NPRM: Provision of Services in Interstate IV-D Cases
December 15, 1986
TO:STATE AGENCIES ADMINISTERING CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT PLANS APPROVED UNDER TITLE IV-D OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT AND OTHER INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS
SUBJECT:Child Support Enforcement Program; Provision of Services in Interstate IV-D Cases
REFERENCE: 45 CFR Parts 301, 302, 303, and 305
ATTACHMENT:Attached are proposed regulations revising current regulations at 45 CFR 301.1, 302.36, 303.7, 305.20, and 305.32. These regulations would clarify the responsibilities of initiating and responding States in referring and processing interstate IV-D cases and would revise existing audit criteria to reflect these proposed changes.
PERIOD:Consideration will be given to written comments or suggestions received by the Director, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Room 1010, 6110 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, Maryland, 20852, by February 2, 1987.
TO: OCSE Regional Representatives
Office of Child Support Enforcement
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Office of Child Support Enforcement
45 CFR Parts 301, 302, 303, and 305
Child Support Enforcement Program; Provision of Services in Interstate IV-D Cases
AGENCY: Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), HHS.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.
SUMMARY: This proposed regulation revises current regulations at 45 CFR 301.1, 302.36, 303.7, 305.20 and 305.32 by clarifying the responsibilities of initiating and responding States in referring and processing interstate IV-D cases and by revising existing audit criteria to reflect these proposed changes. By requiring the establishment of a central registry for receipt of interstate IV-D cases, the proposed regulation would ensure the consistent and expeditious treatment of these cases.
The regulation would also clarify responsibility for payment of blood testing in establishing paternity as well as other costs in processing interstate IV-D cases and set time frames for acknowledging receipt of and requesting or providing additional information on interstate IV-D cases.
DATE: Consideration will be given to comments received by February 2, 1987.
ADDRESS: Send comments to Director, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Department of Health and Human Services, Room 1010, 6110 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, Maryland 20852. Comments will be available for public inspection Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Room 1010 of the Department's office at the above address.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joyce Linder, (301) 443-5350.
The Child Support Enforcement program was created in response to the alarming rise in welfare costs resulting from increasing non-marital birth rates and parental desertion of families, and to the growing demand on the Congress to relieve taxpayers of the financial burden of supporting these families. Since enactment of title IV-D of the Social Security Act in January 1975, States have been required to cooperate with one another in locating absent parents, establishing paternity and obtaining and enforcing support owed by absent parents to their children. From the beginning of the IV-D program, States havetended to give less than equal attention and treatment to working interstate IV-D cases. In order to carry out their responsibilities under the IV-D program with respect to interstate cases, States must focus greater attention on these cases.
Certain provisions of the Child Support Enforcement Amendments of 1984 (Pub. L. 98-378) were enacted as a result of an effort to improve interstate enforcement. They provide that the laboratory costs of determining paternity may be deducted from administrative costs for purposes of computing incentive payments; amounts collected in interstate cases will be credited, for purposes of computing incentive payments, to both the initiating and responding States; and, that $7 million in FY 1985, $12 million in FY 1986 and $15 million in FY 1987 and years thereafter would be authorized to fund special projects developed by States for demonstrating innovative techniques or procedures for improving child support collections in interstate cases. In addition, the new legislation requires States to have procedures for interstate enforcement of wage withholding and to use expedited processes and other techniques in interstate as well as intrastate cases. These provisions, along with this proposed regulation, will improve State efforts to establish and enforce support in interstate IV-D cases.
In 1982, OCSE funded a grant to collect background data on interstate child support enforcement to better understand the interstate process; to analyze the data to identify the major problems inhibiting effective interstate case processing; and to identify procedural, legislative, regulatory, and policy changes to help OCSE select the appropriate mix of policy and program modifications necessary to improve the enforcement of child support obligations across State lines. The final report of the Interstate Child Support Collections Study (hereafter cited as the Study) issued May 1, 1985 suggested that existing regulations concerning interstate child support enforcement lack necessary direction and control mechanisms for the enforcement of interstate child support orders. (Copies of the Study are available from the OCSE National Reference Center, 6110 Executive Boulevard, Suite 820, Rockville, Maryland 20852.) A primary recommendation was the development of more comprehensive regulations governing interstate cases. Specific criticisms were that existing regulations provide insufficient guidance for processing interstate referrals; do not require States to establish orders in interstate cases; lack specificity in requiring States to cooperate in interstate child support enforcement; lack specific procedural mechanisms for paternity establishment; and do not require monitoring and following up on incoming interstate cases. In addition, study responses indicated that State and local jurisdictions do not consider current Federal legislation and regulations adequate to carry out interstate child support enforcement, and the States lack sufficient motivation to work interstate caseloads since they are viewed as a burden and are given low priority in the allocation of staff time and resources.
One of the major problems identified by the Study was thatState and local IV-D agencies rely on straight Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (URESA) actions in many situations where a superior remedy may be available. It takes longer to establish a new support order than to enforce an existing order and opens the door to possible relitigation of the issue of current support as well as arrearages. URESA is often chosen because it is easy to initiate and because program staff and attorneys are often unaware of the existence of alternate remedies. See Study, pp. 72-73. Such alternatives as use of long-arm statutes, wage withholding and registration of existing orders are discussed in more detail below.
Following the issuance of the Study final report, in 1985 OCSE invited private attorneys, representatives of the American Bar Association, members of State Commissions on Child Support, members of the judiciary, representatives of the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA) and State IV-D directors to discuss interstate cooperation (hereinafter "the 1985 discussions"). Many of the concerns mentioned in the Study were discussed, including cost recovery, payment of blood testing costs, establishment of a central registry for receiving and controlling all incoming interstate IV-D cases, and time frames for processing cases. The discussions addressed ways to motivate States to pursue interstate activities, as well as ways to streamline the process and make it more effective. Those 1985 discussions and recommendations were considered in drafting this proposed regulation.
We believe that the interstate process can be improved and have made this one of OCSE's priorities. In addition to the Study, other efforts include:
(1) Development of standardized transmittal forms (discussed in more detail later in this preamble);
(2) Development by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) of a model interstate wage withholding act with comments;
(3) Publication of a URESA digest containing each State's URESA act;
(4) Development by the ABA of training on the interstate process for clerks of the court and other interested State employees involved in the process; and
(5) Awards, in FY 1985, of $7 million in grants for 15 interstate projects involving 37 States to improve the interstate process. Project areas include clearinghouses and interstate case tracking to improve case processing; regional linkage of data bases to improve absent parent location and paternity establishment; standardized procedures to improve the speed of interstate case processing; and teleconferencing for paternity testimony to speed paternity establishment.
Although current regulations require a State to cooperate with any other State in carrying out any functions required under a IV-D State plan, this proposed regulation clarifies State responsibilities and emphasized the need for States to be more responsive and dedicated to processing interstate IV-D cases to ensure that all children receive the support they deserve. We want to stress that States must meet all requirements imposed byFederal regulations in interstate as well as intrastate cases, regardless of whether or not the requirement is part of or referenced in Ãµ302.36 or Ãµ303.7. This includes wage withholding and expedited process time frames, as well as all other applicable requirements in 45 CFR Parts 301 through 307.
