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Requests to the FPLS for Information as to the Whereabouts of Absent Parents

AT-76-03

Published: February 13, 1976
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Case Management, Locate, Federal Systems, Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS)
Types:
Policy, Action Transmittals (AT)
Tags:
User Fees

ACTION TRANSMITTAL

OCSE-AT-76-03

February 13, 1976

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

SUBJECT:Requests to the Federal Parent Locator Service for Information as to the Whereabouts of Absent Parents

BACKGROUND:P.L. 93-647, the Social Services Amendments of 1974, added a new Part D, Child Support and Establishment of Paternity to Title IV of the Social Security Act. Section 453 of the Act establishes the Federal Parent Locator Service (PLS) and specifies the conditions under which authorized persons can make requests to the Federal Parent Locator Service for information concerning the whereabouts of absent parents. The term "authorized person" is defined in Section 453(c) and in 45 CFR §302.70.

CONTENT:This program instruction outlines the procedures for making such requests to the Federal Parent Locator Service. All requests for address information about absent parents must originate from the central office operating the State's Parent Locator Service under an approved child support State plan. Requests must be in the format specified by this office. Authorized persons must make their requests to the State Parent Locator Service. The State PLS may then request information from the Federal Parent Locator Service when:

(1)the State PLS has made diligent and reasonable efforts to locate the absent parent using available State and local locator resources without success;

(2)the request is being made to locate an individual for the purpose of establishing paternity or securing child support and for no other purpose.

PROVIDING INFORMATION:The State agencies administering Title IV-D are responsible for providing instructions and procedures to local jurisdictions on the conditions specified in Title IV-D of P.L. 93-647 for "authorized persons" to make requests. They are also responsible for establishing methods of review and control to assure appropriateness of requests because all requests to the Federal PLS must be accompanied by a statement, signed by the head of the Title IV-D agency or his designee, certifying that:

(1)as stated above, 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 agency has made diligent and reasonable efforts to find the absent parent and cannot locate the person;

(3)the IV-D agency will take protective measures to safeguard personal information transmitted and received through use of the Federal PLS; and

(4)the use or disclosure of this information will be limited to the purposes prescribed by

45 CFR 302.18.

METHODS FOR REQUESTS :Certified requests for information to the Federal PLS can be made by means of hard copy, punched cards, magnetic tape, or direct computer terminal transmission. Each mode of transmission is described in detail in Attachment A, Instructions for Requesting Information from the Federal Parent Locator Service. Magnetic tape and punched cards from States will require the assignment of a permanent control code for State identification. Terminal transmission will require coordination with the Federal PLS for training while State PLS units using hard copy input will need an adequate number of Federal PLS forms which will be made available upon request to this office. (See, Exhibit F for a sample of the form.)

State IV-D agencies should contact the Federal Parent Locator Service as soon as possible informing the Federal PLS of their intended mode of data entry. This will permit scheduling of necessary training for those States that intend to utilize terminal transmission.

The address for the Federal Parent Locator Service follows:

Federal Parent Locator Service

office of Child Support Enforcement Department of Health, Education, and Welfare

Post Office Box 2076

Washington, D.C. 20013

FEES :Section 453 of the Act requires that a fee be charged whenever locator services are furnished to the resident parent, legal guardian, attorney or agent of a child who is not receiving support port under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. The amount of this fee is $5.00.

However, when non-AFDC recipients apply for child support services from the IV-D agency and authorize the Agency to represent them to seek to recover any amounts owed as child support, the $5.00 fee is not charged. The fee is charged when the individual requests use of the Federal Parent Locator Service only. The reason for this is that when a State provides full child support services to a non-AFDC individual, the State becomes the authorized requestor, and as such, is not charged a fee.

The State IV-D Agency is responsible at intake for charging and collecting the $5.00 fee from the requestor. The Office of Child Support Enforcement will collect the fee by an offset of the quarterly grant award.

SUPERSEDED MATERIAL :APA-PI-75-15, entitled, "Requests to Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service for Information about Absent Parents (AFDC)."

ATTACHMENT:Instructions for Requesting Information from the Federal Parent Locator Service (PLS),

EFFECTIVE DATE : March 15, 1976

INQUIRIES TO : Acting Regional Directors, OCSE

__________________________________

Acting Director

Office of Child Support Enforcement

ATTACHMENT A

Page 1 of 9

INSTRUCTIONS FOR REQUESTING INFORMATION FROM FEDERAL PARENT LOCATOR SERVICE

I.Requesting Information

When requesting information from the Federal Parent Locator Service, each State may submit its requests in any one of four modes -- via user interactive remote terminals in the State, magnetic tape, punched cards, or on pre-printed forms. The mode of data entry should be selected after consulting with the Federal PLS and considering the volume of requests, the frequency of requests, and the State's own capabilities and preference for handling requests. If

the volume of requests from a particular State is sufficient, remote computing interface program and communication network facilities will be supplied by the Office of Child Support Enforcement along with requisite training to States desiring these capabilities. States must provide their own remote computing terminal; they will be reimbursed for terminals used to interface with the PLS at the normal 75 percent rate available under Title IV-D. States do not have to obtain prior approval in writing. However, States wanting this capability should contact the PLS to assure terminal compatibility with the PLS.

