Office of Child Support Enforcement
TABLE OF CONTENTS
20th OCSE Annual Report
The Twentieth Annual Report to Congress contains information on the dimensions of the child support situation in this country and on the functions of the Child Support Enforcement program. It also includes a summary of programs in the area of child support enforcement.
In addition, the report contains selected State-by-State financial, statistical, and program data for Fiscal Year 1995 obtained from Federal reports completed by State Child Support Enforcement agencies. Included in the report is a series of graphs and tables which present selected financial, statistical and program data for the fiscal years 1991-1995, as well as technical notes on the data presented in this report.
Chapters 1 - 5
- 1. Introduction and Overview
- 2. Renewed and Improved Partnerships
- 3. Shared Planning and Goals
- 4. Research, Oversight, and Reporting Results
- 5. Summary of FY 1995 Program Results
- A: State Box Scores
- B: State Data Tables
- C: Notes on State Data Tables
- D: Glossary of Financial and Statistical Terms
- E: FY 1995 Action Transmittals
- F: State IV-D Agency Listing (This information is outdated and has been removed on 03/11/2009)
- G: OCSE Organizational Charts (The information is outdated and has been removed)
- H: Federal Legislative History of Child Support Enforcement
- I: An Annotated List of State and Regional GPRA Projects for FY 1995
In FY 1995, State Child Support Enforcement Programs collected close to $11 billion in child support payments, established more than one million orders for child support, and established paternity for 903,000 children. These numbers reflect the commitment and dedication of individuals at the local, State, and Federal level of the Child Support Enforcement Program.
Child support is crucial in bettering the lives of children who are morally and legally entitled to such support. As President Clinton has stated, "It is unacceptable for parents to abandon their children, making taxpayers subsidize their neglect. We want to make responsibility the law of the land -- and we support the toughest possible child support enforcement." We must continue to strive, with our State partners, toward accomplishment of this ideal.
At the President's urging, child support enforcement provisions were included by Congress in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 which was enacted on August 22, 1996 (Pub. L. 104-193). We are optimistic that these changes will result in additional improvements in the Program.
While the Program has already improved substantially over the last several years, we need to do much better. Although we are proud of each achievement made and every goal reached, we are determined to make this current year and each succeeding year more successful than the past.
Donna E. Shalala
CHAPTERS 1 - 5
The Child Support Enforcement program began in 1975 when Congress enacted title IV-D of the Social Security Act for the purpose of establishing and enforcing the support obligations owed by noncustodial parents to their children. The Child Support Enforcement program is a joint undertaking involving Federal, State, and local cooperative efforts.
The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) within the Administration for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services is the Federal agency that oversees administration of the program. The Federal government sets program standards and policy, evaluates States' performance in conducting their programs and offers technical assistance and training to States. It also conducts audits of State program activities, and operates the Parent Locator Service, National Training Center and National Reference Center. The Federal government pays the major share of the cost of funding the program. OCSE acts as the agent of the Internal Revenue Service in facilitating collection of overdue support from Federal income tax refunds. OCSE prepares this annual report to Congress based on States' reports of their activities.
State governments work directly with families through State Child Support Enforcement (CSE) agencies and/or their local counterparts. These agencies work closely with officials of family or domestic relations courts or use administrative processes in order to establish paternity, establish support orders, collect child support and distribute amounts collected. They also work with prosecuting attorneys and other law enforcement agencies to establish and enforce support orders. Each State CSE agency operates under a State plan approved by OCSE. State governments and, in some States, city, county, and/or local governments participate in funding the program.
The Child Support Enforcement program directly serves a variety of families. It serves families receiving assistance under the title IV-A Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, families receiving assistance under the title IV-E Foster Care program, families receiving assistance under the title XIX Medicaid program, families who formerly received assistance under the above programs, and all other families who apply for services.
Much of the child support collected for families in the AFDC program is used to repay assistance that they receive under those programs. Federal law requires applicants for and recipients of title IV-A AFDC, and Medicaid to assign their support rights to the State in order to receive assistance. The AFDC families receive up to the first $50 of any current child support collected each month, as well as any current support collected that is above the amount of assistance received.
For some families, the child support collection is enough to enable them to leave the AFDC rolls. Child support collected for families who are not receiving government assistance goes directly to those families to help them remain self-sufficient.
The Magnitude of the Nonsupport Problem
The latest available information confirms that child support is critical to the lives of America's children and families. The report, Child Support for Custodial Mothers and Fathers: 1992, reveals that millions of mothers and fathers are rearing children without the financial support of the other parent. This report is based on a survey that is cosponsored by the Census Bureau and the Office of Child Support Enforcement.
According to the report, only half of all families with one custodial parent and with a child support award received the full amount of child support due to them. "Can we say we are doing enough for children, when millions of parents don't know if they can put food on their child's table while absent parents evade their responsibility?" said Secretary Shalala. "Today's report clearly demonstrates that we need tough child support enforcement to insure children get the help they deserve. The Clinton Administration has a plan that would increase child support collections by $24 billion over 10 years resulting in $4.2 billion in welfare savings," added Secretary Shalala.
The Census Bureau reports that 11.5 million families are potentially eligible for child support because one parent lives elsewhere. Slightly more than half, 54% or 6.2 million families, had a child support order in place. Of those with orders, 5.3 million were due payment and 4 million received all or some payment. The total amount families received was $11.9 billion in child support leaving $5.8 billion uncollected of the $17.7 billion due in 1991. These numbers reflect only the amount of child support owed for custodial parents who had child support orders.
This is the first Census report on child support to present information on the growing number of custodial fathers. In 1991, 14 percent, or 1.6 million one custodial parent families, were headed by fathers. More than half of custodial fathers had no child support awards. Of those with awards and payment due, about two-thirds received some payment. More than half of custodial mothers have child support awards and about three-fourths received some payment.
Social Indicators Chart Future Challenges
The child support program can be viewed in the context of general social indictors. There are indicators that can be used both to chart changes across the nation and to monitor overall progress. While the child support enforcement program can affect these indicators, many other external factors also influence them significantly. Nevertheless, only when these factors begin to show improvement can Federal, State and local governments truly claim success.
Today, the needs of children and families are more complex and urgent than ever before. Too many children live in poverty. Too many children are not supported, emotionally or financially, by both their parents. The challenges are great, but the risks of not achieving our goals are even greater. Strong and healthy children and families improve the quality of life for us all.
The American family has undergone dramatic structural change in the last two decades. A steady increase in the incidence of out-of-wedlock births and high rates of divorce are denying children the traditional support of a two-parent family.
The numbers show that nearly one of every four children now lives in a single-parent home and, over time, about half of all children are likely to spend some time in a single-parent home. Child support is a critical component for ensuring economic stability for millions of single-parent families. While many single parents can and do raise their children well on their own, the financial burden of serving as the family's sole provider too often puts the children at risk of living in poverty. A better job of assuring that all children receive support from both of their parents can be done.
During fiscal year 1995, State CSE agencies were able to:
- Establish paternity for 903,000 children, an increase of 77 percent since fiscal year 1992*;
- Establish 1,051,336 support orders;
- Locate 4,950,112 parents, their employers, income or assets; and
- Collect a record $10.8 billion on behalf of children,a 36 percent increase from fiscal year 1992 child support collections
*OCSE estimates that, nationally, 903,000 paternities were established by child support enforcement agencies during the 1995 fiscal year. This takes account of both the 659,373 paternities reported to OCSE by State child agencies, as well as in-hospital acknowledgements (for States who voluntarily furnished such data). In-hospital numbers include an unknown number of acknowledgements for children in the IV-D caseload.
This report is organized to focus on the constructive steps taken in FY 1995 to serve children better. The CSE program concentrated major efforts in FY 1995 on consulting with State and regional staff in developing a national strategic plan, on reaffirming the government's role as a model employer and on building renewed and improved partnerships with other stakeholders in the child support system. The essence of our partnerships will be a shared strategic vision, joint planning to achieve that vision, and collective development of performance measures focused on outcomes that test our progress. In addition, FY 1995 was a banner year for State adoption and implementation of new hire reporting, license suspension, and interstate legislation, as well as the first meaningful reporting on the progress that States are making in establishing paternities through in-hospital voluntary acknowledgement programs.
In FY 1995, after a year of intensive work and negotiations, Federal and State child support enforcement authorities reached consensus on a national strategic plan as a pilot under the Government Performance and Results Act.
Signed into law by President Clinton in August, 1993, the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) reforms the way Federal agencies perform. The law requires programs to decide what they want to achieve and report on their performance. When implemented, GPRA will:
- improve the effectiveness of Federal programs by promoting a new focus on results, service quality, and public satisfaction;
- systematically report on progress in achieving program objectives as stated in agency strategic plans and annual performance plans; and
- initiate reform with a series of pilot projects in setting program goals, measuring program performance against these goals, and reporting publicly on their progress.
By September, 1997, all Federal agencies will develop comprehensive five-year strategic plans that include mission statements and long range goals and objectives the agency expects to achieve. As a "living" document, subject to periodic revision, the strategic plan must be flexible enough to accommodate new legislative mandates and other programmatic changes. At each stage of the document's development and throughout the life of the program, Federal agencies must seek input from the people they serve, from state partners, and from others directly concerned with the program. Agencies' annual performance plans will describe the results they expect to achieve in the coming fiscal year, along with the performance indicators they will use to measure results. Six months after the end of the fiscal year, agencies will report to the public, the President, and Congress on how well they did. Program results at the national level will be tied to budgeting.
Before implementing GPRA in all Federal programs, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is pilot testing GPRA's concepts in over 70 selected Federal agencies during fiscal years 1994-1996. All of the pilot programs are developing five-year strategic plans and annual performance plans by which they will be measured at the end of the pilot period. The Child Support Enforcement Program is one of only four in the Department of Health and Human Services designated by OMB to be a GPRA pilot.
Under the GPRA pilot project, Federal, State, and local child support or IV-D functions remain the same, but GPRA refocuses and restructures their work toward achieving specific and measurable program results. GPRA activities, conducted by Administration for Children and Families regional offices, and in State and local IV-D offices include strategic planning, performance planning, and special demonstrations. All GPRA activities are coordinated, integrated, and mutually supportive.
The national strategic plan for the CSE Program underwent several revisions with widespread, thoughtful input from IV-D agency officials, advocacy organizations, custodial and noncustodial parents, vendors to the child support community, and State and local support enforcement workers. Closure on the plan occurred February 28, 1995, during a facilitated national videoconference of IV-D directors and Federal CSE staff. At the final talks, 23 State CSE programs were represented, as nearly 100 Federal, State, and local staff took part in a telephone and videoconference.
The accomplishment of consensus on the five-year national strategic plan drew spontaneous applause from the group of 25 meeting in Washington, DC. Cecelia Burke, then President of the National Council of State Child Support Enforcement Administrators and Director of the IV-D program in Texas, acknowledged the event as a milestone in Federal and State relations. "For the first time ever," she said, "we have a strategic plan for the whole program. I feel we are moving into a new realm with OCSE, when you consider the magnitude of what we have just accomplished here."
In accepting the national strategic plan as a working blueprint for the CSE program over the next five years, all IV-D partners--Federal, State, and local--signaled their agreement on the goals and objectives for the program that focused on children having parentage established and financial and medical support from both parents. Leaders noted, however, that current legislative activity may bring substantial change to the program, therefore, the strategic plan is seen as a "living document," flexible with regard to local issues, though still national in scope and open to revision as required by events.
For FY 1995, OCSE's two measures of successful program results, nationwide, are the total number of paternities established and total child support dollars collected.
Executive Order 12953 signed by President Clinton on February 27, 1995, established the executive branch of the Federal government, through its civilian employees and uniformed services, as a "model employer" in promoting and facilitating the establishment and enforcement of child support. At the signing, President Clinton described the executive order as "another major step in our efforts to bring the Federal government in line with the basic values of ordinary Americans."
The executive order requires all Federal agencies and uniformed services to cooperate fully in efforts to establish paternity and child support orders and to enforce the collection of child and medical support in all situations where such actions may be required. The order also requires agencies to provide information to their personnel concerning the services that are available to them and to ensure that their children are provided the support to which they are legally entitled.
To implement this order,
- Every Federal agency must review its procedures for wage withholding, and implementing regulations, to ensure that it is in full compliance with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. 659. Every agency shall endeavor, to the extent feasible, to process wage withholding actions consistent with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. 666(b).
- Beginning no later than July 1, 1995, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall publish annually in the Federal Register the list of agents (and their addresses) designated to receive service of withholding notices for Federal employees.
- Every Federal agency shall assist in the service of legal process in civil actions pursuant to orders of State courts to establish paternity and establish or enforce a support obligation by making Federal employees and members of the uniformed services stationed outside the United States available for the service of process.
- Every Federal agency shall cooperate with the Federal Parent Locator Service by providing complete, timely, and accurate information to assist in locating noncustodial parents and their employers.
- The master file of delinquent obligors that each State child support enforcement (CSE) agency submits to the Internal Revenue Service for the purpose of Federal income tax refund offset shall be matched at least annually with the payroll or personnel files of Federal agencies to determine if there are any Federal employees with child support delinquencies. The list matches shall be forwarded to the appropriate State CSE agency to determine, in each instance, whether wage withholding or other enforcement action is appropriate.
- All Federal agencies shall advise current and prospective employees of services authorized under title IV-D of the Social Security Act that are available through the States.
The Office of Child Support Enforcement has worked to promote implementation of the order. In April 1995, OCSE and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) jointly hosted a conference attended by over 100 Federal agencies to facilitate implementation of the EO. Bruce Reed, the Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, provided the keynote speech, "Leading by Example: The Federal Government’s Commitment to Improving Child Support Enforcement in the Federal Workforce." OCSE conducted a training workshop for Federal, State, and local staff on the EO at the 5th Annual Training Conference and at the National Child Support Establishment Association (NCSEA) conference and developed an informational video and flyer, "Child Support Information for Federal Employees." In addition, OCSE assigned a staff person to serve as coordinator for the EO and on three occasions OCSE developed messages informing all HHS employees of their obligations under the EO.
Over the past twenty years, the Child Support Enforcement Program has matured into a public service that puts children first. The record shows continuing program improvements that have earned the program bipartisan support and produced high expectations for the future.
In 1995, the Child Support Enforcement Program celebrated 20 years of existence. In proclaiming August National Child Support Awareness Month, President Clinton stated, "This program has been instrumental in giving hope and support to American’s children while fostering strong families and responsible parenting." (See A Proclamation in the preface.)
Secretary Shalala Salutes Child Support Workers
Speaking on July 12th to nearly 500 child support professionals from across the country at a luncheon celebrating the Child Support Enforcement Program's 20th anniversary, HHS Secretary Donna Shalala paid tribute to OCSE's State and local partners. "You know child support in America," she said to those she called "the real frontline troops."
"You know the needs of our children. Every day you live and breathe the needs of families for whom the prompt and full payment of child support becomes an issue of survival. You see the anguished faces of parents fighting to go it alone to stay just above the poverty line. You see the confusion, the bewilderment of young children caught in emotional and financial squeeze plays. You know firsthand that child support is about money--for clothing, food, utility bills, day care, school field trips. But you also know that child support is about much more than money. It's about engagement and involvement in a child's life, emotional support, love, and understanding. It's about both parents being a part of a child's life."
