NATIONAL TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING NEEDS ASSESSMENT REPORT

The National Technical Assistance and Training Needs Assessment Report summarizes key findings and recommendations arising from the recent Needs Assessment. The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) thanks the National Council of Child Support Directors for distributing the assessment, the State IV-D Directors and their staff for completing the Needs Assessment instrument, and the Federal and State representatives who helped develop the assessment and who participated on the follow-up teams. Attached is a list of Federal/State team members.

BACKGROUND

To follow up the National Technical Assistance (TA) and Training Needs Assessment conducted September - December 2000, OCSE established five "teams" of State and Federal child support enforcement staff. The Needs Assessment and teams were organized according to the six incentive categories – the five that currently exist (paternity establishment, support order establishment, collection on current support, collection on arrears, cost effectiveness, and a sixth for medical support, which will be an incentive category in the future).

The teams were asked to clarify and expand the specific technical assistance and training needs identified in the Needs Assessment and develop preliminary TA and training recommendations for OCSE's consideration. These recommendations include suggestions about new national TA and training efforts as well as ideas about how existing training and TA products could be more effectively targeted to States and, perhaps, used by a wider audience.

Each of the follow-up teams held a series of telephone conference calls to gather information to supplement the Needs Assessment results. Team members contacted most of the 40 States that originally responded to the Needs Assessment and held follow-up conversations with State staff.

KEY ISSUES AND NEEDS BY INCENTIVE AREA

Key issues are listed under each incentive area as identified in the Needs Assessment. Major recommendations for technical assistance and training that the teams propose are listed as well as OCSE's activities and plans to address them. The recommendations addressed in this report focus on technical assistance and training areas consistent with the major purpose of the Needs Assessment. The report is not meant to delineate all the issues related to these topics, nor all the TA and training activities OCSE has provided or plans to provide States.

States also expressed the need for OCSE to address certain policy issues, especially in the areas of interstate and medical support. Please note that OCSE is working on these policy issues, in consultation with States, and will provide guidance once developed.

Paternity Establishment

Issues:

Recommendations and OCSE Response:

OCSE will identify and promote best practices concerning this collaboration.

OCSE will update and disseminate an updated list.

OCSE will:

-- explore outreach beyond hospitals to other medical communities and other interested groups including community based and faith-based organizations.

-- consider awarding demonstration grants in this area.

Support Order Establishment

Issues:

Recommendations and OCSE Response:

OCSE will identify examples of various State methodologies and explore creating State uniform resource locators (URL) links with this information.

OCSE will:

--identify and promote best practices in this area

--provide grant opportunities for developing innovative practices

--explore conducting a data match with prisons to identify incarcerated NCPs

OCSE will identify and promote best practices and consider publishing Techniques for Effective Management of Program Operations (TEMPO)s.

Collection of Current Support

Issues:

Recommendations and OCSE Response:

OCSE will promote best practices in this area and also consider other TA approaches such as conducting National conference calls and, possibly, issuing a TEMPO.

OCSE will continue to provide TA via conference calls for interstate case processing issues, on-site CSENet assistance and will identify and promote good State models. Also, see p.12 for training related activities.

Collection on Arrears

Issues:

Recommendations and OCSE Response:

OCSE:

--will be identifying model practices and developing guidance to States on the reconciliation of arrears (a Task Order will be awarded by September FY 2001).

--has issued a DCL-00-64 which includes State materials on determining the controlling order and has recently disseminated to States a TEMPO on the same subject (IM 01-01, April 18, 2001).

--is providing training to employers on support order withholding to help avoid arrearage build-up and identifying and sharing best practices.

--is conducting on-site State visits to document processes where the Federal Case Registry(FCR), National Directory of New Hires (NDNH), and Multi-State Financial Institution Data Match (MSFIDM) data can be used within child support business areas.

--is providing guidance to States via conference calls on data usage and automation and other related topics.

--is encouraging States to submit biweekly arrearage updates to Federal Offset system and to enforce payoff of arrearages when a passport is denied.

--is providing technical support for automating "freeze and seize" process and setting up direct levies based on MSFIDM data.

--is promoting electronic transfer, of income withholding orders and payments, especially among Federal agencies, to avoid arrearages.

--has arranged for the military to offer online and batch processing options for income withholding to avoid arrearages.

Cost Effectiveness

Issues:

Recommendations and OCSE Response:

OCSE will review and consider updating/re-issuing the 1997 publication, entitled "A Guide to Developing Public-Private Partnerships," available on OCSE website (/programs/cse/rpt/pvt/contents.htm).