States submitting their requests for information via magnetic tape, punched cards, or on pre-printed Federal PLS request forms must accompany those requests with a certifying letter to the Federal PLS (see Exhibit A) that affirms:

(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 made diligent and reasonable efforts to find the absent parent and cannot locate the person. Section 303.3 of the Title IV-D regulations defines the scope of these efforts.

(3)The State PLS has taken protective measures to safeguard the personal information being transferred and received through the Federal PLS. The protective measures being used by the Office of Child Support Enforcement to safeguard information within the Federal PLS are described in the next section.

(4)The State PLS assures that use or disclosure of this information will be limited to the purposes prescribed by 45 CFR 302.18. States submitting their requests via remote terminate must also sign a certification addressing the four aforementioned items. This certification will be renewed semiannually or upon a change in the Director of the State IV-D Agency (or his designee).

A. Safeguarding Information

The Federal Parent Locator Service will protect the personal information being collected and transmitted to the Office of Child Support Enforcement with the following administrative and technical safeguards:

Administrative

(1) All requests via remote terminal, magnetic tape, punched cards, or on pre-printed Federal PLS request forms must be certified by the State IV-D agency as described above.

(2)All personnel, both Federal employees and contractor staff associated with the Federal PLS operator, will be required to take a non-disclosure oath.

(3)All input documents (i.e., forms, magnetic tapes, and punched cards) will be inventoried and accounted for at all times. In the case of remote data entry via a user interactive State computer terminal, input requests will be immediately and automatically inventoried after the user has successfully identified himself. (See Item 1 of Technical Safeguards.) All input and output documents will be stored in a locked receptacle when not in authorized use.

(4)All system outputs (locator report forms, magnetic tape outputs, punched card outputs) will be labelled "FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY" and treated accordingly.

(5)Operations control will be vested under a single system manager to ensure safeguarding procedures are followed.

Technical

(1)Every State using the system will be verified via user ID's that uniquely describe each State.

(2)All data files will be protected with three levels of security. Each remote terminal State user will be required to type both a user name, password and

security code correctly to be allowed to enter request

ATTACHMENT A

Page 3 of 9

into the Federal PLS, Each State user will be instructed during the implementation training session how to change their password. This capability will allow each State to limit system usage to only their key staff.

(3)All remote users will have "write only" access capabilities. "Write only" capabilities mean that States using remote computing terminals will only have the capability to add data to their system files. Any attempt to change, delete, or print any other State or Federal data file in the PLS will automatically exit the user from the system. As a result, the "write only" capability will not only prevent any State from gaining access to another State's data file, it will effectively prevent States from improper use of their own data files.

States should take similar precautions to protect the personal and confidential information in their files regardless of the mode of inquiry to the Federal PLS.

B. Terminal Transmission

With the advent of the Federal Parent Locator Service, the process that states follow to request assistance in determining the whereabouts of absent parents for the purpose of establishing paternity or child support is simplified. As described in previous sections, each State IV-D Agency having an approved State plan now communicates solely with the Federal Parent Locator Service. This section of Attachment A describes the remote terminal transmission method of entering requests for locator services. Section II, Part A, describes the method of printing. Federal Parent Locator Service address information on your terminal. This method of data entry offers several advantages to the State user which are summarized as follows:

(1)Simplifies data entry and utilization by non-ADP staff as follows:

(a)the operator enters the information in a simple format using a standard typewriter keyboard;

(b)the operator is prompted for correct information by the computer system; and

(c)the information request can be visually checked as it is entered and corrections made on the spot.

(2)Reduces chances for input request errors because the

data entry process is guided and controlled by the computer.

(3)Data is transferred via communication lines rapidly and automatically, thereby eliminating excessive State

controls, Federal PLS controls, and mailing.

(4)Responses to requests will have a faster turn around time.

An example displaying the entry of remote terminal request is contained in Exhibit B. This example is annotated by line numbers with State user responses underlined. The remaining pages of Exhibit B contain an explanation of this sample terminal session while Exhibit C, Data Element Definitions, explains the meaning of each input item. A User's Manual explaining both data input and data output in detail will be provided to each State.