The Honorable Russell B. Long, former Louisiana Senator and the legislative force behind the pivotal 1975 child support enforcement law, also addressed the gathering. Senator Long, warmly received by an audience that included many with keen memories of his contributions, recalled some of the legislative debate that resulted in the new law and a national Child Support Enforcement Program. "I never dreamed," he said, "our efforts would bear fruit of the magnitude I see today."
OCSE Deputy Director David Gray Ross acknowledged the achievements of his predecessors, many of whom were in the audience, and thanked all of the participants for providing hope and support to America's children since 1975. In addition to the remarks of Secretary Shalala, Senator Long, and Deputy Director Ross, congratulatory messages from President Clinton (see letter on the following page) and former President Gerald Ford were read to the assembled guests. Former President Ford wrote, "...[The Child Support Enforcement Program] is more than the mere savings of welfare dollars. There are now untold numbers of children who have the emotional, as well as financial, support of both parents because...of your efforts and the efforts of those who preceded you."
The Child Support Enforcement Program is one public service that is clearly focused on results. The program's performance makes a significant difference in children’s lives by locating parents, by establishing paternity and support obligations, and by enforcing those obligations. Thus, the program's performance can be measured and used to track progress toward our goal of assuring that, whenever possible, all children are supported by both parents. As shown below, there is evidence of substantial progress in child support enforcement during the last 20 years.
In 1976, the Child Support Enforcement Program collected and distributed $693 million in payments. In 1995, the program helped to collect and distribute $10.8 billion in child support, an increase of 1,458 percent since the program began. Administrative expenditures, the cost of doing business, also increased over the same period of time, though at a lesser rate.
The average yearly increase in distributed collections between 1976 and 1984 was $211 million. After substantial changes made to the program by the 1984 Amendments to the Social Security Act and the 1988 Family Support Act, yearly increases in collections between 1985 and 1994 jumped to more than $749 million. In 1995, the $10.8 billion in child support collections exceeded the estimate in the President's FY 1995 Budget.
The total IV-D child support caseload grew by 867 percent between 1976 and 1995 from 2.1 to 20.1 million. The average increase in caseload was 740,000 per year through 1984 and 1.1 million per year from 1985 to 1995.
Cases with collections grew at a rate of 581 percent between 1976 and 1995. The yearly average increase in cases with collections was 66,000 cases per year through 1984 and 237,000 per year from 1985 to 1995. The number of absent parents located (including address, employer, assets, or other sources of income) grew at an overall rate of 1,830 percent between 1976 and 1995. The average yearly increase was 77,000 per year through 1984 and 370,000 per year from 1985 to 1995.
Paternity establishments had the largest increase over the years--2,658 percent between 1976 and 1995. The average increase in paternities established was 24,000 per year through 1984, and 40,000 per year from 1985 to 1995. This is significant because the number of out-of-wedlock births and single-parent households continue to increase.
While these and many other accomplishments of the child support program are noteworthy, progress in some other areas has been slow. Non-AFDC collections increased by 1,902 percent since 1976; however , AFDC collections have increased at a much slower rate--just over 840 percent during the same time period. In addition, the percent of AFDC payments recovered through child support collections has increased by only 3 percentage points over the last five years and cost effectiveness has most recently, declined in large measure because of capital investment for automated information management systems. Along with the celebration of the many accomplishments of the Child Support Program comes the knowledge that there is still has a long way to go in assuring adequate support for all children.
In FY 1995, the child support community worked together to build renewed and improved partnerships within the child support system. State and Federal staff worked together to implement paternity acknowledgement programs in hospital and birthing centers and to help close the interstate loophole that has long thwarted effective enforcement by continuing to implement the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement worked closely with the Department of Justice to assure that criminal nonsupport charges are filed in the most egregious cases. Federal staff also worked with the States and regions to demonstrate the essential principles of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, which is aimed at overall program improvement.
States continued to implement the provisions of OBRA '93 during FY 1995, including establishing voluntary paternity acknowledgement programs at birthing centers and any hospital that provides obstetric services. The Denver Division of Child Support submitted its final report on the OCSE sponsored demonstration project on in-hospital paternity in September of 1995. The last report, "The Child Support Improvement Project: Paternity Establishment," states that in-hospital paternity interventions can produce dramatic increases in the voluntary acknowledgement rates. Following the introduction of in-hospital paternity overtures to unmarried parents in four Denver hospitals in 1993 and 1994, voluntary acknowledgement rates increased from 13 to 17 percent.
Thirty-one States voluntarily to OCSE reported statistics on the number of in-hospital paternity acknowledgements signed in FY 1995. As the following table shows, more than 200,000 paternities were established through the in-hospital paternity acknowledgement program in just these States.
Interstate cases, where the custodial parent and child(ren) live in one State and the noncustodial parent resides in another State, are some of the most difficult and problematic cases, requiring communication and cooperation between States. Interstate processing is governed largely by State law. Until recently, all States had some version of the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (URESA). The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) is a new model State law that was designed to replace URESA. In contrast to URESA, UIFSA provides for only one valid support order at a time and for enforcement without the possibility of an unwanted modification of the support order itself. It also contains broad long-arm jurisdiction and direct income withholding provisions.
The States, with help from OCSE, made great progress in implementing the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act in 1995. State and Federal staffs worked together to develop a new handbook, new forms and instructions, an Interstate Roster Referral Guide, and a training curriculum, all aimed at facilitating prompt and appropriate usage of UIFSA statutes by support enforcement practitioners throughout the country.
With input from an Interstate Work Group representing Federal, State, and local CSE staff, OCSE drafted and published the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act Handbook. The UIFSA Handbook is a comprehensive desk manual focusing on the new interstate child support enforcement remedy. The Handbook provides step-by-step procedural guidance to assist State and local CSE staff in the transition from URESA to UIFSA. The format was designed to make the handbook easy to update and to share; entire sections are easy to remove and replace.
Several changes were made to the Interstate Roster Guide (IRG) in order to accommodate UIFSA. The State IV-D Directors were asked to review their State’s current profile and make necessary changes. Minnesota’s training materials were selected as a prototype of the new UIFSA training and curriculum. Minnesota’s materials were modified so that other States can make them specific to their State.
Several jurisdictions volunteered to pilot the new UIFSA forms and instructions which can be sent to all States, whether they have enacted UIFSA or not. The jurisdictions volunteering to test the pilot UIFSA forms are Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan (Kent County), Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina (Scotland County), Oregon, Pennsylvania (Allegheny County), and Texas (San Antonio).
License Suspension and Revocation
License suspension and revocation as a child support enforcement remedy is considered to be a relatively new initiative, but it is an enforcement tool which has proven to be highly effective and is being adopted in many states and jurisdictions.
In March of 1995, based on State-supplied data, OCSE reported that the threat of license revocation had raised nearly $35 million in just nine States and the Clinton Administration estimated that enactment of proposed Federal license revocation legislation could increase total child support collections by as much as $2.5 billion over 10 years. As of March, 19 States had programs to revoke professional and commercial licenses, as well as drivers licenses. They were Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, and Virginia.
License suspension and revocation became effective in California in 1992. One success story tells of a case in which an attorney owed more that $140,000 in delinquent child support. The attorney had refused to pay until notified that he would no longer be licensed to practice law if he did not resolve his child support arrearage. He was allowed to continue practicing based on his compliance with an agreement to pay $2,008 per month to pay off the arrearage. Similar successful outcomes have been reported by the other States.
New Hire Reporting
Often, parents who successfully elude paying their child support change jobs frequently, work intermittently, or work in seasonal or cyclical employment. Clearly, using wage withholding and other enforcement methods with this group is difficult. If the obligor’s employment terminates before the notice to withhold income reaches the employer, or if the information obtained from the quarterly State Employment Security Agency reports is outdated, the IV-D agency may find itself several paces behind the obligor. As a result, there has been increasing interest in the immediate reporting of new hires by employers as an effective means of implementing wage withholding as quickly as possible after an obligor begins or changes employment. Additional States have introduced and enacted legislation to address new hire reporting, modeled after those which have found this procedure to be an effective enforcement remedy.
In 1995, Florida processed more than one million new hire reports. There were 49,751 matches of obligors with an annual obligation amount of $15.2 million. All employers report new hires in Massachusetts. For fiscal year 1995, Massachusetts estimated that new hire information yielded $15.4 million in increased child support collections and a cost savings of $21.6 million associated with AFDC case closure. Similar successes were reported in Connecticut, Iowa, Missouri, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington.
Representatives from 31 States and territories cut their Thanksgiving holidays short in 1994 to attend training, sponsored by the Department of Justice (DOJ), on the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992, a law establishing Federal criminal enforcement action for nonsupport in certain cases. Discussion centered on the practical application of CSE prosecution. The audience of 100 for the Criminal Enforcement of Child Support Seminar included representatives from State and county child support enforcement offices and ACF regional offices. They were joined by Assistant U.S. Attorneys and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Much of the seminar was devoted to the "nuts and bolts" of prosecuting a Federal criminal nonsupport case. Sessions focused on the specifics of evidence gathering, how to charge (grand jury indictment, complaint, or information), and where to file (state of residence for obligor or obligee).
On December 22, 1994, Attorney General Janet Reno, moved quickly to demonstrate DOJ's commitment to tough enforcement of the Federal criminal nonsupport law and announced that some 28 cases seeking almost $1 million in overdue payments had been filed all across the country. In addition, she promulgated a three-point plan aimed at parents who are in default. "We're not just talking about shirking a parental responsibility--we're talking about breaking the law," said Reno. "These 28 cases are only the beginning of our enforcement efforts." Her three-point plan features aggressive investigation and prosecution, effective Federal/State/local partnerships, and comprehensive training for prosecutors.
In 1995, 748 cases were referred to U.S. Attorneys. Forty-two cases resulted in convictions and courts ordered a total of $1,246,344 in restitution; only one case resulted in a not- guilty verdict. Forty more cases were dropped due to payment of child support obligations. Eighty-one other cases are under indictment or have been filed by information or complaint. The 1995 cases include the highly publicized case of Dr. Frank Bongiorno who was convicted in Massachusetts and sentenced to five-years' probation, ordered to pay $5,000 per month until his $220,000 obligation is paid, and required to spend 12 hours a day for 12 months in a correctional facility. This and other high profile cases are clearly conveying the intended message that child support obligations must be honored.
For most of FY 1995, State and local CSE programs and the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement have been practicing the essential principles of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA). Selected as an OMB pilot project under GPRA, the nation's child support program achieved consensus on a national strategic plan, is setting clear objectives and establishing performance indicators for those objectives, began collecting reliable data to measure their results, and focused on improving customer service. Approximately 30 States are participating voluntarily as GPRA demonstration projects. All the State GPRA demonstrations are working closely with regional offices and headquarters GPRA staff to set objectives, identify performance measures, produce valid baseline data, and measure and report results. Most of the GPRA demonstrations are also designed to increase both paternities and collections.
A summary of each of the State and Regional GPRA projects can be found in the Appendix. These States and localities volunteered to practice the GPRA principles. Their demonstrations are in various phases of implementation. Despite the interest and initial commitment of States, intervening events, such as workload pressure, change in key officials and resource adjustments, may delay program start-up and completion. However, the greatest benefit continues to be the forging of a true partnership between States, localities, and the Federal government.
In FY 1995, OCSE proposed regulations which removed obsolete provisions and made many technical changes to meet the objectives of President Clinton's regulatory reform initiative. OCSE also worked on preparations for implementing the proposed child support enforcement provisions featured in pending welfare reform bills. Other initiatives in FY 1995 involved outreach, development and dissemination of written materials, and technical assistance to promote best practices, particularly in the areas of Native American, military, and international child support cases.
President Clinton issued a memorandum March 4, 1995, to heads of Departments and Agencies announcing a government-wide Regulatory Reinvention Initiative to reduce or eliminate burdens on States, governmental agencies and the private sector. The initiative required agencies, by June 1, 1995, to conduct a page-by-page review of all regulations to eliminate or revise those that are outdated or otherwise in need of reform.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published on January 29, 1996, is OCSE’s initial response to this directive. In addition, the proposed rule reflects action to carry out two recent statutory changes. P.L. 104-35, enacted on October 12, 1995, extends the date by which States will have in effect, and approved by the Secretary, an operational automated data processing and information retrieval system meeting all requirements of Federal law from October 1, 1995 to October 1, 1997.
In addition, this proposed rule would amend Federal regulations governing procedures for making information available to consumer reporting agencies (CRAs). These provisions implement the requirements of section 212 of P.L. 103-432 which require States to adopt procedures for periodic reporting of information to CRAs, effective October 1, 1995. The Ted Weiss Act of 1992 (Pub. L. 102-537) amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act to require consumer credit reporting agencies to include in consumer reports information on overdue child support when provided by child support enforcement agencies, or received otherwise and verified by any local, State or Federal agency.
The Assistant Secretary for Children and Families conveyed the President's regulatory reform message at the annual meeting of the National Council of State Child Support Enforcement Administrators held May 8-11 in Austin, Texas. She spoke of the National Performance Review recommendations related to regulatory reform and the President's commitment to follow through on those recommendations. Of special relevance to the regulatory reinvention initiative were discussions of how national program performance measures would be used and recognition that efforts are needed to increase the level of participation/buy-in of some State partners.
Another outcome of the President's Initiative was a new session at the OCSE conference, "Making Welfare Reform Work," September 13 through 16, 1995, sponsored in cooperation with the American Bar Association. The conference consisted of a series of roundtables where State and Regional Office child support staff, advocates, and private citizens discussed the issues. The sessions on Regulation Reform included an introductory session giving general recommendations to determine when it is necessary to regulate and sessions on Regulatory Reform relating to Interstate Support, Paternity Establishment, Review and Adjustment, Administrative Procedures, and Enforcement.
In our analysis of existing regulations, we took a cautionary approach recognizing that significant legislation to overhaul the welfare system, including major reform to the child support enforcement program, was actively pending before the 104th Congress. Accordingly, numerous existing rules will potentially be affected. During 1995, we deferred recommending any changes in existing rules which may be impacted by enactment of an incipient legislative change. We anticipate working closely with our partners to identify additional regulations which should be reevaluated given the new direction of regulatory reinvention.
During FY 1995, welfare reform legislation was a major focus of activity in OCSE as child support enhancements continued to be a cornerstone of the major bills under consideration, including the Personal Responsibility Act of 1995 (the House bill) and the Work Opportunity Act of 1995 (the Senate bill).
Both of the leading welfare reform bills included child support provisions modeled on those successfully applied by selected States and first offered by the President in his welfare reform plan. Both bills include provisions for the establishment of Federal and State case registries for the improvement of location and enforcement services; requirements for new hire reporting; the establishment of uniform State laws; stricter cooperation requirements; changes to Federal reviews and funding incentives to better reward program improvements; requirements for making the Federal government a model employer for the establishment and enforcement of child support orders; and license revocation, passport restrictions, and other tough enforcement techniques. Overall, they provide for strengthened paternity establishment, tougher child support enforcement, and increased parental responsibility.
The magnitude of the nonsupport problem, as stated earlier, combined with the sometimes slow process of our current system, make a strong case for the faster improvement and the far-reaching reform that is embodied in welfare reform and child support legislation. These proposals will have a significant and immediate impact on the Child Support Enforcement program. OCSE therefore analyzed and monitored the various proposals as they made their way through the legislative process and began work in framing implementation issues. Reflecting the program's renewed commitment to partnership, critical information was provided to and elicited from key program stakeholders to complement these efforts.