OCSE:

--will consider existing avenues for promoting this information (e.g. conducting audio conferences, workshops at National association conferences, especially the 12th National CSE Training Conference).

--will promote/provide existing training material related to these issues.

Although system certification alert requirements are mandated, OCSE will explore and promote best practices in reducing the number and types of alerts to caseworkers, such as eliminating informational alerts, limiting alerts to overdue actions, etc.)

This would require a legislative change. The incentive measures were developed by a Federal/State work group and OCSE has no plans to introduce new legislation.

Medical Support

Issues:

Recommendations and OCSE Response:

OCSE will make the NMSN available on the OCSE website and organize an internal group to design and develop training on the use of the form.

This would require Federal legislation and may not be able to be addressed at the national level. However, OCSE will explore possible approaches (such as identifying State best practices) to address this issue.

OCSE will coordinate with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding dissemination of child support information to CHIP participants and on related referral issues.

OCSE is working on an employer outreach project regarding information on medical support and identification of State best practices. The first product will be articles for national employer newsletters and a matrix of State medical support contacts along with State specific information.

GENERAL TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE RECOMMENDATIONS

OCSE has traditionally provided many types of national, regional and state-specific technical assistance to States such as "Best Practices" compilations, special topic meetings and technology transfers. States' feedback indicated that they find this assistance to be extremely useful and they recommended that this assistance continue to be provided. They also gave examples of the general types of assistance that will be most useful to them, as noted below. OCSE will continue to provide and expand its TA efforts to address specific and evolving State program needs.

Our follow-up teams also discovered where States are doing well on a given issue and their practices should be shared with their colleagues. For example, there was a great deal of interest in the programs that States are using to link child support enforcement to insurance data. There are many good ideas that might become "Best Practices" in the area of cost effectiveness that States could share, such as prioritizing worker prompts and cost-benefit analyses of proposed program changes.

Also, sharing issues and ideas through regular meetings is important. Many counties face similar problems (e.g. the metropolitan counties surrounding a large jurisdiction). States suggest establishing regular meetings among these similar counties so that they can share successful approaches and develop solutions.

Also, States suggest that notes from audio conference calls should be posted on the National Work Place so that other States can refer to the information discussed whenever the need arises. (Some States may not be grappling with an issue at the time it is discussed, but will have a need for the information at a later date.)

GENERAL TRAINING

It was clear from responses to the Needs Assessment instrument that there are many people who are clamoring for the training that OCSE has already developed and delivered. A majority of respondents said they had used the Computer Based Training (CBT) developed by OCSE – these ranged from about 54 percent who took the Distribution course to about 74 percent who took the Paternity Establishment course. More than 40 percent of the respondents would like to use OCSE’s classroom training course on Distribution. An effort should be made to extend the training efforts to meet these needs. In addition, several States have developed training packages that can be adapted and used by other States. OCSE can work toward matching State training needs with existing Federal and State training curricula. OCSE can also make an effort to ensure that State training packages (in addition to those developed by OCSE) are available through OCSE’s website and the National Electronic Child Support Resource System, which are both accessed by about 80 percent of respondents.

OCSE ACTIVITIES/PLANS

OCSE recognizes that it needs to expand marketing efforts of existing Federal training. OCSE has designed a cost-effective training approach that includes Training of Trainer (TOT) style training for regional/State teams and the development of computer/web based training courses. This approach is more feasible in reaching a large trainee group than providing direct classroom training to individual States. OCSE has used this approach for Distribution, including providing the course via TOT delivery to regional teams, and will continue to encourage States to use the Distribution CBT. If more assistance is needed, States could request regional team training.

OCSE has, and will continue, to offer Federal training courses through NECSRS and has encouraged States to offer their curricula through that system. However, States have been reluctant to do so. OCSE will continue to encourage States to make their training courses available via the web.

DEVELOPING NEW TRAINING

States indicated several areas in which training should be developed.

OCSE has developed a 3-day Customer Service Training Course that is being piloted and will be available to States in the Fall 2001.

While OCSE does not have an official training curriculum for CSENet, it does have an End User Support Group to provide ongoing assistance to States. OCSE is also providing a CBT to States on State and Federal automation tools; has a 2-day Regional training course on Federal Location and Collection Services; and will be providing 1-hour seminars for local CSE field offices.

OCSE plans to develop a training curriculum for military child support enforcement.

OCSE plans to develop management training workshops and a curriculum related to performance incentives/improvement.