National Child Support Guiding Principles and Strategies
June 10, 2010 Working Document
These principles underlie our mission and serve as the basis for
how we operate.
1. Customer and Partner Focused – We value and
respect our customers and our partners.
- Children first.
- A legal, financial, and emotional relationship between parents
and their children is vital to child well-being.
- Parental employment is key to reliable support payments.
- All parents and custodians are treated fairly and kept
informed, and their concerns are recognized.
- Services are most effective when cultural and economic
differences are respected.
- Child Support Enforcement programs have a responsibility to
reach out to educate partners, stakeholders, customers, and the
public about the program and available services.
- We promote stable, safe and healthy relationships between
parents and children by participating in the larger
community’s efforts to strengthen families and encourage
- We honor and respect sovereignty and collaborate widely with
flexibility to address and overcome jurisdictional and other
barriers among countries, states, tribes, programs, cultures, and
- We promote collaboration and innovation as part of our program
2. Performance Results and Outcomes – We value achievement of the best possible results.
- Parents have a responsibility to provide financial, medical,
and emotional support to their children, and we help those who are
struggling to do so.
- Our prompt, proactive steps ensure that child support
obligations are set at appropriate levels and are paid timely and
consistently to prevent the accrual of unpaid child support.
- Reliable child support and medical coverage are crucial for
families striving to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency.
- Policy and technology decisions are interdependent and
coordinated to achieve high performance.
- Performance results depend upon adequate program
3. Data and Information – We value the use of data to support and guide our actions.
- We ensure the privacy and security of the personal information
so critical to our mission.
- We maintain a high standard of data reliability and
completeness to measure our results.
- We use research and data to improve our processes and
- We use data to understand, analyze, and sort our caseload to
respond to different case needs.
- We exchange data with other programs to improve coordinated
service delivery to families and reduce improper payments
consistent with our statutory authority.
4. Human Resources – We value and support staff at all levels of the program.
- Training, tools, information technology, and skills are
essential for our staff to be prepared and successful in serving
- We build trust and exhibit respect for our staff by being
responsive, accountable, and ethical in all our actions.
- We achieve excellence through collaboration, transparency, and
honoring the diversity of the workforce.
- We value the commitment our staff brings to the program,
especially during difficult economic times.
5. Leadership – We value responsible, innovative leadership.
- The Child Support Enforcement Program advances through
coordinated efforts of technology, research, demonstration
projects, and innovation.
- We provide leadership, along with our stakeholders, in
advocating for improvements and efficiencies in our program.
- We are accountable to the public, our stakeholders, and our
- We facilitate learning and promote the use of best
We implement a range of strategies to carry out our mission and
improve our program impact and effectiveness.
1. Collaborate to improve services to our customers and
Build and strengthen partnerships through collaborations to
promote healthy family relationships, such as through programs and
services that support:
- Responsible fatherhood
- Pregnancy prevention
- Domestic violence prevention
- Parenting and co-parenting education
- Military and veteran parents
- Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated parents
- Health care
- Access and visitation
- Financial literacy
Establish and standardized data sharing to achieve program
purposes and improve outcomes among:
- Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE)
- Means-tested programs and other agencies that serve our
customers, promote our mission, and carry out our program
- Workforce-related agencies
- Insurance providers and financial institutions
- Utilities and communications providers
- Other agencies authorized by law to access the data.
Establish policies that authorize IV-D program access to needed
data and information exchanges, for example:
- Tribal access to Federal Tax Refund Offset
- Federal and state tax information
- Utilities and communications providers
- Multistate financial institutions
- Public and private entities that provide health care
- Use research to inform our policies and practices.
2. Deliver timely, clear, and accessible services adapted to customer
needs and circumstances.
- Deliver accessible and culturally-appropriate services to
- Address obstacles to payment, including access to children,
matters of procedural justice, and affordability of orders.
- Develop targeted, specific initiatives to serve special
populations, including incarcerated or formerly incarcerated
- Address the needs of veterans and military families
experiencing extended deployments or returning to the
- Focus on families that have lost employment, receive
unemployment insurance benefits, and/or are no longer eligible for
- Use time-sensitive, specific customer service protocols for
holistic customer services.
- Ensure prompt payment of collections to families and promote
electronic payment options for parents, employers, and among
- Provide intensive child support services for families receiving
assistance throughout their involvement with the child support
- Provide access to material about other available programs and
services available to parents and caretakers.
- Involve both parents in all aspects of child support and
related access and visitation services to increase financial and
emotional support of children.
