affecting the ability of a State to meet one or another performance standard would not alter the baseline determination of paternity performance.

SUPERSEDED

MATERIAL: OCSE-AT-88-20, dated December 28, 1988.

EFFECTIVE

DATE: December 31, 1988

INQUIRIES

TO: OCSE Regional Representatives

Wayne A. Stanton

Director

BACKGROUND

As explained in OCSE-AT-88-20, Public Law 100-485 requires the States to meet a standard for paternity establishment in order to be in substantial compliance with the requirement to operate an effective paternity establishment program. It requires States to be judged using the following measure:

The total number of children, with respect to whom Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) is being paid or Child Support Enforcement (IV-D) services are being provided under section 454(6) of the Social Security Act, who were born out of wedlock and for whom paternity has been established divided by the total number of children receiving AFDC or IV-D services who were born out of wedlock. (For purposes of this standard, the total number of children born out of wedlock will exclude any child who is a dependent child due to the death of a parent or any child with respect to whom an applicant or recipient is found to have good cause for refusing to cooperate with State IV-D authorities in the establishment of paternity or establishment and enforcement of child support orders because of the best interests of the child).

DATA REQUIREMENTS

As explained in AT-88-20, each State is required to report the data necessary to calculate the paternity establishment percentage as of December 31, 1988. We are extending the due date for reporting these statistics from April 1, 1989, to July 31, 1989. Thus, for all children in IV-D cases that are open on December 31, 1988, regardless of whether such cases have received any IV-D services during 1988, or previously, the following information is required:

(1) The number of children who were born out of wedlock;and (2) the number of children who were born out of wedlock and for whom paternity has been established.

In reporting these data, States must first report an unduplicated count of the total number of children (AFDC, non-AFDC, and AFDC "arrears only"). States must then report an unduplicated count of the total number of title IV-E foster care and foster care "arrears only" children separately. Although title IV-E foster care numbers may not be used in calculating the standard because it is not provided for in the statute, it is possible that Congress will later provide for this omission and the children so classified should be recorded and the count saved for possible future use.

For added clarity in classifying children for this requirement, the following case definitions are to be used and the figures for the total should include:

I. AFDC Cases (Regular and "Arrears Only")

A.A IV-D AFDC case is defined as an an absent parent whose child/children of one other parent are determined to be eligible under title IV-A of the Social Security Act (i.e., AFDC) and whose children's support rights have been assigned by a caretaker relative to the State, and for which a valid referral to the State IV-D agency has been made.

NOTE:Interstate cases received should be opened in each category as appropriate and counted.

B.An AFDC arrears only case is defined as an an absent parent whose child/children of one other parent are former recipients of IV-A payments and the absent parent owes the State for unreimbursed assistance and there are child support arrearages assigned to the State.

NOTE:All arrears only children should be counted once only. There is danger of counting them twice with non AFDC children.

II. Non AFDC Cases

A IV-D non AFDC case is defined an absent parent whose child/children of the parent are not currently determined to be eligible for assistance under title IV-A. Services are being provided under the State's plan approved under this part for the fiscal year pursuant to an application submitted under section 454(6) of the Social Security Act or pursuant to automatic continuation of cases leaving AFDC benefit status or referral from Medicaid.

The figures for foster care should include:

III. Foster Care Cases (Regular and "Arrears Only")

A.A IV-D Foster Care case is defined as an absent parent whose child/children of one other parent are receiving foster care maintenance payments under title IV-E of the Social Security Act. Each absent parent of the child/children of one other parent, where the child/children are receiving a IV-E grant is to be counted as a IV-D case.

B.A Foster Care arrears only case is defined as an absent parent whose child/children of one other parent are former recipients of foster case maintenance payments under title IV-E of the Social Security Act and the absent parent owes the State for unreimbursed assistance and there are child support arrearagesassigned to the State.

Note: It is important to include all children in an unduplicated count.

Exclude any child who is a dependent child due to the death of a parent or any child with respect to whom an applicant or recipient has been found to have a valid good cause claim for refusing to cooperate with State IV-D authorities under section 402(a)(26) in accordance with the best interests of the child. Child has been defined as any person up to the age of 18 years on December 31, 1988, or up to the age of the

States' statute of limitation on establishment of paternity, if the statute of limitations is greater than up to 18 years. OCSE-AT-88-17, issued November 18, 1988, clarified that effective August 16, 1984, States are to have in effect and to have implemented laws for the establishment of paternity for any child at anytime prior to the child's 18th birthday. This applies to: (1) any child for whom paternity has not been established and (2) any child for whom a paternity action was brought but dismissed because a statute of limitation of less than 18 years was in effect in the State.

Children in interstate cases should be treated as follows: those children with absent parents in other States are to be listed in their State of residence if such State has not initiated an interstate action. Where a State has initiated a case in the State of the absent parent, such children will be listed by the responding State.

METHODOLOGY

The most desirable method for compiling and reporting these data is by means of a complete case census of all children meeting the stated criteria, and classified as required above. Because of the precision needed, a complete census is preferred. However, this may not be possible for all States. A complete census may be a large, costly undertaking in both time and money. In lieu of a complete census of cases, OCSE will allow States to use a sample of cases to report the required data.

Because of the precision needed in calculating these figures, it is desirable to have a sampling methodology with as few errors as possible, The ideal sample would have a high confidence level and a small margin of error. This ideal sample might require large sample sizes in some States. Large samples can be as costly to implement as a complete census. To further facilitate obtaining this information OCSE has devised two sampling plans (one of which has a higher level of precision than the other), based on the case listing that States are already required to compile for audit purposes under OCSE-AT-87-7, dated August 31, 1987. Both options are being offered in order to give States maximum flexibility, in terms of time, cost and effort, to meet the paternity establishment requirements of Public Law 100-485. These are the only three options that can be used for determining the baseline paternity establishment performance of a State.

NOTE: If the second, less precise, sampling methodology is selected, States should be advised that they will have to use a more precise method - a complete census or the other sampling methodology - in calculating the required data in FY 1992, the initial year for which the paternity establishment standard is tied to the audit penalty provision of the Social Security Act.

SAMPLING PLANS

INFORMATION MEMORANDUM (IM-89-2) PRESENTS THE TWO SAMPLING PLANS WITH DETAILED STEPS FOR IMPLEMENTATION AND USE. IF EITHER SAMPLING PLAN OPTION IS CHOSEN IN LIEU OF A COMPLETE CENSUS OF CASES BY A STATE, IT MUST BE FOLLOWED EXACTLY AS PRESENTED IN THIS IM AND DOCUMENTATION (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, CASES SELECTED IN PRELIMINARY SAMPLE, COMPLETE IV-D CASELOAD LISTING, START POINT, REASONS FOR EXCLUSION, ETC.) MUST BE CAREFULLY COLLECTED AND PRESERVED AT EVERY STEP OF THE PROCESS FOR FUTURE INSPECTION BY THE OCSE AUDIT DIVISION.

The sampling plans are designed to assure that either sample is scientifically selected to be representative of all IV-D children in the State. Each sampling methodology is independent of the type of IV-D program being operated by the States. They are not plans to sample sites or offices, but rather, cases and the children in them. The environment of the program in the sense of State or county administration, extent of reliance on cooperative agreement agencies and other factors has no effect on either sampling methodology. A step-by-step guide has been prepared (contained in Information Memorandum 89-2) to assist in selecting samples that (1) are large enough to provide estimates that meet an appropriate level of precision, (2) are selected in a manner that assures that estimates produced are unbiased, and (3) minimizes the reporting burden by drawing upon reasonably available audit case listings as a sampling frame rather than requiring the development of child listings.

It is recommended that States review the guide and carefully consider whether significant cost savings will be achieved by sampling. For many small and medium sized States, all cases or a large proportion of the cases must be listed and counted to assure that adequate precision is achieved. The guide will indicate whether or not sampling is an option, given your caseload size. The guide will also help you decide which sampling methodology is the most appropriate to use at this time.

PRINCIPLES OF SAMPLING

When the characteristics of a population must be determined, the cost of obtaining data on each individual in the population is sometimes prohibitive. In such instances a carefully drawn sample of observations can provide a reasonably precise estimateof the characteristics in the population. However, it is essential that the sample be drawn using scientific techniques so that the sample is representative of the entire population and the sample size is large enough so that there is no more than an acceptable amount of sampling error, defined as the difference between the value of the characteristic as estimated from a scientifically selected sample and the true population value of the characteristic.

In this section, the basic principles of sampling procedures are explained so that individuals responsible for developing and drawing the sample for paternity establishment will understand the rationale for the procedures detailed in Information Memorandum 89-2.

Once the frame has been established, a sample is drawn in a manner so that each member of the population has a known probability of being included in the sample. A number of methods are available for drawing an appropriate random sample, but we will only discuss a method known as "systematic sampling". In systematic sampling, the population members in the frame are numbered sequentially, and population members are selected at equally spaced intervals (such as every 10th, 53rd, or 890th observation). The first sampled population member is selected at random. OCSE has already used a random number generator to determine the starting observations for the samples to be drawn.

The size of the sample is determined by applying a formula that leads to a sampling error that is small enough to be acceptable. In general, the estimate produced when a sample is drawn will not be exactly equal to the true population value. In the two sampling methodologies, sample size is selected so that if repeated samples were drawn, 95 percent of the time the estimated value from the sample would be within a certain amount of the true population value for the characteristic of interest. OCSE chose a 95 percent confidence level because it is used in most governmental audit samples.

The desired maximum difference between the estimated value and the true population value is termed the precision level. In these two cases, OCSE has determined that in drawing the sample to estimate the paternity establishment percentage, 95 percent of the time the first sampling methodology should produce an estimate that is within plus or minus 1 percentage point of the true percentage of paternity establishment in the population and the second sampling methodology should produce an estimate that is within plus or minus 5 percentage points of the true percentage. Several expert statisticians have been consulted and every effort has been made to minimize the effort necessary to sample to an acceptable level of precision.

Each State must choose which of the three alternative approaches is most suitable given its data availability, resources, and other relevant factors. Beginning in FY 1992, States must besubstantially in compliance with the requirement to improve paternity establishment at a yearly rate as spelled out in the law or be faced with a statutory penalty.

102 STAT.2348 PUBLIC LAW 100-485-OCT.13, 1988

SUBTITLE B-ESTABLISHMENT OF PATERNITY

SEC.111. PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR STATE PATERNITY ESTABLISHMENT PROGRAMS.

42 USC 652(a) STANDARDS FOR STATE PROGRAMS. - Section 452 of the Social Security Act is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

Effective Date. "(g)(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, 1991, its paternity establishment percentage for such fiscal year equals or exceeds -

"(A) 50 percent;

"(B) the paternity establishment percentage of the State for the fiscal year 1988, increased by the applicable number of percentage points; or

"(C) the paternity establishment percentage determined with respect to all States for such fiscal year.

"(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 under all such plans) for such fiscal year, or (II) with respect to whom services are being provided under the State's plan approved under this part (or under all such plans) for the fiscal year pursuant to an application submitted under section 454(6), and

"(iii) the paternity of whom has been established, bears to the total number of children who have been born out of wedlock and (except as provided in such last sentence) with respect to whom aid is being paid under the State's plan approved under part A (or under all such plans) for such fiscal year or with respect to whom services are being provided under the State's plan approved under this part (or under all such plans) for the fiscal year pursuant to an application submitted under section 454(6); and

"(B) the applicable number of percentage points means, with respect to a fiscal year (beginning with the fiscal year 1991), 3 percentage points multiplied by the number of fiscal years after thefiscal year 1989 and before the beginning of such fiscal year.

For the 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 or any child with respect to whom an applicant or recipient is found to have good cause for refusing to cooperate under section 402(a)(26).

"(3)(A) The requirements of this subsection are in addition to and shall not supplant any other requirement (that is not inconsistent with such requirements) established in regulations by the Secretary for the purpose of determining (for purposes of section 403(h)) whether the program of a State operated under this part shall be treated as complying substantially with the requirements of this part.

