What is the role of the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement?


The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) works with states, tribes, local offices, employers, nonprofit groups, other federal offices, and other governments to secure financial support for children.

The role of OCSE is to:

  • Help state and tribal child support programs follow federal law
  • Provide technical assistance and training in using tools to
    • Locate parents
    • Establish parentage
    • Set child support orders
    • Collect payments
  • Assess how well states and tribes are processing cases and collecting payments
  • Answer public inquiries
  • Provide outreach materials for parents, child support professionals, and employers
  • Gather and share information about promising practices in child support
  • Fund grant opportunities for research in program improvement
  • Serve as the central authority for international child support cases

States have varying guidelines on some aspects of child support, but federal law outlines certain standards for all states, like mandatory medical support for children and income withholding for noncustodial parents.

OCSE does not have direct access to case information and it does not collect payments directly from parents.

Learn more about OCSE.


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