This regulation is proposed under the authority of section 1102 of the Social Security Act (the Act) which requires the Secretary to publish regulations that may be necessary for the efficient administration of the functions for which he is responsible under the Act.
Section 454(9) of the Act requires each State, in accordance with standards prescribed by the Secretary, to cooperate with any other State in establishing paternity, if necessary; in locating an absent parent in the State; in securing compliance by an absent parent residing in the State with an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction against the parent for the support and maintenance of the child or the child and parent of the child with respect to whom aid is being provided under the plan of such other State; and, in carrying out other IV-D functions. Therefore, ample statutory authority exists to prescribe standards which states must meet to fulfill their responsibilities under the State plan to pursue interstate IV-D cases.
This proposed regulation revises current regulations at 45 CFR 301.1, 302.36, 303.7, 305.20 and 305.32. It would require under the title IV-D State plan that States extend to interstate IV-D cases the full range of services available in the State for locating absent parents; establishing paternity; establishing a child support obligation; and securing compliance by an absent parent with a support order. In addition, this proposed regulation would require the establishment of a central registry in each State for receiving and controlling all incoming interstate IV-D cases and would revise existing audit criteria to address changes in ÃµÃµ302.36 and 307.7.
General Definition - Ãµ301.1
We propose to add a definition of the term "central registry" to Ãµ301.1. Proposed Ãµ303.7(a) requires States to establish an interstate central registry to oversee the processing of incoming interstate IV-D cases. The rationale for, and responsibilities of, the interstate central registry are discussed in detail under a separate heading. We propose to define a central registry as an individual or office within the State IV-D agency which receives, controls, and has oversight responsibility for processing incoming interstate IV-D cases, including URESA petitions and requests for wage withholding. At State option the central registry may also perform thesefunctions for intrastate IV-D cases involving more than one county in the State to alleviate difficulties in processing intrastate cases across county lines.
State Plan Requirement - Ãµ302.36
This proposed regulation expands 45 CFR 302.36 in several ways. First, the section title, Cooperation with other States, would be changed to Provision of services in interstate IV-D cases, because we believe the term cooperation does not adequately describe a State's responsibility to process interstate IV-D cases.
Second, we propose to include a requirement that States establish a child support obligation, if necessary, in interstate cases. Current Ãµ302.36 does not address establishment of child support orders and, to clarify that States are required to provide all necessary IV-D services in interstate cases, we believe it is necessary to refer to establishment of child support orders in Ãµ302.36(a).
Third, the proposed Ãµ302.36(b) would require each State to establish a central registry to receive and control all incoming interstate IV-D cases as described in more detail below.
Finally, other minor editorial and clarifying changes are proposed to further expand this section.
Provision of Services in Interstate IV-D Cases - Ãµ303.7
The proposed regulation would substantially revise 45 CFR 303.7 to delineate clearly the responsibilities of responding and initiating States, as well as to require each State to establish a central registry for receipt of interstate IV-D cases. In addition, the section title, Cooperation with other States, would be changed to Provision of services in interstate IV-D cases, for the reasons explained previously.
Interstate Central Registry - Ãµ303.7(a)
Section 303.7(a) requires States to establish, and sets out requirements governing, interstate central registries.
1. Establishment. In paragraph (a)(1), we propose that each State agency establish a central registry responsible for receiving and controlling all incoming interstate IV-D cases, including URESA petitions and requests for wage withholding in IV-D cases.
One of the major problems cited in the Study is that, once an initiating State sends an interstate case to the responding State, the initiating State sends an interstate case to the responding State the initiating state is unable to determine where the case was sent for action within the responding state and if any action is being taken. Indeed, more than half of the Study respondents indicated that no single individual has oversight responsibility for interstate case processing in their States. See Study, p. 50. We believe that establishing a central registry to which all incoming interstate IV-D cases aresent would help alleviate this confusion. Such a central registry would have oversight responsibility including receiving all incoming IV-D cases, conducting an initial review of the case to determine the adequacy of documentation provided, forwarding the case for necessary action such as location of the absent parent, requesting any necessary additional information, acknowledging receipt and informing the initiating State where the request was sent for action, responding to inquiries from other States and monitoring the progress of cases to ensure action is completed.
To date, a number of small States with State-run programs have set up central registries because they saw a need for careful control of interstate IV-D cases and URESA petitions. Use of central registries is a proven method of effective receipt, acknowledgment, review and control of incoming interstate IV-D cases in these States. By requiring the establishment of central registries, we believe the success realized by the States with central registries will be extended to all States. We intend to require that central registries be established and operational according to the requirements of this regulation no later than 90 days after the publication of the final regulation.
Many problems cited in interstate cases also exist in intrastate cases in which more than one local jurisdiction is involved. For example, some jurisdictions experience difficulties in processing intrastate cases in which the custodial parent applies for services in one jurisdiction, the support order was entered in another jurisdiction and the absent parent resides in yet another jurisdiction. Use of a central registry to oversee processing of these cases may prove beneficial. Therefore, we are proposing in Ãµ303.7(a) that, at State option, central registries may be used for intrastate, as well as interstate IV-D cases. Further, States may control all child support cases, including non-IV-D cases, through the central registry as long as costs are allocated and the State only claims expenditures associated with the IV-D program for Federal reimbursement.
2. Responsibilities. NCSEA at its 33rd Annual Conference on Child Support Enforcement in August of 1984 adopted nine resolutions intended to improve interstate enforcement. One of NCSEA's resolutions encouraged URESA State information agents, IV-D directors and, when appropriate, the judiciary to develop procedures which would ensure automatic acknowledgment of receipt of an enforcement request. We share NCSEA's concerns regarding this essential State action upon receipt of an interstate IV-D case and thus propose the following requirements.
Under paragraph (a)(2), within 10 days of receiving an interstate IV-D case from an initiating State, the central registry would be required to review the documentation submitted with the case to determine completeness; forward the case to either the State Parent Locator Service (PLS) for locate services or the appropriate agency for processing; acknowledge receipt of the case; request any missing documentation from the initiating State; and inform the IV-D agency in the initiating State wherethe case was sent for action.
States have complained consistently of interstate IV-D cases being returned without action because the responding State believes it lacks adequate information, or the information provided is not in an acceptable form according to responding State practices. We believe that requiring an initial review by the central registry to determine adequacy of information provided, as well as providing in paragraph (a)(3) that the central registry must process the case to the extent possible pending receipt of additions or corrections to the documentation from the initiating State, will reduce the delay caused by interstate IV-D cases being returned to the initiating State without action. As in the Model Interstate Income Withholding Act developed by the ABA and NCSL, we encourage States to accept documentation even if it is not in the usual form required by State or local rules, as long as substantive requirements are met. In this way, the central registry would commence action on a case by forwarding the case for necessary action, if possible, requesting any missing documentation from the initiating State of where the case was sent for action- all within the 10-day limit.
Finally, the central registry would be required in paragraph (a)(4) to monitor the progress of interstate IV-D cases to ensure that any necessary action is being taken and to enable it to respond to inquiries from other States on the status of the case. The central registry would be required to review case status every 90 days.
