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Update to the Automated Systems for Child Support Enforcement: A Guide for States - April 1999


Published: December 23, 1999
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
State Systems, Certification Guide
Guides/Publications/Reports, Policy, Action Transmittals (AT)

This is a historical document. Use for research and reference purposes only.



DATE: December 23, 1999



Attachments superseded and no longer available.

PURPOSE: This transmits the updates to AUTOMATED SYSTEMS FOR CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT: A GUIDE FOR STATES [the Guide], revised February 1999. This document, required by 45 CFR 307.25[b], defines the requirements that States must meet to satisfy provisions of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 [PRWORA], related to child support enforcement program automation. Under PRWORA, States must have in effect a statewide automated data processing and information retrieval system which by October 1, 1997, meets all the requirements of title IV-D of the Social Security Act enacted on or before the date of enactment of the Family Support Act of 1988 [FSA88], and by October 1, 2000, meets all the title IV-D requirements enacted under PRWORA.

BACKGROUND: The Guide was originally issued in July 1987 for use by states in developing automated Child Support Enforcement [CSE] systems. A revised guide was issued with action transmittal ACF-OISM-AT-93-03 in June 1993 for the purpose of defining the requirements of FSA88. The Guide was updated to reflect PRWORA functionality in March 1999 as OCSE AT-99-06.

DISCUSSION: This document updates the March 1999 Guide by providing 1) corrections and clarifications to the Certification Objectives, 2) updating Appendix A to provide new references to Action Transmittals, Dear Colleagues and other guidance materials, 3) providing a new Appendix B that provides guidance to States in updating their Certification Questionnaire for PRWORA and 4) provides a new Appendix C that provides a checklist of PRWORA requirements. It is the principal document for state use in developing PRWORA compliant automated systems; however, continued use of the June 1993 version is appropriate for states still working to meet FSA88 requirements.

The Guide defines the minimum functionality required of child support automated systems and establishes the certification criteria for States' use in meeting all Title IV-D requirements as prescribed by FSA88, PRWORA, and implementing regulations. Program and system regulations form the foundation of the Guide.

As we mentioned in OCSE AT-99-06, OCSE plans to issue semi-annual updates to the Guide of which this is the first update. States and other interested parties are encouraged to provide input regarding requirements and format for possible inclusion in revisions. Please provide comments via electronic mail. During the last year at various national and regional forums, OCSE solicited input from States regarding how to improve the certification process. Several of these recommendations have been incorporated into changes reflected in the Certification Guide.

Incremental Reviews & Checklist

In addition to conducting functional reviews and Level I (pilot) and Level II (statewide) certification reviews, OCSE will conduct incremental certification reviews. The checklist in Appendix C is intended to assist States and OCSE in tracking PRWORA automation functionality. States need not have completed all PRWORA functionality to request a review; OCSE is willing to perform PRWORA certification reviews incrementally, with discrete items of PRWORA functionality being reviewed at different times. ACF reserves the right to re-review any PRWORA or FSA14688 function during any subsequent review, even if it has been previously reviewed. Certification will be granted only when ACF has verified that all PRWORA requirements are met and that the system is functioning statewide with PRWORA changes.

Certification Questionnaire

Rather than just turn each Certification Objective into a question, Appendix B provides more guidance to the states regarding the type of information that is being sought in the PRWORA questionnaire. States need not submit the entire Certification Questionnaire, but only update those portions of the FSA14688 Certification Guide where functionality has changed, been updated, or was a FSA14688 condition. States should update the PRWORA certification functionality that they are asking to be reviewed in the incremental review.

To assist the states in this endeavor, a version of the Certification Guide is available on the OCSE Web site that highlights the PRWORA changes. In addition, Appendix B provides guidance regarding the types of information that should be provided in the questionnaire, the type of questions that are likely to be asked during the on-site review, the types of cases that should be available for demonstration purposes and other useful information.

Guidance Material

Appendix A reflects a summary of Action Transmittals, Dear Colleagues, Policy Interpretation Questions, and other guidance material related to PRWORA program requirements which may also impact on systems functionality. The information listed in Appendix A is not inclusive of all guidance issued by OCSE or ACF. States should also periodically access the OCSE Web site at www/acf.hhs.gov/program/cse/poldoc.htm.

The Revised Guide is also available on the internet at (no longer available online). At that address go to: Facts & Descriptions: State Systems. States have the option of downloading the entire Revised Guide or just the correction pages and updated Appendices. OCSE has also put on its Web site a version of the Guide that highlights the PRWORA changes to the Guide.

REGULATION PREFERENCES: 45 CFR Parts 302, 303, 304, and 307

SUPERSEDED MATERIAL:This Guide supersedes the AUTOMATED SYSTEMS FOR CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT: A Guide for States Seeking Enhanced Funding, Revised July 1987.

INQUIRIES: Director, Division of Child Support Information Systems [202] 690-1244.

David Gray Ross, Commissioner
Office of Child Support Enforcement