Other Federal Initiatives
In FY 1995, the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement supported the development of special initiatives in child support programs, in particular, relating to active duty military personnel, services to Native Americans, and international enforcement. Approximately 30 video and teleconferences were conducted to consult with regional and State offices to identify issues, assess problem areas, and introduce contact persons to one another. Dialogue and working relationships were developed among CSE staff and professional associations, special interest groups, and other Federal agencies working in child support areas.
A series of papers were prepared for dissemination on some key emerging issues. These professional papers addressed an enhanced Federal role in international child support enforcement, guidance on dealing with Tribal governments, and overcoming problems for child support agencies when working with the uniformed services. Other articles intended for lay persons were published in the Child Support Report.
Technical assistance was provided by Federal staff through presentations at various conferences and workshops. In addition to military, international, and Native American cases, these presentations also reviewed other initiatives including license revocation and new hire reporting.
The Income Withholding Form Work Group, for example, continued its effort to develop a standardized form to use for collecting child support via income withholding. The Work Group completed the task of developing the form called the Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child. Support. Eleven States: Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, and the District of Columbia are pilot testing the Order/Notice. Employers are interested in using the Order/Notice to eliminate the multiplicity of forms now used to collect child support through income withholding. Several local employers and the Department of Defense are accepting the Order/Notice during the testing period which is scheduled to end in February 1996.
In FY 1995, the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement took the lead in developing new performance measures that focus on outcomes and on developing the data and perspective needed to fully implement such measures.
On February 28, 1995, OCSE sponsored a national videoconference to provide a forum for IV-D directors to discuss strategic planning and other issues. One important issue was the need to build stronger coalitions among national, State, and local organizations that can bring their weight to bear on child support enforcement efforts. The discussion of coalition building resulted in a workgroup of State and Federal CSE staff being formed to develop performance measures for the entire CSE program, that focus on the goals and objectives developed in the strategic plan.
The workgroup included members from twenty States, three local jurisdictions, five regional offices, and several different central office components. On March 16 and 17, 1995, the workgroup of CSE partners had its first meeting in Alexandria, Virginia to flow logically from the goals and objectives stated in the national strategic plan. The first draft of the performance measures included indicators for each objective as well as equations for measuring those indicators. For example, goal 1 of the strategic plan is "All Children Have Parentage Established." The objective for this goal is "To Increase Establishment of Paternities, Particularly Those Established within One Year of Birth." During the March meeting, five paternity indicators ( and accompanying equations) were proposed. These ranged from counting paternity acknowledgments in the IV-D caseload to measuring the total percentage of live births in a State with the paternity issue resolved.
Following the March meeting, the measures that had been developed were circulated to members of the workgroup, as well as to all of the State IV-D directors, for their review and comments. Regional discussions about the measures were then held with participating States and Federal staff in order to elicit their comments, questions, and criticisms. The group recognized that more work, such as work on definitions and data gathering requirements needs to refine these measures.
The group's effort was presented to IV-D directors at their annual meeting in May in Austin, Texas. At that meeting, feedback from the regional telephone calls was discussed and recommendations were made about how to adjust measures that had not been acceptable to many people. Finally, all of the measures were distributed again to all State IV-D directors during September.
In FY 1995, OCSE established the National Child Support Enforcement Training Work Group. Members represent all facets of the CSE community. The Work Group's mission is to develop a national strategy for meeting diverse training needs in order to improve CSE program results and customer services at the Federal, State, and local levels. The Work Group serves as a medium to share ideas, curriculum, and technology that can be implemented in CSE training.
OCSE provided training in various forums to a wide audience of diversified target groups in FY 1995. In addition to workshops at both the National Child Support Enforcement Association's and the Eastern Regional Interstate Child Support Association's annual training conferences, CSE staff designed and delivered numerous training events for groups with specialized needs.
The Fifth National CSE Training Conference on July 10-12, 1995, was attended by over 300 State and local CSE trainers and practitioners. The conference focused on three major areas: GPRA; new training technology; and information on best practices in the areas of paternity establishment, interstate case processing, and enforcement.
A GPRA overview was provided to Conference participants and many workshops were dedicated to GPRA. One workshop focused on the development of the National Child Support Enforcement Strategic Plan under GPRA and other workshops introduced tools useful in developing performance measures. State-of-the-art training technology was highlighted through a satellite link with the Southwest Regional Support Enforcement Association conference in New Mexico and an interactive computer-based training (CBT) that can be used in CSE training.
OCSE co-sponsored a regional interstate/self-employed conference with the National Child Support Enforcement Association. OCSE's National Training Center assisted in coordinating workshops on topics such as processing child support cases, using the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, modification in the interstate arena, paternity establishment, interstate income withholding, dealing with the self-employed, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 1099 Project.
OCSE's National Training Center (NTC) staff provided training that focused on UIFSA at the 22nd National Conference on Juvenile Justice, jointly sponsored by the National District Attorneys' Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. In addition, NTC staff provided UIFSA training at each of the three judicial training sessions held this year by the Judicial Institute of Maryland. NTC provided logistical support and training expertise for two Criminal Nonsupport Seminars held in San Diego, California. The seminars were held for DOJ attorneys and CSE program staff. NTC provided CSE training for DC area attorneys during the "Child Support Enforcement in the Nineties" seminar, presented by the Domestic Relations Committee of the Family Law Section of the District of Columbia Bar. In partnership with the DC Office of Paternity and Child Support Enforcement, NTC provided CSE training for the "Women with HOPE" meeting at the Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law. Women with HOPE are survivors of domestic violence.
OCSE conducted two Training of Trainers courses in FY 1995. The first delivery was in March and was attended by 20 CSE trainers representing 13 States and the District of Columbia. The second delivery was completed for 19 trainers representing the State Of Virginia's CSE program. The training provided instruction in curriculum design, development, delivery, and evaluation. The courses are instrumental because of the multiplier effect: that is, the State trainers return to their jurisdictions and educate other CSE program staff.
The Washington D.C. Metro Project is a collaboration of child support enforcement operational units of the local governments from the metropolitan Washington D.C. area. Cross-jurisdictional functional teams address barriers in processing local interstate child support cases. Participating in the project are IV-D officials as well as sheriffs and court officials. OCSE developed and conducted a training workshop for participants involved in the Metro Project in March in Washington, DC with over 50 participants representing the three jurisdictions. The day of training covered many topics including Criminal Nonsupport, Parent Locate Services, the Enumeration Verification System, IRS Project 1099, IRS Full Collection, Child Support Enforcement Network (CSENet), and the Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support. The training session was conducted in a manner that encouraged participants to ask questions relevant to their specific job duties.
OCSE provided training at six State CSE Training Conferences this year. Training was provided on a variety of topics, including UIFSA, the Federal Criminal Nonsupport remedy of the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992, innovative enforcement techniques, including IRS Project 1099 and IRS Full collections; and establishing and enforcing child support obligations against members of the military. OCSE appeared at training conferences in the States of Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Other State training events that were not in a conference setting were conducted as well. OCSE staff served on the Administration for Children and Families' training team and co-trained three Self-Sufficiency workshops for AFDC, Child Support Enforcement, and JOBS employees. Workshops were conducted in West Virginia, Los Angeles, and DC. "Creating Excellence in the Work Place," a one-day course for employees of the Office of Paternity and Child Support Enforcement in the District of Columbia, focused on self-motivation, team building, and customer service.
The Division of Consumer Services (DCS) was established with OCSE in FY 1995 to improve public understanding of and access to the child support enforcement program. DCS provides the focal point for consumer relations, including responding to public inquiries. The Division develops and publishes informational materials and operates the National Reference Center. It also publishes the OCSE flagship publication, Child Support Report.
In its daily work, the Public Inquiries Branch of DCS responds to people in need of assistance who turned to the Federal government for help. Some were frustrated by what they considered to be unfair or ineffective treatment; all wrote to the President, Congress, or directly to OCSE for assistance. Public Inquiries responded to thousands of pieces of correspondence and thousands of telephone calls from the public and the media. Case assistance was provided on Congressional inquiries and in other instances, as needed.
The National Reference Center responded to over 3,600 individual requests for OCSE publications in 1995. Over 55,400 publications were distributed. In addition, the Public Inquiries staff revised and updated the Handbook on Child Support Enforcement.
As the most requested OCSE publication , each year, over 10,000 copies of the Handbook are distributed to the general public, advocates, and others. In addition to the Handbook, the publication "Collecting Child Support" was translated into Spanish and Vietnamese and distributed through the ACF regional offices.
To inform the public of current topics of interest in child support enforcement, OCSE developed a number of news releases in 1995. These releases included topics such as In-Hospital Paternity Establishment, Tax Offset, License Revocation, the Government Performance and Results Act, and notification of the release of the Annual Report to Congress, and the Census Bureau’s Child Support Supplement to the Current Population Survey.
In cooperation with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Division of Consumer Services facilitated the implementation of Executive Order 12953 (EO) which establishes the Federal government as a "model employer" in promoting the establishment and enforcement of child support. OCSE produced a video tape concerning child support and the Executive Order for distribution to all Federal agencies and participated in a presentation on Child Support and the EO at OPM's annual care giver's fair. Messages informing Department of Health and Human Services and other Federal employees of the Executive Order and urging those who owe child support to remain current in their payments were prepared and included on pay stubs. In addition, printed materials on Child Support and the EO were developed for Federal employees.
In 1995, OCSE went on-line developing and maintaining an Internet Homepage. With its powerful feedback capabilities, hundreds of public inquiries were received and answered through the Homepage.
A pilot test in Nebraska and Iowa established the value of using Electronic Funds Transfer and Electronic Data Interchange (EFT/EDI) in the transmission of child support withheld from wages by employers to support enforcement agencies. To encourage States' use of EFT/EDI, regulations implementing the Family Support Act of 1988 were developed to require that comprehensive child support enforcement automated systems be able to accept withholdings and send and receive interstate child support collections using EFT/EDI.
Washington State has been a leader in the application of EFT/EDI. Many other States have turned to Washington for help in their initial experiences--particularly with respect to the transfer of interstate child support collections. Colorado has a centralized Family Support Registry, which supports and encourages the use of EFT. Colorado also uses EFT to transfer payments to custodial parents' bank accounts. Piloting Federal agencies' use of EFT/EDI in transferring collections to States will be a goal for FY 1996.
The Family Support Act of 1988 (FSA) mandated that all States implement a statewide, comprehensive automated child support enforcement system which meets OCSE certification requirements by October 1, 1995. However, virtually all States expressed concern that there was insufficient time to adequately test, implement, and convert cases to the new automated systems before the October 1, 1995 statutory deadline. Congress, responding to the States and with the Administration's support, enacted Public Law 104-35, which extended by two years the deadline for States having an operational automated data processing and information retrieval system for child support enforcement.
Status of the States’ IV-D Automated System
States made progress in developing and implementing automated systems that will support the State’s requirements as specified in the FSA. At the end of FY 1995, fifteen States had operational statewide automated systems designed to meet FSA requirements. Another eleven States, while not yet operational statewide, had new application systems in pilot testing. Thirteen States had a statewide system being enhanced to meet FSA standards and ten States had older systems that were operational statewide that will be replaced with newer systems that meet FSA standards. Another five States did not have a current statewide system and had not yet piloted their new automated systems. According to revised schedules which were submitted after Congress extended the deadline, States implementation efforts are fairly evenly spaced over the next two years.
Although many States have completed or are near completion of their automated systems, the additional time granted by Congress is enabling them to address issues identified during testing. During FY 1995, ACF conducted eighteen functional reviews of States’ automated CSE systems. Six reviews were conducted of systems that were statewide, eight reviews were conducted of systems that were in pilot, and four on-site reviews were conducted of the functionality of the application systems after acceptance testing but before pilot. ACF also provided on-site technical assistance to nine States whose automated systems were only partially completed.
The on-site certification reviews of States’ automated child support enforcement systems involved ACF teams comprised of regional and central office staff from the program, policy, fiscal, and systems areas. To focus their efforts better during the on-site review, these ACF teams spent over a month prior to the on-site review analyzing and discussing the State’s documentation of their CSE application system, including test results of how the system distributed child support payments in 54 different test scenarios. Screen prints, user and training manuals, and other systems documentation were also reviewed prior to the on-site visit to enable the team to focus their time on actual demonstrations of system functionality and interviews with users in field offices.
|Level 2 Certification: Statewide Operation||Level 1 Certification: Pilot Testing||Functional||Technical Assistance|
Level II certification means a review was conducted on a automated system that is operational and statewide. Level I reviews are optional and conducted after a State has piloted the system and live data can be reviewed. Functional reviews are also optional and often done at the request of a State who has finished its application development but wants a review of the functionality before piloting. On-site technical assistance is provided to States whose automated systems are not complete.
Research sponsored by the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement broke new ground in FY 1995. Two research efforts concentrated on completing evaluation of access and visitation demonstrations for noncustodial parents and on funding GPRA demonstrations. Federal audits and oversight of State programs were also reformed to streamline the process and focus on results.
Child Access Demonstrations: Effects of Mediation on Visitation
One serious problem children face after their parents divorce or separate is that contact with the noncustodial parent, usually the father, drops off significantly. The National Survey of Children and the National Survey of Families and Households indicate that only one-sixth of all noncustodial fathers (divorced or unwed) visit their children weekly or more frequently; nearly one-third to one-half see their children just once a year or less often.
Advocates for noncustodial parents assert the lack of visitation is caused by interference or perceived interference by the custodial parent. Fathers with arrangements for shared parenting tend to pay child support with more regularity than fathers who have no such arrangements. The Current Population Survey (1989) reported that fathers with joint custody arrangements paid the full amount of child support due in 90 percent of the cases, while fathers with visitation agreements paid in full 79 percent of the time. But those with neither joint custody nor visitation agreements paid in full only 45 percent of the time. However, it is difficult based on this data to establish a cause and effect relationship between visitation/access rights and payment of child support.
In an effort to address these and other issues, the Family Support Act of 1988 authorized a limited number of grants to States for demonstration projects to develop, improve, or expand activities designed to increase compliance with the child access provisions of court orders. The initial ("Wave I") projects began in 1990 in Florida (Leon County, Second Judicial District); Idaho (Boise, Fourth Judicial District); and Indiana (Lake County and Marion County). In 1991, other projects ("Wave II") were funded in Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, and Massachusetts. The findings from these projects, as analyzed under an evaluation contract with OCSE by Policy Studies Inc. and the Center for Policy Research, will be available in 1996.
Funded GPRA Demonstrations
On March 8, 1995, OCSE announced the availability of research funds for child support performance measurement projects (cooperative agreements) to apply the concepts of the Government Performance and Results Act. Funded under the authority of Section 1115 of the Social Security Act, the cooperative agreement approach calls for substantial involvement of Federal staff. Six projects, totaling over $606,000, were selected.
Arizona is piloting the Social Security Number identification system, Enumeration Verification System (EVS). It is a variant of the other pilots in that data will be sent to OCSE in the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) format and will be returned in EVS format. The State proposes to obtain a mini-computer to do multidimensional analyses of operational statistics. This will allow the State to perform on-going analyses leading to continual operational improvements. The SSN identification system is expected to increase the number of parents located, increase paternity and order establishments, and increase collections. The State anticipates realizing gains in all areas of program operations and performance measurement.