When using the terminal mode, requests for locator services can be entered on a daily basis. Each day's requests will be collected by the Federal Parent Locator Service for weekly searches of other Federal records. Address information will be transmitted weekly from the Federal Parent Locator Service directly to the State Parent Locator Services' remote terminals. These terminals will be capable of printing hard copy output of the weekly address information for each State by employing a user requested print command. Further information on this process is contained in Section II, Part A, of this attachment. A "hot line" between the Federal Parent Locator Service and each State will be set up to provide immediate trouble-shooting to a State user encountering terminal problems.

C. Magnetic Tape Transmission

States that transmit requests to the Federal PLS via magnetic tape should follow the procedures and specifications included in Exhibit D, Magnetic Tape Specifications. The tapes must conform to the general characteristic requirements listed under Part A of this exhibit. Each time a State sends a set of requests via magnetic tape(s), a certifying letter similar to the example depicted in Exhibit A should accompany the submission. The number of requests noted on the certifying letter will be checked against identifying information on the tape, including the actual number of requests on the tape as determined during input processes. This check serves as an additional safeguard. States will be notified immediately of any out-of-balance conditions.

States using magnetic tape for transmission of requests may send their request tape(s) once a week, if volume warrants,directly to the Parent Locator Service at the address specified on page 2 of the Program Instruction. Magnetic tapes from States will be processed as they are received. This processing will include verification of the data records, consolidation with other States' requests, and searching Federal records for address information.

Requests on magnetic tapes received from States by Wednesday of any week with correct formats will be processed on the immediate weekend for information on last known employer's address. The Internal Revenue Service will make their search for last known addresses of absent parents one weekend every month according to the schedule appearing in Exhibit E, IRS Processing Schedule. As noted on this exhibit, requests for this information should be received at the Federal Parent Locator Service on Monday - five days prior to the IRS receipt date. (See Column 2 of Exhibit E.) Other Federal departments will process information on an ad hoc basis.

D.Punched Card Transmission

States that transmit requests to the Federal PLS via punched cards should follow the same procedures and specifications - included in Section B of Exhibit D, Magnetic Tape Specifications. You will note that each magnetic tape record described in Exhibit D is set up in an 80 position record format. This format was chosen because it could also be used for punched cards. As a result, both types of data entry can be submitted to one standard set of edits by the Federal Parent Locator Service. The specifications in Exhibit D can be used for producing punched cards simply by interpreting the "positions locations in record descriptions as punched card columns. The procedures for modifying requests, deleting requests already submitted, or noting located absent parents are the same for magnetic tape and punched card. In Section B of Exhibit D, these procedures are described in detail.

Each time a State sends a set of requests via punched cards, a certifying letter like the example depicted in Exhibit A must accompany the submission. The number of requests noted on the certifying letter will be checked against the actual number of requests in the set of punched cards as determined during input procedures at the Federal Parent locator Service. This check serves as an additional safeguard for the data. Again, States will be notified of any out-of-balance conditions.

States using punched cards for transmission of requests should send their set(s) of punched cards directly to the Federal Parent Locator Service. Punched cards will be processed as they are received at the Federal Parent Locator Service. The processing will include verification of thenumber and validity of data records, consolidation of the requests with other States' requests, and searching Federal records for address information. The cutoff processing dates cited in the previous section, Magnetic Tape Transmission, are also applicable to this section. The Federal PLS will not return punched cards submitted by States.

E.Federal Parent Locator Service Request Forms

In addition to the three automated modes of communicating with the Federal Parent Locator Service, States lacking these capabilities or anticipating a low volume of requests to the Federal Parent locator Service may complete and submit hard copy forms. Exhibit F, Request for Parent Locator Services--contains a draft sample of the mandatory standard form with instructions. The actual form will be in three colors; black, red, and white, for ease in keypunching from the forms. In the sample, note that keypunch columns appear above and below the blank boxes on the first page. On the actual form, the tape position/card column numbers for 'known' SSN requests will be in black while the tape position/card columns for 'unknown' SSN requests will be in red. The actual PLS input form will only be one sheet with the format on the front and the instructions on the back. The instructions for completion of the form are displayed on page 2 of Exhibit F. States using hard copy PLS input forms should mail these forms directly to the Parent Locator Service. The correct mailing address is listed on page 2 of the Program Instruction. In order to facilitate handling, the Federal Parent Locator Service requires that States batch their Requests for Locator Services and mail sets of the forms to the Federal Parent Locator Service weekly. States should not mail request forms more frequently than weekly; however, requests can be transmitted biweekly or monthly if the State Parent Locator Service prefers.

As packages of Requests for Locator Services from States are received at the Federal Parent Locator Service, they will be batched and keypunched weekly for entry into the data system. This constraint means that States utilizing manual input forms add at least one week to their response time from the Federal Parent Locator Service to compensate for data preparation processes. Thus, to ensure they are included in the IRS monthly processing, PLS input forms must be received at the Federal Parent Locator Service at least one week prior to Punched Card Transmission and Magnetic Tape Transmission from States. In Exhibit E, IRS Processing Schedule, the column titled, State Requests for Locator Service Forms Due at Federal Parent Locator Service has the correct dates for submission of the forms. States selecting the hard copy form mode of input can convert to another form of input at any time. However, the Federal PLS must be notified of any changes in advance.