Establishment of a receipt and control point in responding States to handle incoming interstate IV-D cases will do much to alleviate State and local concerns about lack of communication, inconsistent treatment, losing track of cases, and cases being returned without action, to mention just a few of the many complaints regarding processing of interstate cases. Requiring the central registry to act quickly and forward the case to the appropriate location in the responding State for action should not delay working the case. Initial review, contact with the initiating State and monitoring the case's progress through the IV-D system are all control mechanisms which are basic elements of any effective system of processing interstate IV-D cases.
Initiating IV-D Agency Responsibilities - Ãµ303.7(b)
Proposed Ãµ303.7(b) sets forth specific responsibilities of the initiating State.
1. Use of long-arm statutes to establish paternity. In addressing the many problems identified with respect to paternity establishment, the Study on page 81 indicates that many jurisdictions are either unable or unwilling to process contested interstate paternity cases. We would stress the Federal requirement in section 454(9) of the Act and 45 CFR 302.36 and 303.7 that States are required to cooperate with any other State in establishing paternity, if necessary. In paragraph (b)(1) we propose that States which have statutory authority to use long-arm jurisdiction in paternity cases be required to use it in appropriate cases. Establishment of paternity is the very coreof a child's rights to support and increased State and Federal efforts to improve the process are essential.
When the custodial parent and child reside in one State and the putative father is in another State, a long-arm statue may enable the court in the child's State to obtain personal jurisdiction over the putative father. If a State has a long-arm statute that can be used for establishing paternity, assistance by the State where the putative father is living may be limited to serving the putative father with a copy of the petition. Because of evidentiary and confrontation requirements, as well as the possible right to jury trials in actions to establish paternity, use of long-arm statutes to establish paternity in the child's State of residence would be advantageous and effective. In addition, the Study found that motivation for successful establishment and prosecution of a child support case is greater when States work their own cases. Therefore, we are proposing to require States with long-arm statutes allowing paternity establishment to use them to establish paternity, and if paternity is established, to attempt to obtain a judgment for costs.
2. Referral to another State. Paragraph (b)(2) would require prompt referral of any interstate IV-D case, including URESA petitions and requests for wage withholding, to the responding State's interstate central registry for action unless the State uses a long-arm statute as provided for in proposed paragraph (b)(1). This would ensure that all interstate IV-D cases are referred by initiating State or local IV-D agencies to the same central registry in a responding State. The initiating State or local IV-D agency would be required to send URESA petitions in IV-D cases as well as interstate requests for wage withholding and all other types of actions in IV-D cases to the responding State's central registry and would contact the central registry for a case status update. When a case is referred by the central registry to a location within the responding State for action, the initiating State or local IV-D agency would be informed and could then directly contact the jurisdiction taking action for an update. The central registry must be kept informed of any action or change of information in a case to be able to respond to inquiries on cases. We believe that referral of interstate requests for wage withholding to the responding State's central registry will ensure that interstate cases in which withholding is required will be controlled in the same manner as other interstate IV-D cases.
3. Use of forms. Current Ãµ303.7(b) and (c) require the initiating State to provide sufficient information to the responding State to enable it to either act on the case or provide absent parent location services. The regulation, however, does not contain many specifics as to what that information must include. In 1977, OCSE published a proposed program instruction (OCSE-AT-77-1, January 3, 1977) which contained standard data elements to be included with: (1) Requests for enforcement and collection; (2) transfers of child support collections; (3) payments of incentives; and (4) notices of change of status, or termination, of a case. It also includedrecommended formats for transmitting the minimum data elements between jurisdictions. The AT was never finalized and history has shown that the recommended formats have not been used or accepted by States. Aspects of the proposed instruction are obsolete, for example the system of payment of incentives, as a result of Pub. L. 98-378. The Study final report indicated the need to develop a standard cover form with essential case information and suggested that Federal regulations require initiating jurisdictions to meet minimum data requirements to be eligible for Federal matching. See Study, p. 101. The Study listed the following minimum data elements:
1. Name and address of the initiating agency including where payments should be sent and the appropriate county identification code;
2. Contact's name and telephone number;
3. Whether there is an existing order;
4. How arrearages were computed;
5. Name and address of the obligee;
6. Standard information on the obligor's location, income, and family situation;
7. Whether the case is AFDC or non-AFDC; and
8. A clear and specific prayer for relief to the court.
Additional essential documents included a copy of the obligee's written testimony including income, expenses and payment history, a certified copy of any existing order, a certified copy of the obligor's payment history if payments were made through the state. Without adequate, accurate information and documentation, successful establishment and enforcement of support orders is impossible.
Because of this obvious, overwhelming need for standardization of information transfer, we are withdrawing the proposed instruction and are proposing instead to require the use of two forms, or computer-generated alternatives to the forms which contain the same essential information, developed by requesting certain actions by the responding State in interstate IV-D cases. This will eliminate the need to revise the regulations themselves if the forms are revised to add or delete information.
In response to the need for uniformity and timely processing of interstate IV-D actions brought under URESA or otherwise, a need expressed by key organizations in the legal and child support enforcement communities, in 1985 a committee initiated the development of a set of standardized interstate forms, designed to accompany essential case information and necessary attachments in transmitting requests for interstate IV-D actions. The committee was comprised of representatives from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges' Child Support Advisory Task Force, the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association, the Conference of State Court Administrators, the Eastern Regional Conference on URESA, the NCSEA, the National Association of Trial Court Administrators, the National District Attorneys Association, and State IV-D directors. The committeeunanimously supports the use of standard forms, and believes that their adoption by all States for transmitting interstate referrals will increase the efficiency and effectiveness with which interstate cases are processed, and will simplify recordkeeping for the courts and the State and local IV-D agencies.
Although initially we believed a single form would suffice for both URESA petitions as well as other types of action requests in interstate IV-D cases, it was quickly decided that two forms were necessary, one to accompany URESA petitions and one for non-URESA requests. Once the committee reached agreement on the data elements, the National Center for State Courts took the lead responsibility for the design, redrafting and final production of the URESA action form.
The URESA form has also been reviewed by the following organizations:
o The National Association of Women Judges.
o The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.
o The American Association of Public Welfare Attorneys.
The URESA form was pilot tested in the fall of 1985 to assess its utility and to determine what impediments there are, if any, which could limit the adoption of the form's use by State and local child support enforcement agencies. No substantive questions arose; users considered the form self-explanatory and the instructions clear and comprehensive. Prosecutors reported benefits such as better intraoffice communications, reduced precourt preparation time, ready access to facts in court, and ease of judicial review.
For non-URESA actions, the Interstate Child Support Enforcement Transmittal form was developed as a result of input from the committee described above and was reviewed by a committee of IV-D directors. We propose that the form be used to transmit requests for location, documentation verification, administrative reviews for Federal tax refund offset cases, and wage withholding or State tax refund offset. The forms are being referred to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance. Use of the forms will be mandatory upon publication of this regulation in final form and OMB clearance of the forms.
The two forms and attachments are intended to replace cover letters and include all necessary information a responding State would need to initiate action on a case. The forms specify documentation which must be attached to the request, indicate where acknowledgment of receipt and requests for further information should be sent and provide a carbon copy acknowledgment which is easily detached and returned to the initiating jurisdiction. We believe that use of standardized forms will eliminate many of the problems associated with transfer of interstate IV-D cases and, therefore, propose in paragraph (b)(3) that States submit the appropriate form, or a computer-generated alternative of the form which contains the same information, with each referral of an interstate IV-D case for action. Any alternative format which provides the sameinformation may be used, including electronic transfer of information. The forms are printed with this proposed rule to allow for their review and any comments.