Delaware is developing a self-contained, integrated unit co-located with AFDC (at the Northeast State Service Center in Wilmington) utilizing high-level, well-trained professional staff versed in all aspects of functions necessary to establish child support orders in AFDC cases. The unit will utilize innovative approaches, automation, technology, and state-of-the-art remedies to expedite establishment of support orders on behalf of AFDC mothers. Delaware is in the process of changing from a court-based to an administrative paternity establishment process. For AFDC cases, the project expects to increase paternity and support orders established; increase collections; improve the cost-effectiveness ratio; and improve processing time.
To improve incentives for cost-beneficial performance, Michigan proposed changing the contracting process with prosecuting attorneys and Friends of the Cort to base reimbursement on results rather than activities performed. In the first year, volunteer prosecuting attorneys will have contracts based on performance. Results from this experimental effort will be compared to the performance of the prosecutors who do not volunteer (control sites). In subsequent years, more prosecutors will be required to have contracts based on performance until all 83 counties are under the performance based contracts. The goal is to increase the number of orders and paternities established in a more cost-efficient manner. Each enforcement and establishment activity will be weighted to the degree of difficulty and performance will be based on the results of these weighted activities.
In Minnesota, Hennepin County (Minneapolis) will measure program performance based on the outcomes for paternity establishment, review and adjustment of child support orders, medical support enforcement, private investigative contracts, and an employment program for noncustodial parents. The County has recently initiated a five year strategic planning process and has incorporated performance measurement and evaluation as an essential component of the strategic plan. Hennepin County plans to increase the rate of paternity establishment, ensure the appropriateness of ordered amounts, improve medical support enforcement and the payment of medical support by third-party liability carriers, improve the locate function, and increase collections.
Virginia's project is to improve the interface between IV-A and IV-D agencies by building a new communication system and electronic linkages between all State and local service programs. Options to be considered include cross-training of IV-A/IV-D personnel, outstationing of IV-D workers, use of video-conferencing between staffs and between client and agency, and a IV-D "circuit rider" in the smaller, more rural counties. These options will be tried in concert with other administrative improvements. In this project, the information exchanged between IV-A and IV-D about a custodial parent is expected to be more timely and complete, thus enhancing the efficiency of both agencies. It is expected workable AFDC child support cases will be increased; there will be an increase in the number of paternities and support orders established in such cases; collections on behalf of AFDC recipients will increase; and customer satisfaction will be improved.
Wyoming plans to restructure, establishing district enforcement offices which may be run by county CSE offices or be contracted out to private vendors. The State will also try to establish a district and State training program which will support the restructuring. Restructuring is expected to bring enforcement functions closer to the local level, thereby facilitating and improving collections. The establishment of a strategic planning process will allow the State to establish short and long-term goals, and strategies for achieving them.
The Federal government provides a computerized national network operated by OCSE to provide States access to information on a noncustodial parent's location, earnings, assets, and employer's address. The key components of this network are described below.
Parent Locator Service
The Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) provides Social Security Numbers (SSNs), addresses, and employer and wage information to State and local CSE agencies to establish and enforce child support orders. The FPLS utilizes the most current information available from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Social Security Administration (SSA), National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Selective Service System (SSS), and State Employment Security Agencies (SESA).
During FY 1995, the FPLS processed approximately 4.2 million requests for information from State and local CSE agencies. The computer matches with DOD, SSA, and NPRC were increased to weekly instead of biweekly. Since DOD receives data from other agencies, the FPLS match with DOD was expanded to receive additional payroll data from the Office of Personnel Management, the Executive Office of the President, and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The FPLS is testing a new automated match with SSA to identify SSNs.
FPLS/State Employment Security Agencies (SESA) Crossmatches
The FPLS obtains employer addresses and wage and unemployment compensation data from the SESAs. This information is extremely useful in assisting CSE agencies in processing cases where the custodial parent and children reside in one State and the noncustodial parent lives or works in another State. The employment data are updated quarterly by employers reporting to their State employment security agency and the unemployment data are updated continually from State unemployment compensation payment records. In FY 1995, approximately 3.1 million FPLS cases were submitted for crossmatching with the data from the SESAs.
Enumeration Verification System
The Enumeration Verification System (EVS) is a multi-purpose SSN verification system. While States may use the FPLS to identify SSNs for noncustodial parents, the EVS verifies and corrects SSNs and identifies multiple SSNs. The EVS is comprised of two systems. One system provides a State with multiple SSNs for an individual who has been legally issued more than one SSN. The second system provides a corrected SSN in cases where a transposition of digits has occurred in the SSN that a State already has for an individual. In FY 1995, 3.8 million SSNs were submitted to EVS; over 180,000 SSNs were corrected and over 25,800 multiple SSNs were identified.
Income Tax Refund Offset
OCSE acts as an intermediary between the States and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the operation of the Federal Income Tax Refund Offset program for the collection of past-due child support. In FY 1995, Federal income tax refund offset resulted in nationwide collections of over $803 million, an increase of 17.2 percent over FY 1994. A sum of $576 million was offset on behalf of families receiving public assistance and $227 million was offset on behalf of non-AFDC families. The IRS charged an administrative fee of $7.83 per offset in FY 1995.
The SSN verification system, EVS, was incorporated into the Federal Income Tax Refund Offset Program. Each year a significant number of no-match cases fall out of the offset program because of invalid SSNs; these SSNs were processed through EVS. In processing year 1994, over 818,000 tax refund offset cases were submitted through the EVS system, allowing OCSE to return over 99,700 corrected SSNs to the participating States. Of these, 72,300 were resubmitted in FY 1995 to the tax refund offset program, resulting in 25,731 offsets and additional income tax refund offset collections of over $22.9 million in past due child support.
IRS Full Collection Process
When States' attempts to recover delinquent child support have been unsuccessful, the law provides State CSE agencies with a collection mechanism referred to as the "Full Collection Process." This mechanism is used only when there is a good chance that the IRS can make a collection and only for cases in which a child support obligation is at least three months delinquent and the amount owed is at least $750.
In FY 1994, OCSE and the IRS collaborated on a Full Collection pilot project to find ways to improve the process. OCSE worked with 12 States and submitted 698 full collection cases to the IRS. Many of the cases submitted during the pilot are still active and both OCSE and the IRS are tracking their progress. In FY 1995, approximately $65,000 was collected as a result of the pilot. Collections continue to rise. More detailed analysis of the pilot will be available in late 1996.
Since October 1984, OCSE has participated in Project 1099 which provides State CSE agencies access to all of the earned and unearned income information reported to IRS by employers and financial institutions. The Project 1099 information is used to locate noncustodial parents and to verify income and employment, which is essential to establishing and enforcing child support obligations.
In addition to helping locate the additional non-wage income and assets of regular wage earning obligors, the Project 1099 information is also used to facilitate States' efforts to locate income and asset sources of self-employed and non-wage earning obligors and to facilitate States' efforts to review and modify child support orders.
In FY 1995, OCSE submitted over 3.9 million cases to the IRS under Project 1099 and over 2.5 million cases were matched for a 65 percent match rate. This high volume of cases and high match rate shows the enormous potential of this asset identification tool and the reason States are encouraged to use Project 1099 information to the maximum extent possible.
In FY 1995, final regulations were issued to streamline the audit process, to place a greater focus on outcomes, and to specify how the OCSE audits will evaluate compliance with the requirements set forth in the law and regulations, including requirements resulting from the Family Support Act of 1988 and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993.
OCSE audits State Child Support Enforcement programs to ensure that they meet Federal requirements. Federal law specifies that a State that has been audited and found not to be in substantial compliance is subject to a financial penalty. The penalty may be held in abeyance for up to one year to allow a State the opportunity to implement corrective actions to remedy the program deficiency. At the end of the corrective action period, a follow-up audit is conducted. If the follow-up audit shows that the deficiency has been corrected, the penalty is rescinded.
If it is determined that the State remains out of compliance with Federal requirements, a graduated penalty, as provided by law, is assessed. The penalty ranges from 1 to 5 percent of the total payments made to the State by the Federal government for the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. The actual amount of the penalty depends on the severity and duration of the deficiency. If a State is under penalty, a comprehensive audit is conducted annually until previously cited deficiencies are corrected.
The new rule revises the evaluation criteria used to determine substantial compliance and focuses on requirements in effect prior to the Family Support Act that the States often had not substantially complied with in the past. It also reflects the new provisions of the Family Support Act of 1988, including those governing standards for program operations, guidelines for setting child support awards, immediate wage withholding, and review and adjustment of child support orders. The rule redefines substantial compliance to place a greater focus on performance, eliminating administrative or procedural criteria and focusing on service-related criteria. The rule is effective for audits conducted after December 23, 1994.
During FY 1995, OCSE continued its audit resolution process in conjunction with the ACF Regional Offices. The audit resolution process consists of tracking all non-penalty recommendations contained in audit reports issued by OCSE. The ACF Regional Offices determine whether each State is taking corrective actions to remedy the audit deficiencies. In future audits, follow-up work is conducted to determine whether the State’s actions have corrected the problems. The auditors are able to close the recommendations if no further action is required. However, if the corrective actions have failed to remedy the situations or if the State has failed to complete the corrective actions, the recommendations remain open and will be reviewed again in the next subsequent audit.
During FY 1995, the OCSE Division of Audit issued final reports to three States based on comprehensive Program Results/Performance Measurements audits of their programs covering various audit periods from 1992 through 1993. Two of these States had achieved substantial compliance with the Federal requirements. The remaining State did not achieve substantial compliance but a notice of substantial noncompliance informing the State of this will not be sent. The revised audit regulations significantly change the criteria used by OCSE to determine whether a State IV-D program is in substantial compliance with Federal requirements. Thus, OCSE will not take further action to enforce the audit penalty provisions under the old criteria.
Because of this revision, OCSE focused its audit process more towards evaluating the States' financial and statistical data reporting systems and related areas which will be used to measure States performance in the future. OCSE issued 11 Reporting System Review reports in 1995, as well as one Limited Cost review, and one Family Support Act review.
Additionally, OCSE issued a Transaction-Based Reimbursement review at the request of a State to evaluate their proposed method of cost allocation for circuit clerk salaries. OCSE also began performing Undistributed Collections reviews to evaluate the handling of these collections and determine the accuracy of undistributed collections amounts reported by States. Twelve States will be reviewed, and the results combined for issuance in a National report. In FY 1995, two States were issued these final reports. OCSE also resumed performing revised Program Results/Performance Measurements audits for purposes of management information and remedial action.
Deficiencies noted in the reporting system reviews issued in final in FY 1995 centered on the States' statistical reporting systems. Six States were determined to have unreliable statistical reporting systems, while the collection and expenditure systems were found to be reliable in most States reviewed. Minor improvements were, however, suggested for these reporting systems in all States reviewed.
During FY 1995, follow-up audit reports were issued to 10 States that had been sent notices of substantial noncompliance in prior years. Four of these States achieved substantial compliance with criteria on which they had previously failed. As a result, penalties were rescinded in these States. Because of revisions to audit regulations and the change of focus for audit periods beginning on or after December 23, 1994, 13 States were informed that OCSE would take no further action to enforce the audit penalty based on prior substantial noncompliance and that no follow-up review would be initiated.
The following series of charts and graphs with accompanying descriptions highlight selected program information for FY 1995 or show five year programmatic trends in the CSE program.
The data from which these figures were developed are from reports completed by individual State CSE agencies and aggregated by OCSE for the nation.
Individual State information is available in the State Box Scores and State Data Tables found in the appendices.
The total IV-D Child Support caseload is an average of the quarterly case counts of all noncustodial parents who are now or may eventually be obligated under law for the support of one or more dependent children. Nationally, the Child Support Enforcement program had 19.2 million cases in FY 1995, an increase of 3 percent over fiscal year 1994 and 43 percent since FY 1991. Cases where families were referred to the Child Support agency because they are receiving AFDC and title IV-E Foster Care are classified as AFDC/FC cases; cases where the custodial parents applied for child support enforcement services or are receiving Medicaid but not AFDC services are called non-AFDC cases. During the five-year period from 1991 to 1995, the non-AFDC portion of the caseload increased by 63 percent, while the AFDC and AFDC Arrears caseload increased by 30 percent.
The establishment of a child's paternity is a prerequisite for establishing an order for child support. A record 659,373* children had their paternity established by the child support program in FY 1995. This represents an increase of over 16 percent over the previous year and a cumulative 40 percent increase over the last five years.
The legal establishment of an order to pay child support is a prerequisite to collecting child support. In FY 1995, the Child Support Enforcement program established over 1 million support orders for the third year in a row. The number of child support orders established have increased by more than 28 percent over the last five years.
States report the number of cases remaining open on the last day of each quarter that have support orders established. Of the 19.2 million cases in the child support caseload in FY 1995, some 57 percent had support orders.
States report the number of cases in which a collection was made during the second month of each quarter. In FY 1995 there were 3.7 million cases with a collection in the child support enforcement program. This is an increase of 9 percent over fiscal year 1994 and 44 percent over the figure for FY 1991. Paying cases accounted for almost 19 percent of the Child Support Enforcement caseload; this figure has risen only slightly since FY 1991.
Total child support collections are the amounts collected by the program and distributed during the year on behalf of families receiving benefits from the AFDC, title IV-E foster care and Medicaid programs and non-AFDC families who have applied for child support services. In FY 1995, collections reached a record high of $10.8 billion, a 10 percent increase over FY 1994. Non-AFDC collections accounted for 75 percent of the total amount collected.
AFDC collections, including title IV-E Foster Care collections, amounted to $2.7 billion in FY 1995. This is an increase of 6 percent over the previous year and 36 percent since FY 1991.
The Federal and State governments retain portions of AFDC child support collections as reimbursement for (title IV-A) AFDC payments to families. In FY 1995, States kept $939 million as their share of AFDC payment reimbursements and received an additional $400 million in collection incentives from the Federal share of AFDC collections. The Federal share of the $2.7 billion collected in AFDC cases amounted to $821 million. In FY 1995, AFDC families received over $474 million in support collections through the Child Support Enforcement program. AFDC families are entitled to the first $50 of current collections as well as all collections in excess of AFDC grants.
Up to the first $50 of current child support collected each month on behalf of AFDC families is paid to the families by the IV-D agency. The families receiving these pass-through payments benefit from the extra income each month, which is disregarded in determining their continued eligibility for AFDC. Prior to the creation of the pass-through, all current support collections were retained by the Federal and State governments to reimburse AFDC payments made to these families. In FY 1995, AFDC families received $353 million in pass-through payments.
The AFDC recovery rate is the percent of AFDC assistance payments recovered through child support collections. The AFDC recovery rate rose to a high of 13.6 percent in FY 1995. It should be noted that even if States could collect all of the child support due, it would not be possible for some to recover 100 percent of the title IV-A grant money. This is largely because AFDC assistance payments often exceed child support award levels.
Non-AFDC distributed collections are child support payments made on behalf of and distributed to families who have applied for Child Support Enforcement services. In FY 1995, non-AFDC collections rose to $8.1 billion, an increase of almost 11 percent since the previous year and 66 percent since FY 1991.
Collections made on behalf of families in other States totaled a record $837 million in FY 1995, an increase of 5 percent. In five years, interstate collections rose by 58 percent: these increases may reflect better communications and cooperation among the States. A State's distributed collection amount does not include collections made on behalf of other States. Hence, total distributed collections do not reflect the efforts put forth by one State to collect for another. In some cases, a substantial amount of child support is collected by one State on behalf of other States.