II.Receiving Information

The previous sections of this attachment addressed the modes of requesting information on the whereabouts of absent parents from the Federal Parent Locator Service. The remaining sections of this instruction describe the outputs from the Federal Parent Locator Service and the methods of receiving them. Although the Federal Parent Locator Service will accept requests for information as to the whereabouts of absent parents that do not have social security numbers, the Federal Parent Locator Service will not transmit social security numbers on these requests back to States. Only employer address information will be output to the States when an SSN is not supplied. Otherwise, both home and employer address information will be output to the States.

A.Terminal Output

Each State that submits requests to the Federal Parent Locator Service will receive address information on their requests via hard copy terminal output. During the implementation training session that each terminal user receives, State Parent Locator Service staff will be instructed on the procedures for retrieving address information from the Federal Parent Locator Service. The Federal Parent Locator Service will make new address information on State requests available weekly. The State will initiate a print command causing all address data for that State to be printed at the State terminal.

Incorrect requests, duplicate requests, and other mistakes will automatically generate error messages at the State terminal at the time of data entry. Any additional error messages created while searching for address information will be transmitted to the State as the system creates them. The State user may receive these messages when the PLS notifies them or when the weekly address information is pulled off the system.

B.Magnetic Tape Transmission

States that interface with the Federal Parent Locator Service via magnetic tapes will receive output tapes back from the Federal Parent Locator Service. The tapes must conform to the general characteristic requirements listed under Part A of Exhibit D - Magnetic Tape Specifications. Part C, Output Record Formats of this exhibit details the address information data elements that will be contained in the output tape each State will receive. States will obtain only address information from the Federal Parent Locator Service via magnetic tapes. Error messages are generated as State Parent Locator Service magnetic tapes are processed and are printed as hard copy Error Message reports at the Federal Parent Locator Service and distributed via mail tothe respective States. Each of the error messages will describe the reason why the request was rejected.

C.Punched Card Transmission

States that communicate with the Federal Parent Locator Service via punched cards will receive punched cards as output from the Federal Parent Locator Service if they specify this type of output. Punched card output record formats will be identical to magnetic tape output record formats. Therefore, State Parent Locator Services should refer to Part C, Output Record Formats of Exhibit D, Magnetic Tape Specifications for details of punched card layouts. Again, the specifications in Exhibit D can be used for punched card processing simply by interpreting the 'position' locations in each record description as punched card columns.

Incorrect requests, duplicate requests, and other mistakes that are generated as State Parent locator Service punched cards are processed will be printed as hard copy Error Message reports at the Federal Parent Locator Service and distributed via mail to the respective States.

D.Parent Locator Service Address Information - Printed Reports

States that want hard copy reports on address information printed at the Federal Parent Locator Service and mailed may select this mode of communication. Weekly, the Federal Parent Locator Service will process their master files and generated Federal Parent Locator Service Address Information Report for each State that specifies this type of output. The reports will be mailed to the respective IV-D Agency. Output reports will be sequenced by social security number. If there is no social security number, blanks will be in the social security number field; these cases will follow the cases having a social security number. Each request is printed as a single sheet of paper allowing States to disseminate the cases among location staff. States that submit punched cards or magnetic tapes, in addition to States that send batches of hard copy Requests for Parent Locator Services, may request hard copy reports. No additional time will be required. Enclosed with the weekly Address Information Reports will be the Error Message Reports that are generated for a particular State during the processing week. A sample of an Address Information Report is contained in Exhibit G, Address Information Report.

EXHIBIT A

Page 1 of 1

TRANSMITTAL CERTIFICATION DATE :

TO:Federal Parent Locator Service

Office of Child Support Enforcement

Department of Health, Education, and Welfare

P.0. Box 2076

Washington, D.C. 20013

FROM :(Name and Title of Certifying Official)

SUBJECT: Requests to Federal Parent Locator Service for Information on Absent Parents

Enclosed are (number of) requests for information on the whereabouts of absent parents. I certify that every request included with this transmittal meets the following requirements;

(1)It is being made to locate an absent parent for the purpose of establishing paternity or securing child support, and for no other purpose.

(2)Our agency has made diligent and reasonable efforts to find the absent parent and cannot locate the person. (See 45 CFR 303.3.)

(3)Our agency has in effect protective measures to safeguard the personal information being transferred and received from the Federal Parent Locator Service.

(4)Use or disclosure of this information will be limited to the purposes prescribed by 45 CFR 302.18.

(Signature of Certifying Official)