There is an obvious, overwhelming need for standardization of information transfer. Although the standard data elements contained on the forms will alleviate this problem to some degree, States should use available technology. Because one of the crucial needs for improved interstate enforcement is better communication, we encourage States to consider the advantages to using systems line-ups for interstate cases. This will allow for expeditious, accurate transfer of standardized information and greatly reduce the amount of paperwork involved in processing and working interstate cases.
4. Providing additional information. Proposed paragraph (b)(4) required the IV-D agency in the initiating State to provide the IV-D agency or central registry in the responding State with any requested additional information within 30 days of receipt of the request or advise the responding State that the information does not exist by submitting an updated form, or a computer-generated alternative of the form, and any necessary documentation. If the nature of the necessary additional information allows, States are encouraged to use telecommunications to update or supply the information. Our purpose is to achieve standardization and speed of information transfer. Since there are inherent delays in processing child support cases when there is a need to communicate and provide information across State lines, we believe setting timeframes for responding to requests for additional information is imperative to ensure that the delays in the processing of interstate cases are minimized. Successful processing of the case depends on initiating States making every effort to respond quickly.
5. Changes in case status. Current regulations at Ãµ303.52(e) require initiating States to identify interstate cases as AFDC, non-AFDC or foster care maintenance cases at the time of request and at any time the case changes status. We propose to delete this paragraph and require in Ãµ303.7(b)(5) that the IV-D agency in the initiating State notify the IV-D agency in the responding State of any change in case status or information within 10 days of receipt of information about the change in case status by submitting an updated form or a computer-generated alternative of the form. This would be consistent with the 10-day timeframe imposed on central registries for acknowledging receipt of a case and requesting additional information.
Responding State IV-D Agency Responsibilities - Ãµ303.7(c)
Perhaps the greatest problem of working interstate IV-D cases is that these cases are neglected because the responding State does not feel it has an interest in working the cases. Rarely are interstate cases integrated into a State's normal processing cycle for intrastate cases. More has to be done to ensure that responding States actively work interstate IV-D cases. In the 1985 discussions, the theme of "ownership" of cases was raised. Participants in the 1985 discussions believethat States fail to work interstate cases partially because they are told what action to take by the initiating State and may not determine the action to take, as they would for their own cases.
According to the participants, "ownership" of a case is an important element in any successful interstate child support enforcement system. The State must work interstate cases in the same manner as intrastate cases. This includes making every effort to locate obligors when an address is inaccurate, preparing properly formatted information and correcting information to remedy defects. By treating each interstate case as its own, States can work cases expeditiously. Because it "owns" a case, the responding State should proceed with and continue the enforcement action without specific requests at each step of the process from the initiating State. The 1984 NCSEA resolutions on interstate cooperation encourage IV-D directors, URESA State information agents and the judiciary, when appropriate, to "encourage local jurisdictions to increase staff so that the responding jurisdictions assume responsibility for monitoring payments of interstate cases and initiate enforcement action without waiting for a request for enforcement from the initiating jurisdiction." See NCSEA Resolution No. 3.j. However, we believe that case management could be improved through the use of automation, not just by additional staff. We encourage States to take this approach in order to process interstate IV-D cases more successfully.
The need to integrate interstate IV-D cases into a State's intrastate child support enforcement system was recognized by the advisory group which helped develop the Model Interstate Income Withholding Act. The advisory group, convened by the American Bar Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, concluded that:
. . . It was beneficial to create a simple procedure for interstate withholding which merely ties into the State's intrastate system and borrows heavily from its procedures. The chief advantages of this nexus between the interstate and intrastate withholding laws are that it encourages placing responsibility for the interstate and intrastate withholding in the same agency and facilitates use of the State's regular income withholding procedures. See Model Act. pp. 1-2.
This logic holds true for the entire interstate process. Current regulations at Ãµ303.7(a) require States to provide services in interstate IV-D cases but do not contain detail or specificity concerning necessary actions. The interstate study results indicate that State IV-D administrators generally believe they do not have sufficient authority to supervise and administer an efficient interstate case processing system. In fact, several State IV-D directors expressed a desire for OCSE to make States' authority more explicit in regulations. See Study, pp. 51 and 52. In response to these concerns, we have revised current Ãµ303.7 to establish clear, specific responsibilities for responding IV-D agencies in interstate IV-D cases.
1. Case management. Proposed Ãµ303.7(c)(1) requires the
IV-D agency to establish and use procedures for managing its interstate caseload which ensure provision of necessary services. These procedures must include maintenance of case records in accordance with existing requirements in Ãµ303.2. Under proposed paragraph (c)(2), the IV-D agency must periodically review program performance in interstate IV-D cases to reevaluate the effectiveness of the procedures. Finally, proposed paragraph (c)(3) requires the State to ensure that the organizational structure and staff of the IV-D agency are adequate to provide for the administration or supervision of the required IV-D functions: intake; establishment of paternity and the legal obligation to support; location; financial assessment; establishment of the amount of child support; collection; monitoring; enforcement and investigation.
Existing Federal regulations ÃµÃµ302.10 and 302.12 require State IV-D agencies to retain overall responsibility and accountability for the operation of the IV-D program and to conduct regular planned evaluations of operations at the local level and compliance with Federal requirements when functions are delegated. Nevertheless, the Study results indicate that many agencies lack standards of performance for measuring the accomplishments of individual agencies processing interstate cases. See Study, p. 100. Therefore, we are proposing in these interstate requirements that a State assume responsibility for program performance by establishing and using procedures for managing its interstate caseload and by periodically reviewing program performance to evaluate the effectiveness of the procedures.
Current Ãµ303.20 sets forth minimum organizational and staffing requirements for the IV-D program. These requirements mandate an organizational structure and sufficient staff to fulfill all of the functions for which the State is responsible under its title IV-D State plan. Working interstate cases is one of those functions. Nevertheless, local Study survey respondents cited insufficient staff as the most frequent internal obstacle to the interstate enforcement of child support obligations. State IV-D directors cited lack of sufficient staff as among the top three obstacles. See Study, p. 56. We are proposing that States develop specific requirements for adequate organizational structure and staff to handle interstate cases to clarify the States' responsibilities. As stated previously, however, we stress the importance of exemplary case management techniques through the use of automated systems as a means of overcoming obstacles to a successful program.
2. Actions required within 60 days of receipt. Proposed paragraph (c)(4) requires the IV-D agency in the responding State to complete certain actions with regard to an incoming interstate IV-D case within 60 days of receipt of the forms and documentation on the case from its central registry. The first required action is to provide locate services in accordance with Ãµ303.3, Location of absent parents, if the form or documentation does not include adequate locate information on the absent parent. Section 303.3(f) currently requires a responding State to comply with the requirements in Ãµ303.3(a) through (d) forproviding location services. Section 303.3(d) requires a State to use all appropriate location sources within 60 days of receipt of a case. The proposed 60-day time frame is based on the 60-day location requirement.
