Translation in Outgoing International Cases

PIQ-21-01

Publication Date: August 26, 2021

POLICY INTERPRETATION QUESTIONS

PIQ-21-01

DATE:  August 26, 2021

TO:  State and Tribal IV-D Directors

FROM:  Linda Boyer, Acting Commissioner, Office of Child Support Enforcement

SUBJECT:  Translation in Outgoing International Cases

This PIQ addresses the most frequently asked questions that OCSE has received about state IV-D agencies’ responsibility to provide translated orders and documents in outgoing international cases to Convention countries and foreign reciprocating countries (FRCs).  A Convention country for U.S. purposes is a country in which the Hague Child Support Convention Visit disclaimer page is in force.  An FRC is a country with which the United States has a bilateral arrangement under section 459A of the Social Security Act.  See OCSE’s international page for a list of these Convention countries and FRCs. 

Question 1:  When IV-D child support agencies send outgoing applications to Convention countries and FRCs, must they translate any forms and accompanying documents and orders?

Answer 1:  Yes. In general, when sending an outgoing application to a Convention country or an FRC, the IV-D agency must translate the application and all accompanying documents and orders into an official language of the requested country, or into a language that the country will accept.  Some countries have stated that they will accept applications in English.  The agency must also include the original language versions of the documents and orders.  For translation requirements for Convention countries, review the country-specific information in the Hague Convention Country Profile Visit disclaimer page and on OCSE's Hague Convention Requirements page.  For translation requirements specific to each FRC, review the country-specific Caseworker Guide on OCSE's International page.

Question 2:  Are translated forms available for international cases?

Answer 2:  Yes. OCSE's Hague Convention Requirements page contains links to translations of the Convention forms in many different languages. Bilingual or multilingual forms for outgoing FRC cases are included in the country-specific Caseworker Guides. If you need a Convention form or an FRC form in a language that's not on our website or in a Caseworker Guide, please contact ocseinternational@acf.hhs.gov for help.

Question 3:  Can a state IV-D agency require an applicant for IV-D services to advance the cost of translation as a condition of providing services in an outgoing international IV-D case to a Convention country or an FRC?

Answer 3:  No.  A state IV-D agency cannot require an applicant to provide their own translated documents or to advance the costs of obtaining translations as a condition of receiving IV-D services in an outgoing international IV-D case.

Federal regulations at 45 CFR 303.7(c)(5) require an initiating state IV-D agency to provide the responding agency sufficient, accurate information to act on the case by submitting any necessary documentation and intergovernmental forms required by the responding agency.  Translation of orders and documents in an outgoing case to a Convention country or an FRC is a necessary IV-D service if the requested country requires translation.  The cost of translations in international IV-D cases qualifies for federal financial participation (FFP).

Question 4:  What are the federal requirements for recovering the costs of translation services?

Answer 4:  Section 454(6)(E) of the Social Security Act requires the following:

A state plan for child and spousal support must:
(6) provide that—
(E) any costs in excess of the fees so imposed may be collected—
(i) from the parent who owes the child or spousal support obligation involved; or
(ii) at the option of the State, from the individual to whom such services are made available, but only if such State has in effect a procedure whereby all persons in such State having authority to order child or spousal support are informed that such costs are to be collected from the individual to whom such services were made available.

Cost recovery is governed by 45 CFR 302.33.  Also, the intergovernmental regulation at 45 CFR 303.7(e)(2) allows IV-D agencies to recover their costs of providing services in intergovernmental non‑IV‑A cases in accordance with 45 CFR 302.33(d). 

Question 5:  Does OCSE have suggestions to reduce translation costs?

Answer 5:  To reduce the costs and complexity of translating an entire support order in an outgoing international IV-D case, OCSE recommends that caseworkers determine whether the country will accept an abstract or extract of the order, in lieu of the complete text.

In an outgoing Convention case, caseworkers can check the Convention Country Profile Visit disclaimer page  or OCSE’s Hague Convention Requirements page, to see if the country will accept an abstract or extract of the order.  If an abstract is acceptable, the agency can use the Convention form titled Abstract of a Decision, which will require much less translation.  In an outgoing FRC case, caseworkers can review information in the country-specific Caseworker’s Guide.

Where translation is needed, child support agencies often reach out to local universities or colleges, or to the court, to obtain translation services.  Some agencies may have contracts for translation services.

INQUIRIES:  OCSE Division of Policy and Training, International Team, ocseinternational@acf.hhs.gov.

Current as of: