National Child Support Enforcement Strategic Plan
TO: STATE AGENCIES ADMINISTERING CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT PLANS UNDER TITLE IV-D OF THE THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT AND OTHER INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS
SUBJECT: NATIONAL CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT STRATEGIC PLAN
BACKGROUND: This Information Memorandum transmits to you the National Child Support Enforcement Strategic Plan. This five year strategic plan reflects a consensus among state child support enforcment agencies, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), Central and Regional Office child support staff achieved during a February 28 videoconference. Advocacy organizations and other stakeholders also made important contributions to the strategic plan.
Together, we have developed a vision and set goals and objectives for an improved Child Support Enforcement program for the future.
Of course, our work is not completed with this document. A representative performance measures workgroup has been formed and will identify indicators by which we can gauge the success of our program on the national level. Once consensus is achieved on the indicators, they will be integrated into the text of the strategic plan as well.
We want to emphasize that the strategic plan is a flexible document which will always be open for comment, improvement and appropriate modification. In the future, our operating environment will change, and as we all must adjust, so must the strategic plan.
We are pleased to share this strategic plan with you and wish to thank all who took part in this effort.
ATTACHMENT: National Child Support Enforcement Strategic Plan Page 2
INQUIRIES: OCSE, Division of Policy and Planning and Evaluation, Elizabeth C. Matheson (202) 401-9386. Inquiries may also be directed to Regional Offices.
David Gray Ross
Office of Child Support Enforcement
February 28, 1995
CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT STRATEGIC PLAN FOR FY 1995-1999
This strategic plan (Plan) describes the broad direction and aspirations of the Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Program (Program) for the five year period from FY 1995 to 1999. During this time, the Program will grow and change, becoming more results-oriented and responsive to customers. In addition, welfare reforms will necessitate Program enhancements. As the Program and the environment in which it operates continue to evolve, this Plan will change. This is a long-range, "big picture" national plan for the program. State programs are at different stages and levels of progress and State as well as Federal annual performance plans may focus on more limited, specific areas of concentration for program improvements.
This Plan is organized hierarchically, with goals and objectives flowing from the Program mission and vision. The Program vision is an outgrowth of the broader vision of the Administration for Children and Families, OCSE's parent organization. Promoting the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals and communities is the heart of the ACF mission. Through Federal leadership, ACF sees:
Families and individuals empowered to increase their own economic independence and productivity;
Strong, healthy, supportive communities having a positive impact on the quality of life and the development of children;
Partnerships with individuals, front-line service providers, communities, American Indian tribes and communities, States and Congress that enable solutions which transcend traditional agency boundaries;
Services planned, reformed and integrated to improve needed access; and
A strong commitment to working with persons with developmental disabilities, refugees and migrants to address their needs, strengths and abilities.
The widespread consensus in the child and family policy community that multiple needs of vulnerable children cannot be addressed adequately through fragmented service delivery systems points to the need for coordination and building new partnerships at all levels. A variety of social programs have already begun to seize new opportunities to promote family strength and stability, enhance parental functioning and protect children.
These goals are supported by the CSE Program, and to that extent that they can be achieved, they will alleviate the stunning caseload growth which the Program has experienced over the last decade. While the government and ACF attempt to achieve these over-arching goals, the CSE Program helps keep children who are in divided families connected financially and emotionally with both parents.
Trust, communication, planning, creativity, risk-taking, and respect among Program partners are values to which ACF is committed.
The Child Support Enforcement Program is authorized and defined by statute, title IV-D of the Social Security Act. The purpose and the mission of the Program are derived from the Act:
To assure that assistance in obtaining support (both financial and medical) is available to children through locating parents, establishing paternity and support obligations, and enforcing those obligations.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE
The Child Support Enforcement Program will put children first by helping parents assume responsibility for the economic and social well-being, health and stability of their children. We recognize the value of improved relationships with both parents.
The Child Support Enforcement program will promote stability, health, and economic security for all children in need of support. This will be accomplished by assuring that a parent who lives outside the primary residence of the children has a legal relationship with the child, pays an appropriate level of child support on a regular and timely basis, and is encouraged, except in cases where this is proven to be inappropriate, to have an ongoing relationship with the child. Child support includes providing for medical support.
We acknowledge that fathers and mothers (and other caretakers) each play a critical emotional role in a child's upbringing. Thus, within the context of first serving the best interests of the child, we must see that all parents are treated fairly and equitably by the CSE system and that the concerns of both parents are recognized.
The Program is committed to expanding its knowledge base through research and demonstration projects with State and local governments that are intended to advance the well-being of children.
OUR CUSTOMERS, PARTNERS AND STAKEHOLDERS
For the purpose of this document, the primary customers of the Child Support Enforcement Program are children in need of support. Secondary customers are the two parents of these children. It is important to recognize the different values and perspectives of those involved in children's lives and to acknowledge that, while interests may conflict, the physical and emotional needs of the child are paramount.
The Program is a partnership. The partners operate the program and must work together to achieve results for Program customers. The partners include:
State and local child support enforcement agencies;
Courts, law enforcement agencies, and other entities operating under cooperative agreements with child support enforcement agencies; and
The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), including ACF Regional Offices.
Many other groups have a legitimate interest in how our customers are served. These stakeholders make a contribution toward, and benefit from, a well-run Program. They include national interest groups and community- based organizations that help serve the interests of Program customers or partners; other components of Federal, State and local government that serve our customers, such as title IV-A, XIX and IV-E agencies; related government agencies that work on particular aspects of the Program; contractors; employers; hospitals; Congress; State legislatures; taxpayers; and the public in general.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Program goals are the broad outcomes or impacts sought for program customers. Objectives are the results needed to be accomplished in order for the goals to become a reality. It is assumed that accomplishment of the objectives will result in achievement of the goals.
As this Plan has been developed by OCSE in partnership with the IV-D State agencies, approaches which establish how particular objectives will be accomplished will be developed by the State IV-D managers and staff who operate the Program in partnership with OCSE. Those strategic and tactical planning efforts continue the process that this Plan begins. In addition, OCSE will develop an internal plan, setting forth the role of Federal staff in supporting State and local agencies' efforts in child support enforcement. It is expected that, over time, this Plan and individual State's strategic plans will continue to develop and, through continued collaboration, will dovetail.
The goals and objectives described below are for the entire breadth of the Program and not simply Federal activities.
All partners in administering the Program need to be involved in developing the initial goals and objectives and then to remain committed to achieving results focused on children. The strategic planning process is ongoing and continuously improving and focusing the direction taken by the Program. Consequently, OCSE will continually seek input to these goals and objectives from our partners, customers and stakeholders.
In some program areas, the best results for children will be achieved through improving consistency and uniformity in service delivery and eliminating conflicting program policies. We plan to work with States to identify activities, such as in the interstate and international arenas and data collection, where uniform approaches yield the best results.
We recognize that to achieve broad satisfactory results for children, partners need to work closely together and strike a balance between uniformity and flexibility to allow for innovation in program operations.
Empowering partners with more flexibility and encouraging innovation will also be a major operating principle. We need to make full use of the experience and creative talents of all partners in the program to achieve the ambitious outcomes we are seeking. While not a specific, child-oriented goal of the Plan, constant effort to stimulate and celebrate innovation and creativity is the essence of the approach to successful accomplishment of the Plan's goals and objectives.
In consonance with the principles of creativity and innovation, both OCSE and our partners must commit to operating in a continuously improving and empowering environment -- supported by opportunities for development, modern management practices, and maximum use of technology.
GOAL 1: ALL CHILDREN HAVE PARENTAGE ESTABLISHED
a. To Increase Establishment of Paternities, Particularly Those Established within One Year of Birth
GOAL 2: ALL CHILDREN IN IV-D CASES HAVE FINANCIAL AND MEDICAL SUPPORT ORDERS
a. To Increase the % of IV-D Cases with Orders for Financial Support
b. To Increase the % of Cases With Orders for Medical Support
GOAL 3: ALL CHILDREN IN IV-D CASES RECEIVE FINANCIAL AND MEDICAL SUPPORT FROM BOTH PARENTS
a. To Increase the Collection Rate
b. To Increase the Percentage of Cases Where Health Insurance Coverage Is Obtained After Being Ordered
c. To Increase the Percentage of Cases with Appropriate and Up-to-date Support Orders
d. To Make the Process More Efficient and Responsive