There are various ways in which child support payments are made. Wage withholding, withholding of unemployment compensation, and State income tax refund offsets are all powerful enforcement techniques. However, wage withholding is by far the most effective, totaling 57 percent of all collections in FY 1995. Federal and State income tax refund offsets contributed 7 percent and 1 percent, respectively; and the withholding of unemployment compensation accounted for about 2 percent of total collections. The remaining 36 percent of collections was obtained from parents who sent their child support payments directly to the State Child Support Enforcement agency, payments received through other enforcement techniques, or collections received from other States.
Accounts receivable data present the total dollar amount of child support payments due and received by IV-D agencies. Information reported for FY 1995 indicates that $15.3 billion in current support and $34.7 billion in prior years support was due. Almost $8.1 billion or 53 percent of the current support due was collected. Of prior years support due, only $2.4 billion or 7 percent was collected. Comparisons of States' accounts receivable data are complicated because States count arrearages differently based on State laws and practices. For example, some States include unreimbursed public assistance as a debt and others do not. Some States have statutes of limitations governing collection of debt, some assess interest on arrearages which becomes part of the amount due, and some have policies for writing off bad debts.
Total expenditures are the net amounts of combined Federal and State funds expended on the operation of the CSE program. The amounts reported are reduced by the amount of program income (fees and costs recovered in excess of fees, interest earned, and other program income received) received by the States. Total expenditures were $3 billion in FY 1995, an increase of 18 percent over FY 1994. Of this $3 billion, $2.1 billion was the Federal share and $900 million was the States' share. The recent increases in program costs are heavily impacted by the costs of developing and implementing automated systems, as required by the Family Support Act of 1988, as well as by increased caseloads.
ADP expenditures are for the planning, development, and implementation of automated child support systems and for the acquisition of operational hardware utilized in these systems. ADP expenditures at the enhanced rate grew to $420 million in FY 1995 compared to $195 million in FY 1994--an increase of 115 percent. Prior to those years, ADP expenditures were $125 million in FY 1993 and $82 million in FY 1992--an increase of 56 percent between those two years. Five years ago, these expenditures were $65 million and grew 546 percent between fiscal years 1991 and 1995.
Nationally, almost $4.00 in child support payments are collected for every $1.00 spent to administer the Child Support Enforcement program. During the five-year period FY 1991 to FY 1995, the ratio of total child support collections to total administrative costs has decreased from $3.82 to $3.59. This decrease in cost effectiveness is largely due to the recent increases in expenditures for automated systems, which should have a beneficial impact on future program performance.
FY 95 Box Scores by State
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1. Financial Overview for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 2. Statistical Overview for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 3. Program Trends for FY 1992, 1994, and 1995
Table 4. Total Distributed Collections for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 5. Distributed AFDC/Foster Care Collections for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 6. Distributed AFDC Collections for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 7. Distributed Foster Care Collections for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 8. Distributed Non-AFDC Collections for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 9. Total Distributed Collections per Dollar of Total Administrative Expenditures by Total, AFDC/FC, and Non-AFDC, FY 1995
Federal and State Shares and Incentives
Table 10. Net Federal Share of AFDC/Foster Care Collections for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 11. State Share of AFDC/Foster Care Collections for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 12. Incentive Payments Estimates for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 13. Incentive Payments Actuals for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Payments to Families
Table 14. AFDC/Foster Care Payments to Families for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 15. AFDC Collections Distributed as Payments to Families and Disregarded in AFDC Eligibility Determinations ($50 Pass-Through) for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Method of Collection
Table 16. Total Collections Made by the States by Method of Collection , FY 1995
Table 17. AFDC/FC Collections Made by the States by Method of Collection , FY 1995
Table 18. Non-AFDC Collections Made by the States by Method of Collection, FY 1995
Table 19. Total Program Savings for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 20. Federal Share of Program Savings for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 21. State Share of Program Savings for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 22. Total Administrative Expenditures for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 23. Net Federal Share of Administrative Expenditures for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 24. State Share of Administrative Expenditures for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 25. Fees Received and Costs Recovered for Non-AFDC Cases for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 26. Total Expenditures by AFDC Expenditures and Non-AFDC Expenditures, FY 1995
Table 27. Total Expenditures by Direct and Indirect Cost Categories, FY 1995
Table 28. Total Expenditures by Functional Cost Categories, FY 1995
Table 29. Total ADP Expenditures for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 30. Total ADP Expenditures at Enhanced Funding Rate for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 31. Expenditures for Laboratory Tests for Paternity Establishment for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Caseload and Cases with Collections
Table 32. Average Annual CSE Caseload by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 33. Average Annual CSE Caseload with Orders Established by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 34. Average Number of CSE Cases in Which a Collection was Made on an Obligation by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Location, Paternity, Establishment, and Enforcement Services Required
Table 35. Average Number of Absent Parents Requiring Location to Establish an Obligation by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 36. Average Number of Absent Parents Requiring Location to Enforce or Modify an Obligation by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 37. Average Number of Children Requiring Paternity Determination by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 38. Average Number of Cases Requiring a Support Obligation be Established by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 39. Average Number of Cases Requiring a Support Obligation be Enforced or Modified by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 40. Absent Parents Located by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 41. Absent Parents Located to Establish and Enforce or Modify an Order, FY 1995
Table 42. Federal Parent Locator Service Requests Processed with Known Social Security Numbers for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 43. Federal Parent Locator Service Requests Processed with Unknown Social Security Numbers for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 44. Total Number of Paternities Established for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 45. IV-D Paternities Established by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 46. IV-D Paternity Standard Data for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Orders Established and Enforced
Table 47. Number of Support Obligations Established by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 48. Total Number of Support Orders Established that Include Health Insurance by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 49. Total Number of Support Orders Enforced or Modified by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 50. Total Number of Support Orders Enforced or Modified that Include Health Insurance by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 51. Number of Families Removed from AFDC with Child Support Collections for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 52. Percentage of AFDC/FC Assistance Payments Recovered Through Child Support Collections for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 53. IV-A Cases in Which Parents Claim Good Cause for Refusing to Cooperate in Establishing Paternity and Securing Child Support and IV-A cases in Which Good Cause Claims Were Found Valid, FY 1995
Table 54. Total Full Time Equivalent Staff Employed as of September 30, 1995
Table 55. Total Full Time Equivalent Staff Employed as of September 30 for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 56. Total Salary and Fringe Benefits for Full Time Staff Employed as of September 30, 1995
Table 57. State Workload per Full-Time Equivalent Staff, FY 1995
Table 58. Costs and Staff Associated with the Central Office of Child Support Enforcement for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 59. Total Cases with Voluntary Payments by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 60. Total Amount of Voluntary Payments by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995 Cases Opened and Closed
Table 61. Total Number of Cases Opened During the Year by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 62. Total Number of Cases Opened for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 63. Total Number of Cases Closed During the Year by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 64. Total Number of Cases Closed for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Federal Income Tax Refund Offset
Table 65. Federal Income Tax Refund Offset Program, FY 1995
Table 66. Federal Income Tax Refund Offset Program Collections for Five Consecutive Fiscal Years
Table 67. IRS Full Collections, FY 1995
Accounts Receivable - Current Amounts
Table 68. Amount of Current Support Due, FY 1995
Table 69. Amount of Current Support Received, FY 1995
Accounts Receivable - Prior Years' Amounts
Table 70. Amount of Prior Years' Support Due, FY 1995
Table 71. Amount of Prior Years' Support Received, FY 1995
Accounts Receivable - This Year's Amounts
Table 72. Amount of Support Due for Orders Entered This Year, FY 1995
Table 73. Amount of Support Received for Orders Entered This Year, FY 1995
Accounts Receivable - Current Orders
Table 74. Number of Orders for Current Support Where a Collection was Due, FY 1995
Table 75. Number of Orders for Current Support Where a Collection was Received, FY 1995
Accounts Receivable - Prior Years' Orders
Table 76. Number of Orders for Prior Years' Support Where a Collection was Due, FY 1995
Table 77. Number of Orders for Prior Years' Support Where a Collection was Received, FY 1995
Accounts Receivable - Orders Entered During the Year
Table 78. Number of Orders Entered This Year Where a Collection was Due, FY 1995
Table 79. Number of Orders Entered This Year Where a Collection was Received, FY 1995
Table 80. Cases Initiated in Reporting States by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 81. Cases Initiated in Other States by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 82. Cases in Which Collections Were Sent to Other States by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 83. Cases in Which Collections Were Received from Other States by AFDC/FC, Non-AFDC, and AFDC/FC Arrears Only, FY 1995
Table 84. Total Collections Made on Behalf of Other States by AFDC/FC and Non-AFDC, FY 1995
Table 85. Total Collections Received from Other States by AFDC/FC and Non-AFDC, FY 1995
These notes to the State data tables clarify some of the variations in the data over the previous fiscal year. The information in these notes was provided by the States and refers to FY 1995.
TOTAL DISTRIBUTED COLLECTIONS FOR FIVE FISCAL YEARS - Table 4
Connecticut - The increase is due to increase wage withholding and privitization of the collection process. This resulted in more timely distribution of collections and less collections remaining undistributed at the end of FY 95.
Guam - The decrease is due to economic downturn, case closures, and other factors such as a reduction in the number of voluntary Non-AFDC payments.
Maine - The increase is because new hires and license revocation initiatives continue to impact collections.
Montana - The increase is due to a successful locate clean-up project and a social security number interface project which allowed more cases to be worked.
Puerto Rico - The increase is due to a conversion process which resulted in the immediate ability to initiate enforcement actions for all AFDC type cases, which had not been possible within the manual environment.
Tennessee - The increase is due to the State processing a backlog of collections.
Texas - The increase is due to more collections received thru wage withholding and thru license suspension.
Vermont - The increase is due to a larger than normal increase in Non-AFDC cases. In addition, lower unemployment moved cases from the AFDC to Non-AFDC category.
TOTAL ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENDITURES FOR FIVE FISCAL YEARS - Table 22
Alabama - The increase is due to costs of implementing the States new automated system.
Alaska - The increase is due to transferring to a new computer system, increased staff, increased indirect costs, and expanded program efforts.
Delaware - The increase is attributable to increased expenditures for automation.
Nevada - The increase is due to an increase in ADP costs. In addition, money was spent for salaries and benefits, office space and equipment for new staff, expanded hearings, and expanded county programs.
New Hampshire - The increase is due to an increase in approved ADP development and hardware costs.
Puerto Rico - The increase is due to the fact that case data were being converted from manual environment to a fully automated environment.
Tennessee - The increase is due to contract payments being paid.
AVERAGE CSE CASES IN WHICH A COLLECTION WAS MADE ON AN OBLIGATION BY AFDC/FOSTER CARE, NON-AFDC, AND AFDC/FOSTER CARE ARREARS ONLY, FY 1995 - Table 34
Wyoming - This item is without automated support and will be estimated until all counties are on-line.
ABSENT PARENTS LOCATED BY AFDC/FOSTER CARE, NON-AFDC AND AFDC/FOSTER CARE ARREARS ONLY, FY 1995 - Table 40
California - The increase is due to programming problems with the State146s computer system in Los Angeles county in FY 95. The system counted locates differently than in the prior year.
Georgia - The decrease is due to heavy effort and training required of all child support personnel to complete the implementation of the new system. This resulted in less time to provide for child support cases.
Hawaii - The increase is due to implementation of automated interfaces with other State agencies146 data bases. This enhancement greatly improved the locate rate for those cases requiring locate services.
Oklahoma - The increase reflects the local office emphasis on locate as the first step in the establishment or enforcement process.
Wyoming - Since turning on the automated located features of the automated system, more than 16,000 people have been located and addresses have been verified.
TOTAL NUMBER OF PATERNITIES ESTABLISHED FOR FIVE FISCAL YEARS, - Table 44
Alabama - See note under Table 22
California - The increase is due to implementation of State Performance Standards.
District - The decrease is due to employees being furloughed and the Office of Paternity and Child Support Enforcement being moved to a new location.
Georgia - See note under Table 40
Guam - The increase is due to in-hospital voluntary acknowledgement program at Guam Memorial Hospital and increased number of cases referred to court.
Hawaii - The decrease is due to a lack of available staff resources led to the reduction in the referral of cases for paternity action.
Illinois - The decrease is because the largest legal representation contractor reorganized, reducing court filings.
Louisiana - The decrease is due to the fact that local offices are still learning the new computer system and dealing with the normal problems associated with conversion.
Montana - The increase is due to the State experiencing the effects of a successful pilot project which moved cases from locate to establish and enforce activities.
Nevada - The increase is due to the State starting their in-hospital paternity program.
North Dakota - The decrease in AFDC is due to the combined effect of the decline in the AFDC caseload and the number of voluntary acknowledgements.
Rhode Island - The increase is due to a State management initiative that focused on increased activity in order to increase paternity establishment rate.
Wyoming - The increase is due to previously unreported paternities that were discovered as a result of the State146s clean-up of its caseload as it converted into the new statewide automated system.
NUMBER OF SUPPORT ORDERS ESTABLISHED, FY 1995 - Table 47
Alaska - The increase is due to adding staff and placing increased efforts to collect child support.
Arizona - The increase is due to automated locate which provided an increase in cases where the non-custodial parent had been located.
California - See note under Table 44
District - See note under Table 44
Georgia - The decrease is due to implementation of the new system during this period which resulted in less services provided for child support cases.
Maine - The decrease is due to Maine implementing new procedures for establishing support orders administratively; the learning curve period was longer than anticipated resulting in the low number of orders established.
Wyoming - The increase is due to the new statewide automated system.
NUMBER OF FAMILIES REMOVED FROM AFDC WITH CHILD SUPPORT COLLECTIONS FOR FIVE FISCAL YEARS - Table 50
Louisiana - The increase can be attributed to the fact that the new computer system resulted in a mass referral of cases from IV-A to IV-D.
TOTAL NUMBER OF CASES OPENED DURING THE YEAR BY AFDC/FOSTER CARE, NON-AFDC AND AFDC/FOSTER CARE ARREARS ONLY, 1995 - Table 61
Florida - The decrease is due to fluctuation of data due to activities related to conversion to, and interface with the Florida computer system.
New Hampshire - The increase is due to enhancements to the computer system.
Puerto Rico - See note under Table 22
West Virginia - The decrease is due to data cleaning and improvements to the computer system.
TOTAL NUMBER OF CASES CLOSED DURING THE YEAR BY AFDC/FOSTER CARE, NON-AFDC AND AFDC/FOSTER CARE ARREARS ONLY, 1995 - Table 63
Arizona - The increase is due to a change in closure criteria which resulted in streamlined closure procedures.
Florida - The decrease in AFDC is due to data no longer available from the old AFDC computer system.
Georgia - The increase in all categories is due to the system conversion process and number of duplicate cases.
Illinois - The increase in AFDC is due to the State146s greater emphasis being put on closing cases that should be closed according Federal regulations. The increase in Non-AFDC is due to a special clean-up project that scheduled old continuation clients for a new interview; failure to appear for interview resulted in case closure.
New Mexico - The increase is due to the statewide data clean-up effort which was necessary for data conversion into the new computer system which resulted in a number of case closures.
INTERSTATE CASES INITIATED IN REPORTING STATES BY AFDC/FOSTER CARE, NON-AFDC, AND AFDC/FOSTER CARE ARREARS ONLY, FY 1995 -
Florida - See note under Table 40
Hawaii - The decrease is due to the modification of the statistical report to eliminate duplicate referrals of cases to out-of-state agencies.
