Interstate Referral Guide (IRG)


Publication Date: March 1, 1990



March 1, 1990

TO:State Agencies Administering Child Support Enforcement Plans Approved Under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act and Other Interested Individuals

SUBJECT:Interstate Referral Guide (IRG)

CONTENT:The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has automated the IRG so that States will have accurate address and telephone information. Automation of the IRG will enable changes to be made as often as necessary; thus making current information readily available for facilitation interstate case processing.

ATTACHMENT:IRG General Information

User's Manual for IRG

Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) Publication 6-3

INQUIRIES:OCSE Program Operations Division

Allie Page Matthews

Deputy Director



The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has undertaken a project to automate the Interstate Referral Guide (IRG), a directory of Federal, State, and local addresses for use in processing interstate child support cases. The automated IRG will help to facilitate interstate case processing by making available current address and telephone information for States and local child support offices. States will be able to update their addresses as they change, and these corrected addresses will be available monthly to all States.

Future plans include expanding the content of the IRG; however, the initial phase of the IRG will contain only addresses which will be automated in two phases. First, Federal, international, State offices, and local responding agencies will be automated; the second phase will include local collection addresses.

The first phase addresses are currently available to OCSE in existing automated files. We will use these as the starting point for building the IRG master file. Addresses which will be included in the guide are:

Address Description Updated By

Federal Administration for Children OCSE

and Families, OCSE, Regions)

International OCSE

State (IV-D Director, Central Registry,

State Parent Locator Service,

Tax Refund Offset Coordinator) States

Local (Responding Agency, Collection

Address) States

OCSE, at our National Computer Center (NCC), will maintain a master file of address and telephone information. The information used to develop the master file comes from the State and local addresses submitted for the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program in processing year 1989. States must determine that the

correct agency addresses are listed, verify the accuracy of the addresses,confirm the three-digit FIPS code and add, if necessary, a two-digit sublocal code to distinguish subdivisions. In some instances, it will be necessary for States to add their local addresses. Updating of the addresses will be accomplished by logging on to NCC using the same equipment and similar procedures now used for the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program and the Federal Parent Locator Service (see attachment 2). Each State will be responsible for updating its own addresses; updates may be made as often as necessary. OCSE will process each State's updated information and update the master file of addresses.

As soon as you are ready to update your addresses, please contact OCSE's contact person for this project: Wanda Campbell, OCSE/Program Operations Division, Program Support Branch, 370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20447, Telephone (202) 252-5752. You will need to provide OCSE by telephone with the name of the office and person who will be responsible for updating the IRG. At that time arrangements will be made to obtain a password for you to gain access to NCC. The Central Registry may be the most appropriate unit for updating the addresses; however, the State has discretion in assigning this task as it deems appropriate.


States must complete the initial updating of their addresses by April 27, 1990. As you update your State's addresses, you should note that extra care should be taken to enter the addresses correctly since you will not immediately be able to retrieve the new and/or changed address information entered into the system until OCSE has updated the NCC master file. During the initial updating of the addresses, OCSE will update the master file every day. At the conclusion of the initial update period, OCSE will process the updates on a monthly basis, the fourth Wednesday of each month.

After the completion of the initial updating of addresses, OCSE will arrange for each State to receive, on a one time only basis, a copy of the master file of all of the addresses. The following options are available for obtaining the master file:

oReceive a master file data tape (States with mainframes) from OCSE of the master file maintained on the mainframe at NCC for uploading onto their system (See pages 16 and 17 of User's Manual, Attachment 2, for tape specifications).

oDownload the master file from the mainframe at NCC by using the current communication package on your Personal Computer (PC). Downloading could take more than 5 hours to transfer the entire master file. If bad data exists, or line is accidentally disconnected, you may have to rerun the entire process. A minimum of 8MB of hard disk space must be available for the data base and PC software.

oReceive SIMPC which is available on disk from OCSE for States who currently do not have any communication software. Once this communication package has been loaded on the State;s PC, the State can download the master file from NCC, which could take 5 hours.

oReceive floppy disks (10-15, dBase III format), along with PC software developed under an OCSE interstate grant project for use with the IRG. This software will provide States with the capability of maintaining the address file on their PC as well as to query, update, and print the file. The data base from the floppy disks will have to be copied to the user's hard disk. Master file and PC software will be in one package. A minimum of 5MB of hard disk space must be available for the data base and PC software.

All addresses updated using PC software must be updated by logging on to NCC in order for the master file to be updated as well. This will ensure that updated addresses are available to all States.


On a monthly basis, the updating process of the addresses will be completed as follows:

oThe NCC master file addresses will be updated. States will update their own addresses for the master file over the network which connects the State Central Registry (or unit responsible for updating) and NCC.

oAfter all of the States' updates are completed, OCSE will process the information and update the master file of addresses at NCC on the fourth Wednesday of each month.

oAt the beginning of each month, these changes will be available for States to download to their PCs.

oAt this point, States choose how the IRG will be made available to line workers (e.g., on-line, laser printed copies).


A critical element for the automated guide is a seven character FIPS code associated with each local address:

oTwo-character State code--your State abbreviation, e.g., AL--which is automatically included in the system and will not appear on the screen. The State abbreviation will appear on the printed copy of the addresses.

oThree-digit local code (see Attachment 3); and

oTwo-digit sublocal code for large local jurisdictions, which is a numerical code selected by the State and allows local jurisdictions to designate various offices.

As an example, to differentiate, between two case processing offices in Birmingham, Alabama, the FIPS code for the first office would be AL 073 01. If a sublocal code is not designated, the system will automatically add "00". In order for States to full utilize the IRG as an automated listing of addresses, it is important to include the sublocal code if one has been designated.

During this initial updating process, many of the addresses on the master file may require only a change in the FIPS code including additions to sublocal codes. The computer will not allow changes to any portion of this code without deleting the entire record and re-entering all of the data; whereas changes to the name, address, zip code, telephone number, etc. may be made as needed without deleting the entire record.

The process of changing the FIPS code, when no other changes in the address are necessary, will be very time consuming for the States with a large number of FIPS code changes. Therefore, States that need to change only the FIPS code for the addresses already included on the master file and have 50 or more of these code changes may send a list of the addresses with the correct seven-character FIPS code to OCSE at the address listed below. This option does not apply to the addition of new addresses or address changes. OCSE will handle these FIPS code changes only during this initial updating of the addresses.

The User's Manual, Attachment 2, contains specific information and directions for logging on to NCC, includes examples of the various screens and accompanying directions, and contains the tape specifications.

The cooperation of all of the States is necessary for collecting and maintaining accurate information for the IRG. It is important that State child support enforcement agencies have current address and telephone information for other Sate and local child support offices.

OCSE contact: Wanda Campbell

OCSE/Program Operations Division

Program Support Branch

370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW

4th Floor

Washington, DC 20447

Telephone: (202) 252-5752


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