- Adapt child support services to the special needs of domestic
- Provide understandable program information to our
3. Emphasize early intervention and proactive case management to
ensure reliable payments of support.
- Provide easy access to genetic testing for parents of children
born out of wedlock.
- Update child support guidelines regularly, establish
appropriate orders, and respond to job loss.
- Communicate with customers about child support services early
and consistently to ensure that they are kept informed and
- Develop case management tools for early intervention to work
with parents to ensure regular, consistent payments.
- Use automation when possible to detect changes in circumstances
and intervene early to review and modify orders.
- Strive for reliable payments and voluntary compliance in
preference to debt-triggered enforcement action.
- Consider ways to facilitate regular and reliable payment of
current support through debt leveraging strategies and other
approaches to reducing uncollectible debt owed to a state.
- Use automation and proactive case review to manage case closure
4. Eliminate barriers associated with intergovernmental cases.
- Develop effective and streamlined protocols for
intergovernmental case processing.
- Improve and increase data sharing of case information across
state and tribal jurisdictions.
- Maximize use of caseload reconciliation tools and automation,
such as Interstate Case Reconciliation, Query Interstate for Kids
(QUICK), Child Support Enforcement Network (CSENet), or the Model
Tribal System, to share data across jurisdictions effectively.
- Promote single-jurisdiction case management whenever
- Emphasize and facilitate state and tribal collaboration.
- Support the case transfer and automation needs of expanding
tribal IV-D programs.
- Respond to the growing international caseload through foreign
reciprocal agreements and protocols to facilitate currency exchange
and electronic payment.
5. Seek innovative ways to improve establishment and enforcement
methods and performance.
Develop more effective locate, service of process, and
- Increase use of expedited and administrative processes,
including recourse to courts, ensuring that parents have access to
- Streamline intake processes for quicker identification and
location of non-custodial parents and their resources.
- Evaluate and maximize the use of the most effective locate,
service of process and establishment methods.
- Improve access to cell phone data.
- Increase the use of location resources to ensure timely
distribution of collections to families.
- Reach out to and educate employers about the importance of
compliance with new hire reporting and income withholding
Expand and improve enforcement and collection tools.
- Develop tools to identify and collect unreported and
- Customize and apply enforcement approaches that distinguish
between those who cannot pay and those who refuse to pay.
- Assess enforcement strategies and tools to ensure effective
use in all cases.
- Improve the effectiveness of bank account, asset, and
insurance settlement seizure, passport sanctions, direct income
withholding, and liens.
- Improve communication, education, and collaboration with
employers and employer organizations regarding new hire reporting,
electronic income withholding, and electronic payment options.
- Evaluate and improve the process for criminal prosecution of
nonpayment of child support.
- Explore and evaluate opportunities for centralization and
standardization of automated enforcement and collection tools.
- Evaluate and develop technologies to improve interfaces, data
mining, data matching, imaging, systems modernization, and data
6.Anticipate and implement changes in distribution of collections.
- Implement family distribution options in the Deficit Reduction
Act as adopted by state legislatures.
- Analyze the impact of family distribution policies on families,
means-tested program interactions, and governmental budgets.
- Analyze the impact of alternative uses of IV-E collections for
the benefit of children in the foster care system.
- Educate legislators and policymakers regarding the impact of
different distribution strategies on families.
7. Secure access to health care coverage or medical support for
- Redefine the child support program’s role in obtaining
health care coverage for children and their parents consistent with
federal health reform legislation, develop an implementation plan,
and ensure IV-D agencies have the resources and incentives to meet
their responsibilities and provide services.
- Ensure IV-D agencies have efficient access to necessary and
appropriate health coverage data.
- Eliminate barriers and emphasize collaboration among IV-D,
Medicaid, CHIP, and Indian Health Services.
- Educate legislators and policymakers regarding the evolving
role of child support in securing health coverage for
8. Identify sustainable and responsible fiscal practices and policies that
benefit our customers.
- Ensure we have the necessary resources to meet evolving
responsibilities, strategies, and tools.
- Ensure the program has the capacity to meet the needs of the
IV-D service population.
- Continuously seek to improve program productivity through
efficiency measures and cost effectiveness, including assessing and
tracking cost avoidance and cost savings to other means-tested
- Proactively assess and manage program data to identify trends
in service delivery.
- Establish human resource policies and practices, including
succession planning to ensure continuation of effective service to
- Analyze current audit processes to improve program
accountability, management, and performance.