New Jersey - The increase in all categories is due to a development and implementation of an automated notification process to other States.
Puerto Rico - See note under Table 22
Vermont - The increase in AFDC is due to the State146s "URESA Project" in which staff were assigned to a joint IV-D/Family Court project to clear up backlogs of pending URESA cases; as a result, the number of interstate cases initiated rose sharply for the year.
Wyoming - The decrease is due to the transition between previous manual and semi-automated systems. Much of the data are estimates, incomplete and in the midst of conversion.
Total Distributed Collections (Form OCSE-34, Line 14(A+B+C))
Total amount of collections distributed during the year on behalf of both AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) and non-AFDC families. Total collections can be calculated as the sum of AFDC/Foster Care and non-AFDC collections as defined below.
Distributed AFDC/Foster Care Collections (Form OCSE-34, Line 14(A+C))
The portion of total collections received on behalf of families receiving assistance under the AFDC program or children placed in foster care facilities. These collections are distributed by the State during the year either to reimburse itself or the Federal Government or directly to the families and facilities involved.
Distributed Non-AFDC Collections (Form OCSE-34, Line 14(B))
The portion of total collections received on behalf of families not receiving assistance under the AFDC/Foster Care programs and distributed to those families during the year.
Total Collections Per Dollar of Total Administrative Expenditures (Form OCSE-34, Line 14(A+B+C) Divided by Form OCSE-131, Part 1, Line 4(A+B))
The amount of total IV-D collections made for every dollar expended to administer the Child Support Enforcement program. Refer to definitions of total IV-D collections and total IV-D administrative expenditures.
AFDC/Foster Care Collections Per Dollar of Total Administrative Expenditures (Form OCSE-34, Line 14(A+C) Divided by Form OCSE-131, Part 1, Line 4(A+B))
The amount of IV-D AFDC/FC child support collections made for every dollar expended to administer the Child Support Enforcement program. Refer to definitions of IV-D AFDC/FC collections and total IV-D administrative expenditures.
Non-AFDC Collections Per Dollar of Total Administrative Expenditures (Form OCSE-34, Line 14(B) Divided by Form OCSE-131, Part 1, Line 4(A+B))
The amount of IV-D non-AFDC collections made for every dollar expended to administer the Child Support Enforcement program. Refer to definitions of IV-D non-AFDC collections and total IV-D administrative expenditures.
Net Federal Share of AFDC/Foster Care Collections (Form OCSE-34, Line 18(A+C))
The portion of AFDC/Foster Care collections that is kept by the Federal Government as a reimbursement of its share of past assistance payments under the AFDC program. The amount reported has been reduced by incentive payments made to the States. The Federal share of collections is used to reduce Federal grants awarded to State agencies under the AFDC program.
State Share of AFDC/Foster Care Collections (Form OCSE-34, Line 14(A+C) - Line 16(A+C))
The portion of AFDC collections that is kept by the States as a reimbursement of their shares of past assistance payments under the AFDC program.
Incentive Payments (Form OCSE-34, Line 17(A+B))
The portion of the gross Federal share of collections that is retained by the State in addition to its share of AFDC/Foster Care collections. This amount is estimated by OCSE prior to the start of the fiscal year and is reported by the State on a quarterly basis. The OCSE estimate is based on the State's estimated AFDC and non-AFDC collections in relation to Total Expenditures and is calculated pursuant to a methodology found in section 458 of the Social Security Act. Actual incentive amounts are computed after the end of the fiscal year and appropriate adjustments are made in State grant awards.
AFDC/Foster Care Payment to Families (Form OCSE-34, Line 10(A) + 11(A+C))
Total amount of collections distributed by the State during the year to AFDC families and Foster Care maintenance facilities under the distribution procedures found in sections 457(b)(1), (b)(3), (b)(4)(B), and (d)(2) of the Social Security Act. This includes the "AFDC disregard" payments as defined below.
AFDC Collections Distributed as Payments to Families and Disregarded in AFDC Eligibility (Form OCSE-34, Line 10(A))
Portion of collections distributed by the State during the year to AFDC families, pursuant to section 457(b)(1) of the Social Security Act, that is disregarded in determining families' continuing eligibility for assistance payments. Beginning in FY 1985, States were required to make these "AFDC disregard payments," which are up to $50 per month per family from the collections received for each AFDC family.
Collections from Federal Income Tax Offset (Form OCSE-34, Line 2(A+B+C))
Total amount of collections received by the State during the year from the offset of child support payments from individuals' Federal income tax refunds through the U.S. Internal Revenue Service's Income Tax Refund Offset Program.
Collections from State Income Tax Offset (Form OCSE-34, Line 3(A+B+C))
Total amount of collections received by the State during the year from the offset of child support payments from individuals' State income tax refunds. (Applicable only to States that impose a personal income tax.)
Collections from Unemployment Compensation (Form OCSE-34, Line 4(A+B+C))
Total amount of collections received by the State during the year from the offset of individuals' Unemployment Compensation Insurance payments to satisfy past-due child support.
Collections from Wage Withholding (Form OCSE-34, Line 5(A+B+C))
Total amount of collections received by the State during the year from withholding child support payments from individuals' wages, salaries, and other income.
Total Program Savings (Form OCSE-34, Line 13(A) - OCSE-131, Part 1, Line 4(A+B))
Total program savings is defined as the difference between amounts retained from AFDC child support collections as reimbursements of AFDC assistance payments and the net amount of administrative expenditures eligible for Federal funding.
Federal Share of Program Savings (Form OCSE-34, Line 18(A+C) - OCSE-131, Part 1, Line 12(A+B))
The difference between the net Federal share of distributed collections and the Federal share of administrative expenditures.
State Share of Program Savings (Form OCSE-34, Line 4(A+B-C) - OCSE-131, Part 1, Line 12(A+B))
The difference between the State share of distributed collections plus incentive payments retained minus the State share of administrative expenditures.
Total Administrative Expenditures (Form OCSE-131, Part 1, Line 4(A+B))
Total amount of expenditures eligible for Federal funding that is claimed by the States during the year for the administration of the Child Support Enforcement program. Includes all amounts claimed during the year, whether expended during the current or a previous fiscal year. The amounts being reported have been reduced by the amount of program income (fees and costs recovered in excess of fees and interest earned and other program income received) by the States.
Net Federal Share of Administrative Expenditures (Form OCSE-131, Part 1, Line 12(A+B))
The portion of total administrative expenditures claimed during the fiscal year that were paid by the Federal government at the appropriate Federal financial participation (FFP) rate. (The "regular" FFP rates for administrative expenditures were as follows: (1) FY 1987: 70 percent; (2) FY 1988 and FY 1989: 68 percent; (3) FY 1990 and FY 1991: 66 percent. The "enhanced" FFP rates for the planning, development, and implementation of approved ADP child support systems and for approved ADP operational hardware were 90 percent.) The amount reported has been reduced by the amount of fees received from the States for use of the Federal Parent Locator Service.
State Share of Administrative Expenditures (Form OCSE-131, Part 1, Line 4(A+B) - Line 12(A+B))
The portion of total administrative expenditures claimed during the fiscal year that were paid by the State government. (For "regular" administrative expenditures, States were required to provide funding at the following rates: (1) FY 1987: 30 percent; (2) FY 1988 and FY 1989: 32 percent; and (3) FY 1990 and FY 1991: 34 percent. For approved expenditures for the planning, development, and implementation of ADP child support systems, and beginning in FY 1985 for ADP operational hardware, States were required to provide funding at 10 percent.) The amounts reported include fees paid by the States for use of the Federal Parent Locator Service.
Fees Received and Costs Recovered for Non-AFDC Cases (Form OCSE-131, Part 1, Line 2(A+B))
The amount of fees collected by the States for the processing of non-AFDC cases plus the amount of additional processing costs recovered by the States in excess of the fees charged. This amount decreases the amount of States' expenditures eligible for Federal funding.
Total Expenditures by AFDC Expenditures and Non-AFDC Expenditures (Form OCSE-158, Lines 16 and 17)
The amount of expenditures eligible for Federal funding as they apply to the AFDC/FC and Non-AFDC portions of the program.
Expenditures by Functional Cost Categories (Form OCSE-158, Lines 20 through 24)
States are required by statute to report expenditures by functional categories. The reporting should be based on an approved cost allocation plan, a time study, or a valid work sample. Total expenditures should be allocated to five categories: paternity determination, location, obligations established, enforcement activities, and financial distribution.
ADP Expenditures at the Enhanced Funding Rate (Form OCSE-131, Part 1, Line 5(A+B) + Line 6(A+B))
The portion of total administrative expenditures claimed by the State at the enhanced funding rate (in accordance with the provisions of an approved Advanced Planning Document) for the planning, development, and implementation of an automated child support system and for the acquisition of operational hardware utilized in that system.
Expenditures for Laboratory Tests for Paternity Establishment (Form OCSE-131, Part 1, Line 8(A+B))
The amount expended for laboratory costs associated with the process of determining paternity.
Average Annual Child Support Enforcement Caseload (Form OCSE-156, Line 4(A+B+C) + Line 5(A+B+C))
The total number of child support enforcement cases open on the last day of each quarter. A child support enforcement case is defined as every absent parent who is now or may eventually be obligated under law for the support of one or more dependent children. An absent parent is counted once for each family which has a dependent child he or she is now or may eventually be obligated to support.
Average Annual CSE AFDC and Foster Care Caseload (Form OCSE-156, Line 4(A) + Line 5(A))
The total number of child support enforcement AFDC and Foster Care cases open on the last day of each quarter. An AFDC case is one in which the children to be supported are currently receiving money payments under the provisions of titles IV-A and IV-E of the Social Security Act and in which an assignment of support rights has been made by the caretaker relative to the State.
Average Annual CSE Non-AFDC Caseload (Form OCSE-156, Line 4(B) + Line 5(B))
The total number of child support enforcement non-AFDC cases open on the last day of each quarter. A non-AFDC case is one in which the children to be supported are not currently receiving a IV-A payment and in which the caretaker relative has made written application for child support enforcement non-AFDC services. Also included are cases which are receiving services as former AFDC recipients whose collections are classified as non-AFDC collections, as well as Medicaid only cases.
Average Annual CSE AFDC and Foster Care Arrears Only Caseload (Form OCSE-156, Line 4(C) + Line 5(C))
The total number of child support enforcement AFDC and Foster Care arrears only cases open on the last day of each quarter. An AFDC and Foster Care arrears only case is one in which the children to be supported are former recipients of IV-A or IV-E payments and in which the absent parent is now delinquent in his or her reimbursement of these payments to the government.
Average Annual Child Support Caseload with Orders Established (Form OCSE-156, Line 4(A+B+C))
The total number of child support enforcement cases open on the last day of each quarter with orders established.
Average Number of CSE Cases in Which a Collection Was Made on an Obligation (Form OCSE-156, Line 9(A+B+C))
The average number of child support enforcement cases in which a collection was made during the second month of the quarter. Also includes cases in which a collection was received as a result of the Federal Income Tax Refund Offset Program. If a case receives both an intercept collection and a regular collection during the second month of the quarter, the case is counted once.
Average Number of CSE AFDC and Foster Care Cases in Which a Collection Was Made on an Obligation (Form OCSE-156, Line 9(A))
The average number of child support enforcement AFDC and Foster Care cases in which a collection was made during the second month of the quarter. (AFDC and Foster Care arrears only cases are not included in this category.)
Average Number of CSE Non-AFDC Cases in Which a Collection Was Made on an Obligation (Form OCSE-156, Line 9(B))
The average number of child support enforcement non-AFDC cases in which a collection was made during the second month of the quarter.
Average Number of CSE AFDC and Foster Care Arrears Only Cases in Which a Collection Was Made on an Obligation (Form OCSE-156, Line 9(C))
The average number of AFDC and Foster Care arrears only cases in which a collection was made during the second month of the quarter.
Services Required (Form OCSE-156, Lines 6 through 10(A, B, and C)
The Family Support Act of 1988 requires that States report data with respect to the need and receipt of the following services: paternity determination, location to establish a child support obligation, establishment of a child support obligation, and location to enforce or modify an existing child support obligation. The Act further requires that this information should include the number of cases, by type, in the child support enforcement agency caseload which need and receive the designated services. States report the number of IV-D cases open on the last day of the quarter which need the specific service.
Services Provided (Form OCSE-156, Lines 11 through 17(A, B, and C)
States maintained and report data on services provided including paternity and support order establishment, as well as information on why absent parents needed to be located, i.e., to enforce, modify or establish a child support obligation.
Total Number of Locations Made (Form OCSE-156, Line 12(A+B+C)+Line13(A+B+C))
The total number of cases in which an absent parent's physical whereabouts, address, employer, sources of income, or assets have been located during the quarter. Relocations are also included in these figures.
Federal Parent Locator Service Requests Processed with Known Social Security Numbers
These are cases submitted to the FPLS for an address search in which the child support enforcement agency has provided an SSN for the absent parent. Based upon input from the State, the FPLS will send the case to any or all of the following Federal agencies: Internal Revenue Service, Department of Defense, Social Security Administration, Veterans Administration, National Personnel Records Center, and Selective Service System. There are also quarterly matches done with State Employment Security Agencies. Any responses are returned to the child support enforcement agency.
Federal Parent Locator Service Requests Processed with Unknown Social Security Numbers
These are cases submitted to the FPLS for an address search in which the child support enforcement agency could not provide a valid SSN for the absent parent. The FPLS will attempt to identify the SSN of the absent parent using information from the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. If an SSN is found, the FPLS will proceed with the address search.
Total Number of Paternities Established (Form OCSE-156, Line 14(A+B+C))
The total number of children for whom paternity was established during the year. A paternity is defined as the legal establishment of fatherhood for a child after the opening of a child support enforcement case, either by court determination or voluntary acknowledgment in States where such acknowledgments are legally enforceable.
Paternity Standard (Form OCSE-158, Line 3 (A+C+E) Divided by Line 1(A+C+E))
Public Law 100-485 requires States to meet a standard for paternity establishment in order to be in substantial compliance with the requirement to operate an effective paternity establishment program. It requires States to be judged using the following measure: the total number of children born out of wedlock for whom AFDC is being paid or IV-D services are being provided under Section 454(6) of the Social Security Act and for whom paternity has been established--divided by the total number of children born out of wedlock receiving AFDC or IV-D services.
Number of Support Obligations Established (Form OCSE-156, Line 15 (A, B, and C))
The total number of support obligations established during the year. An obligation is defined as the legal establishment of an amount of money which is to be paid on a regular basis by a non-custodial parent for the support of that parent's children. Modifications to existing obligations are also included in these figures if they are the result of actions in which the State or local child support enforcement agency participated.
Number of Support Orders Established that Include Health Insurance (Form OCSE-156, Line 15a(A+B+C))
The total number of support orders established by the IV-D agency which included orders for health insurance or medical support.
Number of Support Orders Enforced or Modified (Form OCSE-156, Line 16(A, B, and C))
The total number of support orders enforced or modified by the IV-D agency. Modifications must have been established by court order, voluntary agreement, or other legal process.
Total Number of Support Orders Enforced or Modified that Include Health Insurance. (Form OCSE-156, Line 16a(A+B+C))
The total number of support orders enforced or modified by the IV-D agency which included orders for health insurance or medical support.
Number of Families Removed from AFDC with Child Support Collections (Form OCSE-156, 11(A))
The total number of AFDC cases terminated by the IV-A agency in which there was a collection. This information reflects all IV-A case closures with a child support collection during the month the case was terminated.
