These past months have been a challenging and stressful time for all Americans. Our lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to thank you for your hard work and dedication in delivering services to our children, families, and communities across the child support program. We’re in this together. We’re doing our best to adapt and operate quickly and efficiently to this evolving situation. Many of us are working from home for the first time, kids are home from school, and we’re trying to juggle work and life like never before. The health and well-being of you and your family is important. I encourage you to make sure that you take time for yourself, take a walk, do some yoga, read a book, or reach out to an old friend. We can be tempted to work longer hours when our home is also our office. Not having to commute is nice, but that was my time to decompress.
Last fall, I accepted the position of principal deputy assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families. We have many initiatives taking place across the agency to identify short- and long-term needs, promising strategies, and solutions for a coordinated response to support the overall health, safety, and social and emotional well-being of children and families affected by COVID-19.
I continue to serve as the acting commissioner of OCSE, working closely with Deputy Commissioner Linda Boyer on child support program operations. As you’ll see below, we’ve communicated with state and tribal directors about the operational, administrative, programmatic, and other challenges facing child support programs affected by COVID-19.
As we go forward, we appreciate your patience and want you to know that getting prompt, accurate, official communication to our grantees is imperative and a top priority.
I want to assure you that we're working hard to help in any way we can. I will leave you with the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, "In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. "
This blog gives the commissioner a forum to communicate directly with child support professionals and other stakeholders about relevant topics. The Commissioner’s Voice is reprinted from the April - May 2020 Child Support Report newsletter (PDF).
Key COVID-19 Communications for States and Tribes
- April 1, 2020: ACF issued guidance, IM-ACF-OA-2020-01, providing flexibility for certain grant administration requirements during the pandemic. These flexibilities are time-limited and applicable to ACF applicants and grantees/ recipients where the entity is conducting human service activities related to or affected by COVID-19.
- April 13, 2020: DCL-20-02 discusses eligibility of CARES Act economic impact payments for federal tax refund offset
- April 22, 2020: New OCSE webpage on frequently asked questions related to COVID-19 and child support programs