"(B) The Secretary may modify the requirements of this subsection to take into account such additional variables as the Secretary identifies (including the percentage of children born out-of-wedlock in a State) that affect the ability of a State to meet the requirements of this subsection.

Reports. "(C) The Secretary shall submit an annual report to the Congress that sets forth the data upon which the paternity establishment percentages for States for a fiscal year are based, lists any additional variables the Secretary has identified under subparagraph (A), and describes State performance in establishing paternity."

42 USC 666 (b) GENETIC TESTS MAY BE REQUIRED BY CONTESTING PARTY.-Section 466(a)(5) of such Act is amended-

(1) by inserting "(A)" after "(5)"; and

(2) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

"(B) Procedures under which the State is required (except in cases where the individual involved has been found under section 402(a)(26)(B) to have good cause for refusing to cooperate) to require the child and all other parties, in a contested paternity case, to submit to genetic tests upon the request of any such party.".

42 USC 654 (c) STATES MAY CHARGE INDIVIDUALS NOT RECEIVING AFDC FOR COSTS OF GENETIC TESTS TO ESTABLISH PATERNITY.-Section 454(6) of such Act is amended-

(1) by redesignating clause (D) as clause (E); and

(2) by inserting "(D) a fee (in accordance with regulations of the Secretary) for performing genetic tests may be imposed on any individual who is not a recipient of aid under a State plan approved under part A," after "section 464(a)(2),".

(d) ENCOURAGEMENT OF CIVIL PROCESSES.- Part D of title IV of such Act is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

"ENCOURAGEMENT OF STATES TO ADOPT SIMPLE CIVIL PROCESS FOR VOLUNTARILY ACKNOWLEDGING PATERNITY AND A CIVIL PROCEDURE FOR ESTABLISHING PATERNITY IN CONTESTED CASES

42 USC 668 "SEC. 468. In the administration of the child support enforcement program under this part, each State is encouraged to establish and implement a simple civil process for voluntarily acknowledging paternity and a civil procedure for establishing paternity in contested cases".

(e) REQUIREMENT TO PERMIT PATERNITY ESTABLISHMENT FOR CHILD UNDER 18. -Section 466(a)(5)(A) of such Act (as so designated by subsection (b) of this section) is amended-

(1) by inserting "(i)" before"(A)";and

(2) by inserting at the end the following new clause:

Effective Date "(ii) As of August 16, 1984, the requirement of clause (i) shall also apply to any child for whom paternity has not yet been established and any child for whom a paternity action was brought but dismissed because a statute of limitations of less than 18 years was then in effect in the State.".

42 USC 652 note.(f) EFFECTIVE DATE; IMPLEMENTATION. -(1) The amendments made by subsections (a), (d), and (e) shall become effective on the date of the enactment of this Act.

42 USC 654 note. (2) The amendments made by subsections (b) and (c) shall become effective on the first day of the first month beginning one year or more after the date of the enactment of this Act.

42 USC 652 note. (3) The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall collect the data necessary to implement the requirements of section 452(g) of the Social Security Act (as needed by subsection (a) of this section) and may, in carrying out the requirement of determining a State's paternity establishment percentage for the fiscal year 1988, compute such percentage on the basis of data collected with respect to the last quarter of the fiscal year (or, if such data are not available, the first quarter of the fiscal year 1989) if the Secretary determines that data for the full year are not available.

SEC. 112. INCREASED FEDERAL ASSISTANCE FOR PATERNITY ESTABLISHMENT.

(a) INCREASED PAYMENTS TO STATES. -Section 42 USC 655. 455(a)(1) of the Social Security Act is amended-

(1) by striking "and" at the end of subparagraph (A);

(2) by striking the semicolon at the end of subparagraph (B) and inserting in lieu thereof ",and"; and

(3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph;

"(C) ;equal to 90 percent (rather than the percentage specified in subparagraph (A)) of so much of the sums expended during such quarter as are attributable to laboratory costs incurred in determining paternity;".

42 USC 655 note. (b) EFFECTIVE DATE.- The amendments made by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to laboratory costs incurred on or after October 1, 1988.