Since the requirements in the current Ãµ303.3 may be construed erroneously by some to require location services only upon specific request, we are clarifying in proposed Ãµ303.7(c)(4)(i) that the responding State IV-D agency must do an in-state location search if information provided by the initiating State is inadequate to locate the absent parent to proceed with the requested action. This will avoid needless delays which occur when cases are returned to initiating States because of inadequate location information.
The 1984 NCSEA resolutions on interstate cooperation also encourage IV-D directors, URESA State information agents and the judiciary, when appropriate, to develop policy and procedures to ensure that "the responding jurisdiction, upon discovering inability to serve an obligated parent, [do] an in-state locate process to determine where the request for enforcement should be forwarded, and automatically forward the request to that jurisdiction." See Resolution No.3.d. Proposed Ãµ303.7(c)(4)(ii) requires the IV-D agency to forward the form and documentation to the appropriate jurisdiction and notify the initiating State if the absent parent is residing in a different jurisdiction. This is consistent with NCSEA's resolution and, again, will avoid needless delays caused by returning cases to the initiating State when they could be forwarded to the appropriate jurisdiction by the responding State. The responding State IV-D agency's responsibilities end if the case is forwarded out-of-state.
Proposed Ãµ303.7(c)(4)(iii) requires the responding IV-D agency, if unable to proceed with the case, to notify the IV-D agency in the initiating State of the necessary additions or corrections to the form or documentation. We strongly urge States to make every effort to proceed with a case by remedying faulty documentation or accepting documentation not in the usual form required by State of local rules, as long as the substantive requirements are met. These efforts are consistent with the provisions in section 3(c) of the Model Interstate Wage Withholding Act, which require States to take steps to correct faulty, incomplete or improperly formatted documentation without returning it to the initiating IV-D agency to avoid unnecessary delays and to ensure expeditious handling of interstate wage withholding cases. See Model Act, pp. 4 and 13. Proposed Ãµ303.7(c)(5), also consistent with section 3(c) of the Model Act, requires that, if the documentation received with a case is inadequate and cannot be remedied by the responding IV-D agency without the assistance of the initiating IV-D agency, the responding IV-D agency must process the case to the extent possible pending necessary action by the initiating State.
3. Provision of necessary services. Proposed Ãµ303.7(c)(6) contains the requirements in current Ãµ303.7(a) regarding provision of any necessary services in interstate cases, with the exception of location services which are addressed under Ãµ303.7(c)(4) regarding actions required within 60 days ofreceipt. It adds, however, that services must be provided as they would be in intrastate cases to ensure equal treatment of cases. Some further revisions are proposed as follows.
Proposed paragraph (c)(6)(i) requires the IV-D agency in the responding State to establish paternity and to attempt to obtain a judgment for costs should paternity be established. The cost of establishing paternity is often cited as a major impediment to pursuing paternity establishment in interstate IV-D cases. Requiring States to attempt to obtain a judgment for costs from the absent parent when paternity is established should reduce the cost burden on States.
Study survey results indicate that States are unable or unwilling to process contested interstate paternity cases. This problem is listed as one of nine major impediments which occur at the establishment stage in the interstate case processing sequence. See Study, pp. 76, 81-82. We believe that by clearly delineating each State's responsibilities in processing interstate cases, by requiring the use of long-arm statutes when appropriate for paternity establishment, and by clarifying responsibility for payment of the costs of blood testing and other costs associated with processing interstate cases, a major reason for State's reluctance to process interstate paternity cases will be eliminated.
Under proposed paragraph (c)(6)(ii) we require the IV-D agency to establish a support obligation in accordance with applicable sections of the regulations at ÃµÃµ303.4 (cash support), 303.100 through 303.105 (the mandatory practices) and 306.51 (medical support). Current Ãµ303.7 does not specifically require States to establish orders although Ãµ303.4 requires that, in "all cases referred to the IV-D agency or paying for services under this chapter, the IV-D agency must: . . . utilize appropriate State statutes and legal processes in establishing the support obligation. . . ." To clarify the extent of the responding IV-D agency's responsibilities in providing services in interstate cases, we address establishment of support orders in proposed paragraph (c)(6)(ii).
The proposed requirement for establishment of a medical support obligation is consistent with section 452(f) of the Act, added by section 16 of Pub. L. 98-378, which requires the Secretary of HHS to issue regulation requiring State IV-D agencies to petition to include medical support as part of any child support order whenever health care coverage is available to the absent parent at reasonable cost. Implementing regulations were published on October 16, 1985 (See 50 FR 41887).
Proposed paragraph (c)(6)(iii) contains the current requirement in Ãµ303.7(a)(3) that States process and enforce all orders from other States using appropriate remedies applied in their own cases. We deleted reference to "court" orders to require processing administrative orders and added reference to the mandatory practices under ÃµÃµ303.100 through 303.105 and to medical support enforcement under Ãµ306.51.
Proposed paragraph (c)(6)(iv) requires State IV-D agencies to collect and monitor any support payments and to forward payments to the locations specified by the IV-D agency in theinitiating State no later than 10 days after the collection is received by the responding State IV-D agency. The IV-D agency must include sufficient information to identify the case as well as the responding State's identifying code. This provision includes the requirement for collection services in current Ãµ303.7(a)(5), and the requirement to forward collections with appropriate identifying case and State information contained in current Ãµ303.52(f). We are therefore deleting the current Ãµ303.52(f) in this proposed rule.
In response to overwhelming concern that responding States do not adequately track or monitor payments as part of processing interstate cases, we added the requirement in paragraph (c)(6)(iv) that IV-D agencies are responsible for monitoring support payments. The Study results state that many, if not most, responding States refuse to assume responsibility for monitoring cases once an obligation is established because they view monitoring as an initiating State responsibility. See Study, pp. 84-85. If interstate cases are integrated into the State's intrastate caseload, this would not be a problem because tracking and monitoring are integral parts of processing an IV-D case and controlling the State's caseload. We believe that clearly placing responsibility on the responding jurisdiction to maintain case records under proposed Ãµ303.7(c)(6)(iv) will alleviate this confusion and the delays caused when initiating States must make an enforcement request each time a payment is missed. The responding State must initiate an enforcement action, including wage withholding if there is a one-month arrearage, when it determines a payment is missed, just as it would in an intrastate IV-D case, without requiring or waiting for a specific request from the initiating State. The maintenance of case records and monitoring requirements place the responding State in the best position to take immediate action to enforce an order.
4. Notice of hearings. In response to concerns expressed in the 1985 discussions and in the Study report, we propose to require in paragraph (c)(7) that State IV-D agencies notify the initiating State IV-D agency in advance of any hearings set in an interstate IV-D case. The study addressed prehearing settlement negotiations which result in compromises made without any input from the initiating IV-D agency or custodial parent. These compromises are not in the best interest of the children when orders are low or arrearages are reduced or erased. While we are not requiring States to contact the initiating State before such prehearing negotiations, we encourage them to do so because a clear picture cannot emerge without contact with both parties in any action. We strongly encourage the participation of both petitioners and respondents in the formal hearings. We believe the custodial parent should be allowed an opportunity to appear; therefore we are proposing to require the responding State to notify the initiating State of formal hearings. Once notified, the initiating State should inform the custodial parent about the formal hearing to allow every opportunity for active participation. Notice of hearings should be provided sufficiently in advance of the hearing to allow for travelarrangements. Notice of telephone testimony or hearings may require less advance notice.