Percentage of AFDC/FC Assistance Payments Recovered through Child Support Collections (Title IV-A Basic Expenditures Divided by Child Support Enforcement AFDC/FC Collections)
The percentage of AFDC assistance payments recovered through child support collections. These figures represent the amount of AFDC/FC collections divided by the amount of income maintenance assistance money payments computable for Federal funding minus AFDC Unemployed Parent (UP) payments.
IV-A Cases in Which Parents Claim Good Cause for Refusing to Cooperate (Form SSA-4680)
The number of cases in which refusal to cooperate occurred for any reason and the number of cases for which good cause for refusing to cooperate was determined. Examples of circumstances for which good cause is determined to exist include physical or emotional harm to the child or parent, rape or incest, legal adoption, and pre-adoption service.
Total Full Time Staff Employed as of September 30 (Form OCSE-158, Line 13(A) + Line 14(A))
Reported are the total number of FTE staff employed by the State IV-D agency and any local IV-D agencies as well as the number of FTE staff employed by an agency (public or private) working under a cooperative agreement or a purchase-of-service agreement with the IV-D agency on the last working day of September. FTE numbers include the reporting of all full-time equivalent workers and part-time workers using the number of hours worked by all part-time staff divided by 2080 hours.
Total Salary and Fringe Benefits for Full-Time Staff Employed as of September 30 (Form OCSE-158, Line 13(B) + Line 14(B))
Reported are the total salary and fringe benefits for the staff employed at State and local IV-D agencies and those under cooperative/purchase of service agreements.
Total Cases with Voluntary Payments (Form OCSE-158, Line 5(A+C+E))
The total number of cases where a legally enforceable support order has not been established but collections have been received during the current year broken out for AFDC and Foster Care, non-AFDC, and AFDC and Foster Care Arrears Only.
Total Amount of Voluntary Payments (Form OCSE-158, Line 5(B+C+F))
The total amount of collections received during the current year for cases where a legally enforceable support order has not been established broken out for AFDC and Foster Care, non-AFDC, and AFDC and Foster Care Arrears Only.
Total Number of Cases Opened During the Year (Form OCSE-156, Line 2(A+B+C))
The total number of IV-D cases opened during the current year through receipt of a valid written referral from the State IV-A or IV-E agency, receipt of a non-AFDC application from the custodial parent, or terminated IV-A and IV-E cases continuing to receive services as non-AFDC and/or arrears only cases. This figure includes cases opened as a result of requests for assistance received from other States. URESA petitions from other States are counted only if the initiating petition specifically requires action on the part of the responding State's IV-D agency.
Total Number of Cases Closed During the Year (Form OCSE-156, Line 3(A+B+C))
The total number of cases formally closed during the year. There are limited conditions for closing IV-D cases set forth in Federal regulations.
INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE INFORMATION
Federal Income Tax Refund Offset Program
States are required to submit cases to the Office of Child Support Enforcement certifying that criteria for Federal income tax refund offset are met as specified in section 464 of the Social Security Act. Cases are then submitted to IRS for match against their master file. Those cases that successfully match the IRS master file are certified for Federal income tax refunds offsets.
IRS Full Collections
Cases submitted and amounts collected as a result of collections through the IRS Full Collection Process. Under certain conditions, the IRS can collect child support against a parent's income and other assets. States submit cases to the OCSE Regional Offices which certify cases to IRS. IRS collects money through various means such as liens on property or bank accounts.
Current Support Due (Form OCSE-158, Line 7(A through F))
The total number of orders and amounts of money due (accounts receivable) for current year support broken out for AFDC and Foster Care, non-AFDC, and AFDC Foster Care Arrears Only.
Current Support Received (Form OCSE-158, Line 8(A through F))
The total number of orders and the amount of collections received for this year applicable to total amounts ordered for the current year broken out for AFDC and Foster Care, non-AFDC, and AFDC Foster Care Arrears Only.
Prior Years' Support Due (Form OCSE-158, Line 9(A through F))
The total number of orders and amounts of money due (accounts receivable) for past due prior year child support broken out for AFDC and Foster Care, non-AFDC, and AFDC Foster Care Arrears Only.
Prior Years' Support Received (Form OCSE-158, Line 10(A through F))
The total number of orders and the amount of collections received this year for orders owing past due support from prior years broken out for AFDC and Foster Care, non-AFDC, and AFDC Foster Care Arrears Only.
Support Due for Orders Entered This Year (Form OCSE-158, Line 11(A through F))
The total number of support orders and the amount of collections due for orders which entered the IV-D system during the year. The number reported represents obligations for the current year which entered the IV-D system during the year. The figure includes pre-existing support orders associated with cases opened during the year and new orders established during the year.
Support Received for Orders Entered This Year (Form OCSE-158, Line 12(A through F))
The total number of orders and the amount of collections received this year for orders which entered the IV-D system during the year.
Cases Initiated in the Reporting States (Form OCSE-156, Line 18(A+B+C))
The number of interstate cases initiated in the reporting State during each quarter, broken out for AFDC and Foster Care, non-AFDC, and AFDC Foster Care Arrears Only.
Cases Initiated in Other States (Form OCSE-156, Line 19(A+B+C))
The total number of interstate cases initiated in another State during each quarter, broken out for AFDC and Foster Care, non-AFDC, and AFDC Foster Care Arrears Only.
Cases in Which Collections Were Sent to Other States (Form OCSE-156, Line 20(A+B+C))
The total number of cases for which collections were sent to other States during the second month of the quarter. All cases for which collections were paid to other States are reported, regardless of when the request for assistance was received.
Cases in Which Collections Were Received from Other States (Form OCSE-156, Line 21(A+B+C))
Total number of cases for which collections were received from other States. Includes all interstate cases for which collections were received, regardless of when the request for assistance was sent.
Total Collections Made on Behalf of Other States (Form OCSE-34, Line 19(A+B+C))
Collections made by the reporting State on behalf of other States.
Total Collections Received from Other States (Form OCSE-34, Line 7(A+B+C))
Amounts collected by other States on behalf of the reporting State.
OCSE-AT-95-01, January 12, 1995
Revision to the Title IV-D State plan preprint; Submission of State plan page to indicate compliance with Federal requirements for expedited process contained in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993.
OCSE-AT-95-02, February 10, 1995
Revision of the Title IV-D State plan preprint; Submission of State plan pages to indicate compliance with Federal Requirements for paternity establishment contained in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 and final Federal regulations.
OCSE-AT-95-03, February 17, 1995
Reduction in Federal Financial Participation (FFP) rates for the Child Support Enforcement Program under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act (Act).
OCSE-AT-95-04, March 15, 1995
The measurement and reporting of the State paternity establishment percentage (PEP) in accordance with Section 452(g) of the Social Security Act as revised by P.L. 103-66 (OBRA 14593) and P.L. 103-432.
OCSE-AT-95-05, April 20, 1995
Prosecution on nonsupport cases under the Federal Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 (CSRA) [18 U.S.C. 228]. This Action Transmittal seeks to increase Federal criminal prosecutions under CSRA and solicits the assistance of State IV-D agencies in identifying additional cases suitable for prosecution by the ninety-four U.S. Attorney146s districts.
OCSE-AT-95-06, May 10, 1995
Final rule for processing garnishment orders for child support and alimony.
(This information is outdated and has been removed on 03/11/2009)
(This information is outdated and has been removed on 03/11/2009)
The first Federal child support enforcement legislation was Section 402(a)(11) of the Social Security Act [42 USC 602(a)(11)], which required State welfare agencies to notify appropriate law enforcement officials upon providing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with respect to a child who was abandoned or deserted by a parent.
Also that year, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and the American Bar Association approved the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (subsequent amendments to this Act were approved in 1952, 1958, and 1968).
Public Law (P.L.) 89-97, the Social Security Amendments of 1965, allowed a State or local welfare agency to obtain from the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare the address and place of employment of an absent parent who owed child support under a court order for support.
P.L. 90-248, the Social Security Amendments of 1967, allowed States to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the addresses of absent parents who owed child support under a court order for support. In addition, each State was required to establish a single organizational unit to establish paternity and collect child support for deserted children receiving AFDC. States were also required to work cooperatively with each other under child support reciprocity agreements and with courts and law enforcement officials.
P.L. 93-647, the Social Security Amendments of 1974, created, inter alia, Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act [Sections 451, et seq.; 42 USC 651, et seq.]. The key child support enforcement provisions, which reflect three years of intense Congressional attention, are as follows:
The Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (now the Department of Health and Human Services or DHHS) has primary responsibility for the Program and is required to establish a separate organizational unit to operate the program. Operational responsibilities include (1) establishing a parent locator service; (2) establishing standards for State program organization, staffing, and operation to assure an effective program; (3) reviewing and approving State plans for the program; (4) evaluating State program operations by conducting audits of each State's program; (5) certifying cases for referral to the Federal courts to enforce support obligations; (6) certifying cases for referral to the IRS for support collections; (7) providing technical assistance to States and assisting hem with reporting procedures; (8) maintaining records of program operations, expenditures, and collections; and (9) submitting an annual report to the Congress.
Primary responsibility for operating the Child Support Enforcement Program is placed on the States pursuant to the State plan. The major requirements of a State plan are that (1) the State designate a single and separate organizational unit to administer the program; (2) the State undertake to establish paternity and secure support for individuals receiving AFDC and others who apply directly for child support enforcement services; (3) child support payments be made to the State for distribution; (4) the State enter into cooperative agreements with appropriate courts and law enforcement officials; (5) the State establish a State parent locator service that uses State and local parent location resources and the Federal Parent Locator Service; (6) the State cooperate with any other State in locating an absent parent, establishing paternity, and securing support; and (7) the State maintain a full record of collections and disbursements made under the plan.
Procedures were set out for the distribution of child support collections received on behalf of families receiving AFDC.
Incentive payments to States for collections made on AFDC cases were created.
Monies due and payable to Federal employees became subject to garnishment for the collection of child support.
New eligibility requirements were added to the AFDC program, which required each applicant for, or recipient of, AFDC to make an assignment of support rights to the State; to cooperate with the State in establishing paternity and securing support; and to furnish his or her Social Security number to the State.
The effective date of P.L. 93-647 was July 1, 1975, except for the provision regarding garnishment of Federal employees, which was effective upon enactment. However, several problems were identified prior to the effective date and Congress passed P.L. 94-46 to extend the effective date to August 1, 1975. In addition, P.L. 94-88 was passed in August 1975 to allow States to obtain waivers from certain program requirements under certain conditions until June 30, 1976 and to receive Federal reimbursement at a reduced rate. This law also eased the requirement for AFDC recipients to cooperate with State child support enforcement agencies when such cooperation would not be in the best interests of the child. It also provided for supplemental payments to AFDC recipients whose grants would be reduced due to the implementation of the child support enforcement program.
P.L. 94-566, effective October 20, 1976, required State employment agencies to provide absent parents' addresses to State child support enforcement agencies.
P.L. 95-30, effective May 23, 1977, made several amendments to Title IV-D:
Provisions relating to the garnishment of a Federal employee's wages for child support were amended to (1) include employees of the District of Columbia; (2) specify the conditions and procedures to be followed to serve garnishments on Federal agencies; (3) authorize the issuance of garnishment regulations by the three branches of the Federal Government and by the District; and (4) define further certain terms used.
Section 454 of the Social Security Act (42 USC 654) was amended to require the State plan to provide bonding for employees who receive, handle, or disburse cash and to insure that the accounting and collection functions be performed by different individuals.
The incentive payment provision, under section 458(a) of the Social Security Act [42 USC 658(a)], was amended to change the rate to 15 percent of AFDC collections (from 25 percent for the first 12 months and 10 percent thereafter).
P.L. 95-142, the Medicare-Medicaid Antifraud and Abuse Amendments of 1977, established a medical support enforcement program, under which States could require Medicaid applicants to assign to the State their rights to medical support. State Medicaid agencies were allowed to enter into cooperative agreements with any appropriate agency of any State, including the IV-D agency, for assistance with the enforcement and collection of medical support obligations. Incentives were also available to localities making child support collections for States and for States securing collections on behalf of other States.
P.L. 95-598, the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978, repealed section 456(b) of the Social Security Act [42 USC 656(b)], which had barred the discharge in bankruptcy of assigned child support debts. (Note: this section of the Social Security Act (now 546(h)) was restored by P.L. 97-35 in 1981.)
P.L. 96-178 extended Federal Financial Participation (FFP) for non-AFDC services to March 31, 1980, retroactive to October 1, 1978.
P.L. 96-265, the Social Security Disability Amendments of 1980, increased Federal matching funds to 90 percent, effective July 1, 1981, for the costs of developing, implementing, and enhancing approved automated child support management information systems. Federal matching funds were also made available for child support enforcement duties performed by certain court personnel. In another provision, the law authorized the use of the IRS to collect child support arrearages on behalf of non-AFDC families. Finally, the law provided State and local IV-D agencies access to wage information held by the Social Security Administration and State employment security agencies for use in establishing and enforcing child support obligations.
P.L. 96-272, the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, contained four amendments to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. First, the law made FFP for non-AFDC services available on a permanent basis. Second, it allowed States to receive incentive payments on all AFDC collections as well as interstate collections. Third, as of October 1, 1979, States were required to claim reimbursement for expenditures within two years, with some exceptions. The fourth change postponed until October, 1980, the imposition of the 5 percent penalty on AFDC reimbursement for States not having effective child support enforcement programs.
P.L. 97-35, the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1981, added five amendments to the IV-D provisions. First, IRS was authorized to withhold all or a part of certain individuals' Federal income tax refunds for collection of delinquent child support obligations. Second, IV-D agencies were required to collect spousal support for AFDC families. Third, for non-AFDC cases, IV-D agencies were required to collect fees from absent parents who were delinquent in their child support payments. Fourth, child support obligations assigned to the State no longer were dischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings. The law imposed on States a requirement to withhold a portion of unemployment benefits from absent parents delinquent in their support payments.
P.L. 97-248, the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, included the following provisions, affecting the IV-D program:
FFP was reduced from 75 to 70 percent, effective October 1, 1982. Incentives were reduced from 15 to 12 percent, effective October 1, 1983. The provision for reimbursement of costs of certain court personnel that exceed the amount of funds spent by a State on similar court expenses during calendar year 1978 was repealed.
The mandatory non-AFDC collection fee imposed by P.L. 97-35 was repealed, retroactive to August 13, 1981. States were allowed to elect not to recover costs or to recover costs from collections or from fees imposed on absent parents. Another provision allowed States to collect spousal support in certain non-AFDC cases.
As of October 1, 1982, members of the uniformed services on active duty are required to make allotments from their pay when support arrearages reach the equivalent of a 2-month delinquency.
Also beginning October 1, 1982, States were allowed to reimburse themselves for AFDC grants paid to families for the first month in which the collection of child support is sufficient to make a family ineligible for AFDC.
P.L. 97-253, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1982, provided for the disclosure of information obtained under authority of the Food Stamp Act of 1977 to various programs, including State child support enforcement agencies.
P.L. 97-252, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act, authorized treatment of military retirement or retainer pay as property to be divided by State courts in connection with divorce, dissolution, annulment, or legal separation proceedings.
