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Publication on IV-A/IV-D Collaboration Strategies and Promising Practices

DCL-07-08

Published: March 15, 2007
Information About:
Other Public Partners, TANF (IV-A), State/Local Child Support Agencies
Types:
Policy, Dear Colleague Letters (DCL), Promising Practices

DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER

DCL-07-08

ATTACHMENT: IV-A/IV-D Collaboration: Working Better Together for Families and Children, A Report of OCSE IV-A/IV-D Urban Academies: Collaboration Strategies and Promising Practices (113 KB Adobe PDF)

DATE: March 15, 2007

TO: ALL STATE/TRIBAL IV-D DIRECTORS AND IV-A DIRECTORS

RE: A New Publication Regarding IV-A/IV-D Collaboration Strategies and Promising Practices

Dear Colleague:

This Report is designed to highlight some of the common issues and promising practices Child Support Enforcement (IV-D program) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) (IV-A program) agencies may consider in designing effective strategies to improve collaboration. It summarizes the major strategies discussed at two Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) IV-A/IV-D Urban Academies held in 2004 and 2006.

TANF/child support collaboration is critical to helping parents establish legal paternity for their children, receive program benefits, and for families nearing the end of time- limited TANF benefits ensure receipt of child support to supplement employment earnings. Many States and localities are striving to enhance their collaboration efforts and the timing couldn’t be better. Child support is becoming a more reliable source of income for children and families and the child support community is continuing to make significant strides in that direction. Since the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), total collections have increased by over 91% -- about $23 billion in support was collected in 2005 and 91% of those child support collections went to families.

The Report focuses on several different aspects of collaboration and highlights specific State/local promising practices in the following areas:

  • Making It Happen -- One of the first steps to improving collaboration is to provide State and local forums for bringing together staff and decision makers from both programs to identify issues and make cross-program improvements.
  • Data Quality and Exchange -- State/local agencies that share information, especially using automated tools and access, can greatly facilitate coordination and often improve their operations.
  • Cross-Program Training -- States/localities use cross-program training to ensure workers from each agency understand the importance of collecting and entering critical information. Effective training ultimately should enable staff to better assist their clients and reduce errors.
  • Client Education and Case Management -- Through State/local processes such as home visits, re-determination and co-location, TANF parents can more easily be educated on the importance of child support to their families.
  • Targeting TANF cases -- With time-limited welfare, it is essential that agencies work together to target families leaving welfare to help ensure that they have the best chance of moving toward self-sufficiency. Child support is an important source of income and, along with earnings, reduces the likelihood of former TANF families returning to welfare rolls.

We hope you find this Report a useful resource in your efforts to improve cross-program collaboration. It is also accessible via the OCSE website. OCSE will soon be issuing another Report "IV-A/IV-D Interface and Data Exchange: A Report of Survey Findings," which focuses on IV-A/IV-D data exchange/data quality issues and provides suggestions for standardizing some of the common data elements exchanged between the two programs.

If you would like additional information on the attached publication, please contact Susan Greenblatt, Deputy Director, Division of State, Tribal and Local Assistance, OCSE at 202-401-4849.

Sincerely,

Margot Bean
Commissioner
Office of Child Support Enforcement

Sidonie Squier
Director
Office of Family Assistance

cc: Child Support and TANF Regional Program Managers
ACF Regional Administrators