Because of the expense and difficulties associated with transporting people from State to State for child support matters, we encourage States to use modern technology and telecommunications as an alternative to traditional hearings. We believe that the previously mentioned problems, such as the reducing or erasing of arrearages and lack of input from both parents during negotiations, would be alleviated if testimony was given by telephone, videotape or other types of available technology. Teleconferencing and other forms of telecommunication would be expeditious, efficient and cost effective.
5. Changes in case status. For consistency with other proposed timeframes for notice of receipt of an interstate IV-D case by the responding State and notice of change in case status by the initiating State in proposed ÃµÃµ303.7(a)(2) and (b)(5), proposed paragraph (c)(8) requires the responding State to notify the initiating State within 10 days of receipt of new information on a case. New information would include the location of the absent parent, a hearing date being assigned, or an enforcement action being taken. This would revise current Ãµ303.7(a)(5) which requires only periodic notice or notice upon request of the initiating State.
Payment and Recovery of Costs in Interstate Cases - Ãµ303.7(d)
As previously addressed, one of the major problems cited both by participants of the 1985 discussions and in the Study survey is lack of specificity concerning responsibility for payment and recovery of the costs of providing services in interstate IV-D State cases. The Study report argues that the "responding State bears most of the expense incurred in interstate establishment and enforcement while the initiating State enjoys most of the financial benefits". See Study, p. 67. We firmly believe that the Congress' action in section 5 of Pub. L. 98-378 with respect to double counting of collections in interstate cases will alleviate this inequity. Since incentives will be paid from the Federal share of AFDC collections, responding States will receive their share of incentives based on interstate collections and will no longer have to rely on the initiating State sending earned incentives to the responding State. Proposed Ãµ303.7(d) sets forth clear policy on responsibility for payment of costs in interstate IV-D cases, as well as the authority for both States to recover costs of providing services.
1. Payment of costs. Under proposed paragraph (d)(1) the responding State IV-D agency is responsible for payment of costs it incurs in interstate cases subject to specific provisions in paragraphs (d)(2) through (4). This is consistent with current policy under which responding States incur the costs of processing interstate IV-D cases and then report these administrative costs to receive Federal matching funds.
Proposed paragraph (d)(2) addresses the continuing conflictover which State should be responsible for the cost of blood tests to establish paternity. Current Federal policy requires responding States to bear these costs. However, we have received constant complaints of the inequity of this system particularly in light of the cost of the tests, the possibility that the putative father will be excluded as a result of the test, and concerns that the responding jurisdiction will be unable to receive full reimbursement for these expenditures. In addition, responding States complain that initiating States fail to screen cases properly to determine whether paternity action is warranted, because initiating States are not responsible for costs.
Disputes over which State should pay these costs often result in no action being taken in the case because resolution cannot be reached. The Study found lack of clear responsibility for payment of expenses in interstate paternity cases to be a major reason for States failing to extend paternity establishment to interstate cases. See Study, p. 82. While we are addressing the payment question explicitly in these regulations, we cannot stress strongly enough our concerns that these issues are secondary to the lasting value of paternity establishment. The benefits should outweigh and encourage resolution of any issue which is an obstacle to the ultimate goal.
NCSEA's Resolutions adopted at the 1984 Conference urged development of policy and procedures to require that "putative fathers pay for blood tests, and failing that, the initiating State should assume responsibility for payment of such costs with the understanding that the responding State will obtain judgment for such costs should paternity be established." See Resolution No. 2(c). Although the 1985 discussions did not reach consensus on the issue, participants all agreed that clear Federal policy in regulation was essential. We are therefore proposing in paragraph (d)(2) that the initiating State must pay for the cost of blood testing in actions to establish paternity. In addition, if paternity is established in the responding State, the responding State must petition the court for payment from the absent parent, and, if costs of blood testing are recovered from the absent parent, must reimburse the initiating State. If a long-arm statute is used to establish paternity, the initiating State must attempt to obtain a judgment for costs in accordance with Ãµ303.7(b)(1) and (c)(6)(i).
As a result of these proposals, the initiating State would be responsible for payment of the costs of blood testing and would receive reimbursement when a judgment for the cost of blood testing from the father is obtained. We believe that revising current policy will provide greater incentives to the responding State to work interstate IV-D cases while ensuring that initiating IV-D agencies forward for paternity establishment only those cases which the State has carefully screened and in which the State is confident paternity can be established. Since the custodial parent in the initiating State, or the initiating State itself in AFDC or foster care maintenance cases, stands to gain the most from the establishment of paternity and the obligation to support and from the subsequent collections, it is equitablethat this particular cost be borne by the initiating State unless a judgment for payment of the costs by the putative father is obtained. We encourage comments in this area because it has been so controversial.
2. Recovery of costs. Proposed paragraphs (d)(4) and (5) address recovery of costs in non-AFDC interstate IV-D cases. Current regulations at Ãµ302.33(d) set forth requirements for States which opt to recover costs in non-AFDC cases. Section 302.33(d)(6) requires a IV-D agency to notify the IV-D agencies in all other States if it recovers costs from the individual receiving IV-D services. Section 302.33(d)(5) requires that, in an interstate case, the IV-D agency where the case originated must notify the applicant for IV-D services of the States that recover costs. Although current policy clearly states that responding States may recover actual or standardized costs incurred in interstate cases in accordance with the requirements of Ãµ302.33, we are reiterating this in Ãµ303.7(d)(4) and (5) for clarity. Proposed paragraph (d)(4) allows each IV-D agency to recover the costs it incurs in providing services in interstate non-AFDC cases. Since an initiating State and a responding State will incur separate and distinct costs, each may, in accordance with its cost recovery policy, recover those incurred costs. Individuals from whom costs are being recovered in this manner should not be disadvantaged.
Paragraph (d)(5) would require the IV-D agency in the responding State to identify any fees or costs deducted from support payments when forwarding payments to the IV-D agency in the initiating State. This provision is consistent with the 1984 NCSEA Resolution which states that there should be "speedy methods for accounting for and forwarding monies collected to the initiating jurisdiction, accompanied by sufficient information to identify the payment and delineate what fees, if any, have been deducted. . . " See Resolution No. 3(i).
Audit Provisions - ÃµÃµ305.20 and 305.32
The proposed regulation revises existing audit criteria in Ãµ305.32 to conform to proposed changes contained in this document. Specifically, the title and introductory phrase are revised to parallel the title of corresponding ÃµÃµ302.36 and 303.7, i.e., Provision of services in interstate IV-D cases. We propose to amend Ãµ305.32(c) to require that, in order to be found to be in compliance with the State plan requirement for provision of services in interstate IV-D cases at Ãµ302.36, under proposed paragraph (c)(1), a State must have established and be using written procedures for establishing paternity in its own cases using its long-arm statute if it has such a statute which allows establishment of paternity. Proposed paragraph (c)(2) contains the current requirement in Ãµ305.32(c) that a State, in order to be found in compliance with Ãµ302.36, must have established and be utilizing written procedures for establishing paternity or assisting in establishing paternity when requested by another State. We further propose to amend Ãµ305.32(d) to delete reference to orders established by a court since support ordersmay be established either by a court or by administrative process under State law.
