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Procedures for Implementing Changes to 45 CFR 302.35, 302.70, and 303.3 - Access to the FPLS

AT-78-16

Published: October 16, 1978
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Case Management, Locate, Federal Systems, Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS)
Types:
Policy, Action Transmittals (AT)

Federal Parent Locator Service, affecting access

PROGRAM INSTRUCTION

ACTION TRANSMITTAL

OCSE-AT-78-16

October 16, 1978

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

SUBJECT:Procedures for Implementing Changes to 45 CFR 302.35, 302.70, and 303.3, Affecting Access to the Federal Parent Locator Service

BACKGROUND:Regulations were published in the Federal Register on July 31, 1978 which permit State child support agencies to submit requests for location information to the Federal Parent Locator Service (PLS) from two child support offices in the State in addition to the central PLS of the State IV-D agency. In addition, the State may now submit these requests at the same time that a search is being made of sources within the State.

CONTENT:This program instruction outlines procedures for implementing the new regulatory provisions. Any State IV-D agency wishing to designate one or two additional child support offices as access points to the Federal PLS must have an approved State Plan amendment on file (preprinted plan amendment forms are being transmitted by another Action Transmittal). Once this has been accomplished, a State may proceed according to the attached instructions.

Full responsibility for any decision to augment access points rests with the central State IV-D agency. Requests will not be accepted from localities which have not been certified by the IV-D Director and approved by OCSE in accordance with the attached instructions. Certification should be based on the IV-D Director's judgment that allowing another office access to the Federal PLS will lead to more efficient program operations. The central State PLS still has final responsibility for managing the State's caseload. As outlined in the instructions, requests from a new site will not be accepted until an on-site review by a Federal PLS staff member has been performed.

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Submittal of most address information requests to the Federal PLS concurrently with State source searches can begin immediately. The format of requests and procedures for submitting them will not change, except that the required certification of all requests need no longer contain a statement that the State has already made diligent and reasonable efforts to find the absent parent, with no success.

The amended regulation requires that a search of State address information sources must be made, even if concurrently with the Federal search. Consequently, States should use discretion in the submittal of requests to the Federal PLS. Quick turnaround on address information requests is of paramount importance in the location process. If standard State sources can be searched quickly, or if it appears likely that the absent parent will be located within the State it would be more efficient and time-effective to defer requests to the Federal PLS. The Federal search in most cases takes longer than the search of State records, and it should be remembered that a vastly increased volume of cases submitted to the Federal PLS may result in delays.

The exception to concurrent search cases is prescribed in title IV-D of the Social Security Act, which specifically states in Section 453(f):

"The Secretary. . .shall enter into arrangements with State agencies administering State plans approved under this part for such State agencies to accept from resident parents, legal guardians, or agents of a child described in subsection (c)(3) and, after determining that the absent parent cannot be located through the procedures under the control of such State agency, to transmit to the Secretary requests for information with regard to the whereabouts of absent parents. . ."

Consequently, prior to any request being made to the Federal PLS for individuals described in Section 453(c)(3), of the Act (see 45 CFR 302.35(c)(3)), the State must first make diligent and reasonable efforts to locate the absent parent. This applies to non-AFDC locate only cases. Requests for location information for non-AFDC cases are made by the State IV-D agency pursuant to Section 453(c)(1).

ATTACHMENT:Instructions for Requesting Information from the Federal Parent Locator Service from Multiple Access Points within a State.

INQUIRIES

TO : Regional Representatives, OCSE

Deputy Director

Office of Child Support Enforcement

INSTRUCTIONS FOR REQUESTING INFORMATION FROM THE FEDERAL PLS FROM MULTIPLE ACCESS POINTS WITHIN A STATE

The central office of the State IV-D agency will have full responsibility for any decision to augment its points of access to the Federal PLS. If it is decided that another child support office will be given the authority to submit requests for address information directly to the Federal PLS, and if this decision is reflected in an amendment to the State Plan, the IV-D agency will inform the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) of the specific jurisdiction(s) to be so authorized- Federal PLS staff will be available to discuss this decision with State IV-D staff in advance of a final designation, and to help in the selection process if the State so desires.

Notification to OCSE must be in the form of a letter, signed by the IV-D Director, to the Deputy Director, OCSE, at the following address:

Room 2068

330 C Street, SW.

Washington, D.C. 20201

In addition to naming the jurisdictions, the letter must name those individuals in the new location responsible for signing transmittal certifications and safeguarding data received. Any change in the Federal PLS access points within a State subsequent to the initial designation must likewise be submitted in writing for OCSE approval.

The additional site(s) must be State or local IV-D offices which are already established and functioning as such). These offices must submit requests to the Federal PLS in the same mode used by the central office of the State PLS, unless an exception is granted in writing by OCSE. Exceptions may be granted if, for example, a State whose central PLS submits hard copy requests wishes to install a terminal in one of its new access sites. Where the central State PLS has a terminal interface with the Federal PLS, however, the additional offices must always interface in this mode. This is the only way that additional flexibility can be granted without substantially increasing the cost of Federal PLS operations and the turnaround time for information exchanges.

Once the decision about additional offices has been made and approved, staff from the Federal PLS will contact the authorized official at the new access point to arrange for training by Federal PLS staff, to discuss terminal selection, and to answer any questions. A Federal PLS staff member will visit each new site to evaluate its security measures before final clearance to begin operations is given. Security procedures in effect in the central State PLS, in accordance with 45 CFR 302.18 and allapplicable State guidelines, will apply to newly certified offices as well. Special caution must be exercised to preserve the confidentiality of IRS tax return data.

Requests for address information sent from the new sites will be governed by the same rules as those sent from the central office of the State PLS. Hard copy or tape submittals must be accompanied by a transmittal letter, signed by the authorized official, certifying that:

1.The request is being made to locate an individual for the purpose of establishing paternity or securing child support, and for no other purpose.

2.The State PLS has taken protective measures to safeguard the personal information being transmitted and received through the Federal PLS.

3.The State PLS limits use or disclosure of this information to the purposes prescribed in 45 CFR § 302.18.

Offices with a terminal interface must submit same certification to cover each six-month period of their automatic transmittal of requests.

Offices submitting hard copy requests will be receiving a supply of the revised Form OCSE-4, which will allow for differentiation between offices within a State when there is more than one Federal PLS access point. Instructions will accompany the form. Terminal users will see this distinction reflected in the user I.D. Certain system changes will be made concurrently with those necessary to implement these regulations; these changes will be discussed in a separate Action Transmittal.