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Standard to Evaluate the Establishment of Paternity

AT-88-7

Published: May 5, 1988
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Program Audit, Case Management, Paternity Establishment
Types:
Policy, Action Transmittals (AT)

OCSE-88-7

May 5, 1988

Subj: Standard to Evaluate the Establishment of Paternity

PROGRAM INSTRUCTION

Advance Copy

ACTION TRANSMITTAL

OCSE-AT-88-7

May 5, 1988

TO:State Agencies Administering Child Support

Enforcement Plans Approved Under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act

SUBJECT:Standard to Evaluate the Establishment of Paternity

PURPOSE:The purpose of this Action Transmittal is to provide further details regarding the standard we will use in evaluating cases for the establishment of paternity beginning with the audits conducted for FY 1988.

BACKGROUND:States were notified by letter of September 14, 1987, that: beginning with audits conducted for FY 1988, the substantial compliance standard to be applied to State and local efforts to establish paternity will be based on the actual establishment of paternity and support orders or the initiation of legal action to establish and obtain support orders in at least 75 percent of the cases reviewed requiring those services where the absent parent had been located. That letter indicated that audits of State Child Support Enforcement programs conducted for FY 1984 and 1985 documented deficiencies in establishing a support obligation when a child was born out-of-wedlock and that improvements are needed in all areas, from locating the putative father to establishing paternity and obtaining and enforcing a support order.

CONTENT:The September letter promised further details on the paternity establishment evaluation standard. This action transmittal provides those details. Beginning with audits conducted for FY 1988 (October 1, 1987 through September 30, 1988), the substantial compliance standard to be applied to State and local efforts to establish paternity will be based on the actualestablishment of paternity and/or a support order or initiation of legal action to establish paternity and obtain a support order during the audit period in at least 75 percent of the cases reviewed requiring those services when, at the beginning of the audit period: (1) The absent parent has been located; and (2) Both the establishment of paternity and a support order are necessary. The standard does not apply in cases needing a support order if paternity has been established.

Those cases which, at the beginning of the audit period, meet the conditions that subject them to the paternity establishment standard, will be judged to have met the standard if, at the end of the audit period: 1) Paternity and/or a support order have been established or 2) Legal action to establish paternity and a support order has been initiated. These two conditions are explained further below.

1.Establishment of Paternity and/or a Support Order

A case will meet the standard if, at the end of the audit period:

a.Paternity has been established by legal process in the State, including expedited, judicial or administrative process;

b.Paternity has been established by voluntary acknowledgement or consent if paternity established by acknowledgement or consent has the same effect under State law as court ordered paternity. If it does not, in order to meet the standard, the State must initiate legal action to establish paternity; or

c.Paternity and a support order have been established by legal process under State law including administrative process, judicial process and expedited process as defined in 45 CFR 303.101

2.Initiation of Legal Action to Establish Paternity and Obtain a Support Order

A case will meet the standard if, at the end of the audit period:

a.A petition has been filed to establish paternity and obtain a support order with an administrative agency, the court, or under expedited process, if paternity is established under expedited process within the State. The IV-D agency must petition to establish paternity anda support order in the same proceeding, unless prohibited under State law; or

b.The putative father has been excluded by genetic tests.

Therefore, if, at the beginning of the audit period, sample cases selected for review indicate that both paternity and a support order need to be established and the putative father has been located, the State will be deemed to be in substantial compliance only if it has established paternity and/or obtained a support order or initiated action to establish paternity and obtain a support order, in accordance with the above, by the end of the audit period, in at least 75 percent of the cases requiring those services which are reviewed.

RELATED

REFERENCE:Letter to State Umbrella Agency heads, dated September 14, 1987, on this subject.

INQUIRIES TO: OCSE Regional Representatives

__________________________

Wayne A. Stanton

Director