We propose to redesignate existing paragraphs (f) through (i) as (g) through (j). The proposed regulation then adds a new paragraph (f) containing audit criteria assessing whether States have established and are using procedures governing central registries required under Ãµ302.36(b). We also propose to add to proposed paragraph (g) audit criteria assessing whether States have established and are using written procedures for maintenance of case records, as well as monitoring interstate IV-D cases.
This proposed regulation would also amend current audit regulations at 45 CFR 305.20(c) and (d)(2) to include the proposed audit criteria added to Ãµ305.32 by this regulation in the fiscal year 1987 and future audit periods. This will require the interstate IV-D case procedures required by audit criteria in Ãµ305.32 to be used in 75 percent of the cases reviewed for each criterion.
We are also making a technical change to Ãµ305.20(b) because of an error in that section published October 1, 1985 in the Federal Register at 50 FR 40101. Reference to ÃµÃµ305.37(c) and 305.38(c) was erroneously included under Ãµ305.20(b)(2) as opposed to Ãµ305.20(b)(1). We are amending Ãµ305.20(b) to delete reference to those sections in paragraph (b)(2) and add reference to them in paragraph (b)(1). We are also making a technical change to delete reference to "Expedited processes. (45 CFR 305.50(b))" from Ãµ305.20(c)(2) because compliance with expedited process requirements will be audited under Ãµ305.20(c)(1).
Paperwork Reduction Act
This proposed regulation at 45 CFR 302.36(a)(3) and (b), 303.7(a)(1), (2)(ii), (iii) and (iv), (4), (b)(2), (3), (4), and (5), (c)(1), (4)(ii) and (iii), (6)(iv), (7) and (8), (d)(5), 305.32(c), (d), (f) and (g) contains information collection requirements which are subject to OMB review under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-511). As required by section 3504(h) of Pub. L. 96-511, we have submitted a copy of this proposed regulation to OMB for its review of the information collection requirements listed above. Other organizations and individuals desiring to submit comments on the information collection requirements should direct them to the agency official designated for this purpose whose name appears in this preamble, and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, New Executive Office Building (Room 3208), Washington, DC 20503, attention: Desk Officer for HHS.
The Child Support Enforcement program was established under title IV-D of the Act by the Social Services Amendments of 1974, for the purposes of enforcing the support obligations owed by absent parents to their children, locating absent parents, establishing paternity and obtaining child support. The IV-D program collected $2.7 billion in FY 1985 - $1.1 billion onbehalf of children not receiving AFDC and $1.6 billion on behalf of children not receiving AFDC. State and local expenditures amounted to $814 million. Collections for AFDC families are used to offset the costs of assistance payments made to such families. The intent of this proposed regulation is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the processing of interstate IV-D cases, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the Child Support Enforcement program. Although hard data are not available, it is expected that this regulation will result in increased interstate activity and collections and a minor increase in administrative costs which are matched by the Federal government.
For the most part this regulation merely expands existing regulations and results in minor additional costs. We expect an increase in caseload, however, since the process will be streamlined and cases will be worked more efficiently. The principal impact of the regulation will be on Federal and State budgets and State operations. Federal and State expenditures are projected to increase in collections, and therefore, a net savings to Federal and State governments will result.
Executive Order 12291
The Secretary has determined, in accordance with Executive Order 12291, that this rule does not constitute a "major" rule. A major rule is one that is likely to result in:
-An annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more;
-A major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or
-Significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of the United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic or import markets.
As discussed above, the proposed regulation will have an insignificant impact on State and Federal expenditures.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
The Secretary certifies, under 5 U.S.C. 605(b), as enacted by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354), that this regulation will not result in a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The primary impact is on State governments and individuals, which are not considered small entities under the Act.
List of Subjects
45 CFR Parts 301 through 303
Child welfare, Grant programs-social programs.
45 CFR Part 305
Child welfare, Grant programs-social programs, Accounting.
1. The authority citation for Part 301 is revised to read as set forth below, and the authority citations following all sections of Part 301 are removed:
Authority: 42 U.S.C. 651 through 658, 660, 664, 666, 667, and 1302.
2. 45 CFR 301, Ãµ301.1 is amended by inserting the following definition between the definitions of "Applicable matching rate" and "Department":
"Central registry" means an individual or office within the State IV-D agency which receives, controls and has oversight responsibility for processing incoming interstate IV-D cases, including URESA petitions and requests for wage withholding in IV-D cases and, at the option of the State, intrastate IV-D cases involving more than one local jurisdiction.
3. The authority citation for Part 302 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 42 U.S.C. 651 through 658, 660, 664, 666, 667, 1302, 1396a(a)(25), 1396b(d)(2), 1396b(o), 1396b(p) and 1396(k).
4. 45 CFR Part 302 is amended by revising Ãµ302.36 to read as follows:
Ãµ302.36 Provision of services in interstate IV-D cases.
(a) The State plan shall provide that the State will extend the full range of services available under its IV-D plan to any other State in accordance with the requirements set forth in Ãµ303.7 of this chapter for:
(1) Locating an absent parent who is present in the State;
(2) Establishing paternity;
(3) Establishing a child support obligation;
(4) Securing compliance by an absent parent who is present in the State with a court order or an order of an administrative process established under State law for the support and maintenance of a child or children and of the spouse (or former spouse) who is living with the child or children and who is receiving services under a IV-D State plan in another State; and
(5) Carrying out any other functions required under its approved IV-D State plan.
(b) The State plan shall provide that the State will establish a central registry for interstate IV-D cases in accordance with the requirements set forth in Ãµ303.7(a) of thischapter.
5. The authority citation for Part 303 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 42 U.S.C. 651 through 658, 660, 663, 664, 666, 667, 1302, 1396a(a)(25), 1396b(d)(2), 1396b(o), 1396b(p) and 1396(k).
6. 45 CFR Part 303 is amended by revising Ãµ303.7 to read as follows:
Ãµ303.7 Provision of services in interstate IV-D cases.
(a) Interstate central registry. (1) The State IV-D agency must establish an interstate central registry responsible for receiving and controlling all incoming interstate IV-D cases, including URESA petitions and requests for wage withholding in IV-D cases, and at the option of the State, intrastate IV-D cases involving more than one local jurisdiction.
(2) Within 10 days of receipt of an interstate IV-D case from an initiating State, the central registry must:
(i) Review the documentation submitted with the case to determine completeness:
(ii) Forward the case for necessary action either to the State PLS for location services or to the appropriate agency for processing;
(iii) Acknowledge receipt of the case and request any missing documentation from the initiating State where the case was sent for action.
(3) If the documentation received with a case is inadequate and cannot be remedied by the central registry without the assistance of the initiating State, the central registry must process the case to the extent possible pending necessary action by the initiating State.
(4) The central registry must respond to inquiries from other States and monitor the progress of interstate IV-D cases to ensure that any necessary action is completed. Case status will be reviewed at least every 90 days.
(b) Initiating State IV-D agency responsibilities. The
IV-D agency must:
(1) If the State has a long-arm statute which allows paternity establishment, use the authority to establish paternity whenever appropriate and attempt to obtain a judgment for costs should paternity be established;
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(1), promptly refer any interstate IV-D case to the responding State's interstate central registry for action, including URESA petitions and requests for location, document verification, administrative reviews in Federal income tax refund offset cases, wage withholding, and State income tax refund offset in IV-D cases.
(3) Provide the IV-D agency in the responding Statesufficient, accurate information to act on the case by submitting with each case any necessary documentation and either the Interstate Child Support Enforcement Transmittal Form or the URESA Action Request Form, as appropriate. The State may use a computer-generated alternative containing the same information in place of either form.
(4) Provide the IV-D agency or central registry in the responding State with any requested additional information within 30 days of receipt of the request for information or advise the responding State that the information does not exist by submitting an updated form or a computer-generated alternative containing the same information and any necessary additional documentation.
(5) Notify the IV-D agency in the responding State within 10 days of receipt of new information on a case by submitting an updated form and any necessary additional documentation.
(c) Responding State IV-D agency responsibilities. (1) The IV-D agency must establish and use procedures for managing its interstate IV-D caseload which ensure provision of necessary services and include maintenance of case records in accordance with Ãµ303.2 of this part.
(2) The IV-D agency must periodically review program performance on interstate IV-D cases to evaluate the effectiveness of the procedures established under this section.
(3) The State must ensure that the organizational structure and staff of the IV-D agency are adequate to provide for the administration or supervision of the following support enforcement functions specified in Ãµ303.20(c) of this part for its interstate IV-D caseload: Intake; establishment of paternity and the legal obligation to support; location; financial assessment; establishment of the amount of child support; collection; monitoring; enforcement and investigation.
(4) Within 60 days or receipt of an Interstate Child Support Enforcement Transmittal Form, a URESA Action Request Form or other alternative State form and documentation from its interstate central registry, the IV-D agency must:
(i) Provide location services in accordance with Ãµ303.3 of this part if the request is for location services or the form or documentation does not include adequate location information on the absent parent;
(ii) If the absent parent is residing in a different jurisdiction, forward the form and documentation to the appropriate jurisdiction and notify the initiating State of its action; and
(iii) If unable to proceed with the case, notify the IV-D agency in the initiating State of the necessary additions or corrections to the form or documentation.
(5) If the documentation received with a case is inadequate and cannot be remedied by the responding IV-D agency without the assistance of the initiating State, the IV-D agency must process the interstate IV-D case to the extent possible pending necessary action by the initiating State.
(6) The IV-D agency must provide any necessary services as it would in intrastate IV-D cases by:
(i) Establishing paternity in accordance with Ãµ303.5 of this part and attempting to obtain a judgment for costs should paternity be established;
(ii) Establishing a child support obligation in accordance with ÃµÃµ303.4 and 303.100 through 303.105 of this part and Ãµ306.51 of this chapter;
(iii) Processing and enforcing orders referred by another State, whether pursuant to the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act or other legal processes, using appropriate remedies applied in its own cases in accordance with ÃµÃµ303.6 and 303.100 through 303.105 of this part and Ãµ306.51 of this chapter; and
(iv) Collecting and monitoring any support payments from the absent parent and forwarding payments to the location specified by the IV-D agency in the initiating State no later than 10 days after the collection is received by the responding State IV-D agency. The IV-D agency must include sufficient information to identify the case and the responding State's identifying code as defined in the Federal Information Processing Standards Publication (FIPS) issued by the National Bureau of Standards or the Worldwide Geographic Location Codes issued by the General Services Administration.
(7) The IV-D agency must provide timely notice to the IV-D agency in the initiating State in advance of any hearings set in an interstate IV-D case.
(8) The IV-D agency must notify the IV-D agency in the initiating State within 10 days of receipt of new information on a case by submitting an updated form or a computer-generated alternative containing the same information.
(d) Payment and recovery of costs in interstate IV-D cases. (1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (4), the IV-D agency in the responding State must pay the costs it incurs in processing interstate IV-D cases.
(2) The IV-D agency in the initiating State must pay for the costs of blood testing in actions to establish paternity.
(3) If paternity is established in the responding State, the IV-D agency in the responding State must attempt to obtain a judgment for the costs of blood testing from the putative father, and, if costs of blood testing are recovered, must reimburse the initiating State.
(4) Each IV-D agency may recover its costs of providing services in interstate non-AFDC cases in accordance with Ãµ302.33(d) of this chapter.
(5) The IV-D agency in the responding State must identify any fees or costs deducted from support payments when forwarding payments to the IV-D agency in the initiating State in accordance with Ãµ303.7(c)(6)(iv) of this section.
7. 45 CFR Part 303 is further amended by removing paragraphs (e) and (f) from Ãµ303.52.
8. The authority citation for Part 305 is revised to read as follows:
Authority: 42 U.S.C. 603(h), 604(d), 652(a) (1) and (4), and 1302.
9. 45 CFR 305.20 is amended by;
a. Amending Ãµ305.20(b)(1) by adding the words "and (c)" after "305.37(a)" and after "305.38(a)";
b. Amending Ãµ305.20(b)(2) by removing "Bonding of employees. (45 CFR 305.37(c))" and "Separation of cash handling and accounting functions. (45 CFR 305.38(c))"; and
c. Amending Ãµ305.20(c)(1) by adding the words "and (c)" after "305.50(a)";
d. Amending Ãµ305.20(c)(2) by removing "Expedited processes. (45 CFR 305.50(b))"; and
e. Adding a new paragraph (c)(4) and revising paragraph (d)(2) to read as follows:
Ãµ305.20 Effective support enforcement program.
* * * * *
(c)* * *
(4) For the fiscal year 1987 audit period only, the procedures required by the criteria prescribed in Ãµ305.32(a) through (h) of this part must be used in 75 percent of the cases reviewed for each criterion.
* * * * *
(d) For fiscal year 1988 and future audit periods:
* * * * *
(2) The procedures required by the criteria prescribed in paragraph (a)(2), (b)(2), (c)(2) and (c)(4) of this section must be used in 75 percent of the cases reviewed for each criterion.
* * * * *
10. 45 CFR 305.32 is amended by revising the title, the introductory text and paragraphs (c) and (d), redesignating paragraphs (f) through (i) as (g) through (j), revising newly designated (g) and adding a new paragraph (f) to read as follows:
Ãµ305.32 Provision of services in interstate IV-D cases.
For purposes of this part, to be found in compliance with the State plan requirement for provision of services in interstate IV-D cases (45 CFR 302.36), a State must:
* * * * *
(c) Have established and be utilizing written procedures for:
(1) Using its long-arm statute to establish paternity in its own cases, if the State has a long-arm statute that allowsestablishment of paternity; and
(2) Establishing paternity or assisting in establishing paternity when requested by another State.
(d) Have established and be utilizing written procedures for establishing support orders upon request by another State, including procedures for responding to a complaint under the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (URESA);
* * * * *
(f) Have established and be utilizing written procedures governing the central registry and its required activities;
(g) Have established and be utilizing written procedures for maintenance of case records and monitoring the status of cases upon which the state is taking action on behalf of another State;
* * * * *
(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program No. 13.679, Child Support Enforcement Program)
Dated: May 29, 1986.
Wayne A. Stanton,
Director, Office of Child Support Enforcement.
Approved: August 13, 1986.
Otis R. Bowen,
The following appendix will not be printed in the Code of Federal Regulations.
BILLING CODE 4150-04-M
**Appendix available in the OCSE Reference Center**