P.L. 98-378, the Child Support Enforcement Amendments of 1984, featured provisions that required critical improvements in State and local child support enforcement programs in four major areas:
All States must enact statutes providing for the use of improved enforcement mechanisms, including (1) mandatory income withholding procedures; (2) expedited processes for establishing and enforcing support orders; (3) State income tax refund interceptions; (4) liens against real and personal property, security or bonds to assure compliance with support obligations; and (5) reports of support delinquency information to consumer reporting agencies. State law must allow for the bringing of paternity actions any time prior to a child's 18th birthday and all support orders issued or modified after October 1, 1985, must include a provision for wage withholding.
Federal Financial Participation and Audit Provisions
To encourage greater reliance on performance-based incentives, Federal matching funds were reduced by 2 percent in FY 1988 (to 68 percent) and another 2 percent in FY 1990 (to 66 percent). Federal matching funds at 90 percent became available for the development and installation of automated systems, including computer hardware purchases, to facilitate income withholding and other newly required procedures.
State incentive payments were reset at 6 percent for both AFDC and non-AFDC collections. These percentages can increase to as much as 10 percent for both categories for very cost-effective States, but a State's non-AFDC incentive payments are limited by the amount of incentives received for AFDC collections. The law further required States to pass incentives through to local child support enforcement agencies where these agencies have participated in the costs of the program.
Annual State audits were replaced with audits conducted at least once every 3 years. The focus of the audits was altered to evaluate a State's effectiveness on the basis of program performance as well as operational compliance. Penalties for noncompliance are from 1 to 5 percent of the Federal share of the State's AFDC funds. The Federal government may suspend imposition of a penalty based on a State's filing of, and complying with, an acceptable corrective action plan.
Improved Interstate Enforcement
The proven enforcement techniques discussed above must be applied to interstate cases as well as intrastate cases. Both States involved in an interstate case may take credit for the collection when reporting total collections for the purpose of calculating incentives. Special demonstration grants were authorized beginning in FY 1985 to fund innovative methods of interstate enforcement and collection. Federal audits will focus on States' effectiveness in establishing and enforcing obligations across State lines.
Equal Services for Welfare and Nonwelfare Families
The Social Security Act was amended to show that Congress intended the Child Support Enforcement Program to aid both nonwelfare and welfare families. Several specific requirements were directed at improving State services to nonwelfare families. All of the mandatory practices must be made available for both classes of cases; the interception of Federal income tax refunds is extended to nonwelfare cases; incentive payments for nonwelfare cases became available for the first time; when families are terminated from the welfare rolls, they automatically must receive nonwelfare support enforcement services without being charged an application fee; and States must publicize the availability of nonwelfare support enforcement services.
States were required to (1) collect support in certain foster care cases; (2) collect spousal support in addition to child support where both are due in a case; (3) notify AFDC recipients, at least yearly, of the collections made in their individual cases;(4) establish State commissions to examine, investigate, and study the operation of the State's child support system and report findings to the State's governor; (5) formulate guidelines for determining appropriate child support obligation amounts and distribute the guidelines to judges and other individuals who possess authority to establish obligation amounts; (6) offset the costs of the program by charging various fees to nonwelfare families and to delinquent absent parents; (7) allow families whose AFDC eligibility is terminated as a result of the payment of child support to remain eligible to receive Medicaid for 4 months; and (8) seek to establish medical support orders in addition to monetary awards. The Federal Parent Locator Service was made more accessible and effective in locating absent parents. Sunset provisions are included in the extension of Medicaid eligibility and Federal tax offsets for non-AFDC families.
P.L. 98-369, the Tax Reform Act of 1984, included two tax provisions pertaining to alimony and child support.
Under prior law, alimony was deductible by the payor and includible in the income of the payee. The 1984 law revised the rules relating to the definition of alimony. Generally, only cash payments that will terminate on the death of the payee spouse qualify as alimony. Alimony payments, if in excess of $10,000 per year, generally must be payable for at least 6 years and must not decline by more than $10,000. The prior law requirement that the payment be based on a legal support obligation was repealed and payors are required to furnish to the IRS the social security number of the payee spouse. A $50 penalty for failure to do so will be imposed. The provision is effective for divorce or separation agreements or orders executed after 1984.
The 1984 law also provided that the $1,000 dependency exemption for a child of divorced or separated parents generally will be allocated to the custodial parent unless the custodial parent signs a written declaration that he or she will not claim the exemption for the year. Each parent may claim the medical expenses that he or she pays for the child, for purposes of computing the medical expense deduction. The provision is effective for taxable years beginning after 1984.
P.L. 99-509, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986, included one child support enforcement amendment prohibiting the retroactive modification of child support awards. Under this new requirement, State laws must provide for either parent to apply for modification of an existing order with notice provided to the other parent. No modification is permitted before the date of this notification.
P.L. 100-203, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, required States to provide child support enforcement services to all families with an absent parent who receives Medicaid and have assigned their support rights to the State, regardless of whether they are receiving AFDC.
P.L. 100-485, the Family Support Act of 1988, emphasized the duties of parents to work and support their children and, in particular, emphasized child support enforcement as the first line of defense against welfare dependence. The key child support enforcement provisions, in brief, include:
Guidelines for Child Support Awards
Judges and other officials are required to use State guidelines for child support unless they are rebutted by a written finding that applying the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case. States must review guidelines for awards every four years. Beginning five years after enactment, States generally must review and adjust individual case awards every three years for AFDC cases. The same applies to other IV-D cases, except review and adjustment must be at the request of a parent.
Establishment of Paternity
States are required to meet Federal standards for the establishment of paternity. The standard relates to the percentage obtained by dividing the number of children in the State who are born out of wedlock, are receiving cash benefits or IV-D child support services, and for whom paternity has been established by the number of children who are born out of wedlock and are receiving cash benefits or IV-D child support services. To meet Federal requirements, this percentage in a State must: (1) be at least 50 percent; (2) be at least equal to the average for all States; or (3) have increased by 3 percentage points from fiscal years 1988 to 1991 and by 3 percentage points each year thereafter.
States are mandated to require all parties in a contested paternity case to take a genetic test upon request of any party. The Federal matching rate for laboratory testing to establish paternity is set at 90 percent.
Disregard of Child Support
The child support enforcement disregard authorized under the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 is clarified so that it applies to a payment made by the noncustodial parent in the month it was due even though it was received in a subsequent month.
Requirement for Prompt State Response
The Secretary of DHHS required to set time limits within which States must accept and respond to requests for assistance in establishing and enforcing support orders as well as time limits within which child support payments collected by the State IV-D agency must be distributed to the families to whom they are owed.
Requirement for Automated Tracking and Monitoring System
Every State that does not have a Statewide automated tracking and monitoring system in effect must submit an advance planning document that meets Federal requirements by October 1, 1991. The Secretary must approve each document within nine months after submission. By October 1, 1995, every State must have an approved system in effect. Federal 90 percent matching rates for this activity expire September 30, 1995.
A Commission on Interstate Child Support was created to hold national conferences on interstate child support enforcement reform and to report to Congress no later than October 1, 1990 on recommendations for improvements in the system and revisions in the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act.
Computing Incentive Payments
Amounts spent by States for interstate demonstration projects are excluded from calculating the amount of the States' incentive payments.
Use of INTERNET System
The Secretaries of Labor and DHHS required to enter into an agreement to give the Federal Parent Locator Service prompt access to wage and unemployment compensation claims information useful in locating absent parents.
With respect to IV-D cases, each State must provide for immediate wage withholding in the case of orders that are issued or modified on or after the first day of the 25th month beginning after the date of enactment unless: (1) one of the parties demonstrates, and the court finds, that there is good cause not to require such withholding; or (2) there is a written agreement between both parties providing for an alternative arrangement. Prior law requirements for mandatory wage withholding in cases where payments are in arrears apply to orders that are not subject to immediate wage withholding. States are required to provide for immediate wage withholding for all support orders initially issued on or after January 1, 1994, regardless of whether a parent has applied for IV-D services.
Work and Training Demonstration Programs for Noncustodial Parents
The Secretary of DHHS is required to grant waivers to up to five States to allow them to provide services to noncustodial parents under the JOBS program. No new power is granted to the States to require participation by noncustodial parents.
Data Collection and Reporting
The Secretary of DHHS is required to collect and maintain State-by-State statistics on paternity establishment, location of absent parent for the purpose of establishing a support obligation, enforcement of a child support obligation, and location of absent parent for the purpose of enforcing or modifying an established obligation.
Use of Social Security Number
Each State must, in the administration of any law involving the issuance of a birth certificate, require each parent to furnish his or her social security number (SSN), unless the State finds good cause for not requiring the parent to furnish it. The SSN shall not appear on the birth certificate, and the use of the SSN obtained through the birth record is restricted to child support enforcement purposes, except under certain circumstances.
Notification of Support Collected
Each State required to inform families receiving AFDC of the amount of support collected on their behalf on a monthly basis, rather than annually as provided under prior law. States may provide quarterly notification if the Secretary of DHHS determines that monthly reporting imposes an unreasonable administrative burden. This provision is effective 4 years after the date of enactment.
P.L. 101-239, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989, made permanent the requirement that Medicaid benefits continue for 4 months after a family loses AFDC eligibility as a result of collection of child support payments.
P.L. 101-508, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, permanently extended the Federal provision that allows States to ask the IRS to collect child support arrearages of at least $500 out of income tax refunds otherwise due to noncustodial parents. The minor child restriction is to be eliminated for adults with a current support order who are disabled, as defined under OASDI or SSI. The IRS offset can be used for spousal support when spousal and child support are included in the same support order.
P.L. 101-508 also extended the life of the Interstate Child Support Commission from July 1, 1991 to July 1, 1992, required the Commission to submit its report no later than May 1, 1992, and authorized the Commission to hire its own staff.
P.L. 102-521, the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992, imposed a Federal criminal penalty for the willful failure to pay a past-due child support obligation with respect to a child who resides in another State that has remained unpaid for longer than a year or is greater than $5,000. For the first conviction the penalty is a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for not more than six months; for a second conviction, a fine of not more than $250,000 an/or imprisonment for up to two years.
P.L. 102-537, the Ted Weiss Child Support Enforcement Act of 1992, amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act to require consumer credit reporting agencies to include in any consumer report information on child support delinquencies provided by or verified by State or local CSE agencies, which antedates the report by 7 years.
P.L. 103-66, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, increased the percentage of children for whom the State must establish paternity and required States to adopt laws requiring civil procedures to voluntarily acknowledge paternity (including hospital-based programs).
P.L. 103-66 also required States to adopt laws to ensure the compliance of health insurers and employers in carrying out court or administrative orders for medical child support and included a provision that forbids health insurers to deny coverage to children who are not living with the covered individual or who were born outside of marriage.
P.L. 103-383, the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act, requires each state to enforce, according to its terms, a child support order by a court (or administrative authority) of another state, with conditions and specifications for resolving issues of jurisdiction.
P.L. 103-394, the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994, protects child support from being discharged in bankruptcy. Among many other provisions, the new law includes child support as an exception to automatic stays, for judicial liens, and to discharge of debts in bankruptcy. It also provides protection against trustee avoidance, facilitates access to bankruptcy proceedings, and assigns child support a priority for collecting claims from debtors.
P.L. 103-403, the Small Business Administration Reauthorization and Amendments Act, requires that recipients of financial assistance not be more than 60 days delinquent in paying child support.
P.L. 103-432, the Social Security Amendments of 1994, requires state IV-D agencies to periodically report parents who are at least two months delinquent in paying child support to credit bureaus, modifies the benchmarks under Paternity Establishment Percentage formula used to determine the states' substantial compliance, and requires DHHS to provide free access for the Justice Department to the Federal Parent Locator Service in cases involving the unlawful taking or restraint of a child and/or the making or enforcing of a child custody determination.
State GPRA Demonstrations
Arkansas is using employment counseling as an alternative to incarceration for young, unemployed noncustodial parents unable to pay child support because of their inability to get or maintain a job. The goal of this project is to increase child support collections and the involvement of young noncustodial parents with their families. Intermediate goals are to improve parents' skills and/or education, help them secure employment, and increase income so that noncustodial parents will be able to support their children.
California is testing whether making available special State seed money to fund innovative projects in local child support operations will assist in increasing child support collections quickly enough to allow the local operation to pay the State back in a single budget cycle. Local operations can "invest" the State investment fund money in any project meeting established criteria so long as the project improves the support enforcement program. Child support collections in local child support offices participating in the investment fund program are expected to increase enough to reimburse the State fund within a budget cycle. While for State purposes, the primary performance measure is net General Fund revenue increase, other critical performance measures include overall collection increases, increased orders established and modified, and increased paternities and locations.
Sacramento County is arranging with qualified health insurance carriers to provide low-cost medical insurance for children where obligors are self-employed or have no or high-cost medical insurance through their employers. The project provides for guaranteed acceptance of children referred by the District Attorney, coverage of preexisting medical conditions, benefits comparable to existing group health insurance plans, and a predetermined premium. To help ensure continuity of coverage, the plan allows the custodial parent to pay premiums whenever a noncustodial parent defaults. The objectives are to increase the number of children who have medical insurance policies in place and to increase savings to the State and Federal governments by reducing Medicaid costs through third party payment of medical services to dependent children.
Colorado intends to improve and measure all aspects of program performance with particular emphasis on testing performance indicators in the CSE national strategic plan. The project's goal is to test the process, using national performance measures, for measuring program objectives, producing data and reporting on program performance.
The District of Columbia aims to improve the timeliness of paternity establishment by mounting an outreach campaign to public and private health care providers involved in prenatal care; involving the IV-A agency in the dissemination of paternity affidavits at first-contact with the agency; involving non-traditional perinatal health-care providers in paternity establishment and information dissemination; providing a multi-media community outreach program; and developing uniform, written materials for dissemination to staff involved in institutional facilities where those most susceptible to out-of-wedlock births can be found. The goal is to decrease the number of out-of-wedlock births and increase the number of paternity establishments through outreach to professionals and improved IV-A/IV-D cooperation. The latter will be measured through increases in both paternity acknowledgements and petitions for support.
Idaho is focusing on and measuring all aspects of CSE program performance. Using a customer service questionnaire to collect baseline data, management improvements will address weak areas noted in the survey analysis, and a follow-up survey will determine effectiveness of the improvements. The goal is improved program performance measures through increased emphasis on customer service and improved program management.
Illinois established a "one-stop shopping" customer service center in Chicago that will create a more user-friendly child support enforcement system. The proposed innovations include streamlining the interviewing and paperwork processes, establishing cooperative agreements between governmental and community based entities, providing enhanced services for custodial parents, and addressing the employment needs of noncustodial parents. The goal is to increase child support payments and provide the opportunity for un/underemployed noncustodial parents to find work so they will be able to pay support. Objectives are to improve program compliance by custodial and noncustodial parents; establish voluntary paternities resulting from program interaction; establish support orders resulting from program interaction; and to compare support payments by noncustodial parents who receive services with the payments by those who receive no services.
Iowa will evaluate the cost effectiveness of using a centralized operation, REVAD, to review and adjust the amounts of child support orders. The model office will be located in the College of Family and Communication Services, Iowa State University. Iowa public assistance clients will be hired and Promise JOBS participants will be trained to work as CSE workers. Linkages will be established between human services and welfare reform components. Unemployed welfare recipients will gain the skills that they need to find unsubsidized employment and become self-sufficient. The REVAD model office is expected to increase child support collections and self-sufficiency by handling cases more efficiently and reducing the backlog; increasing client cooperation and customer satisfaction; and providing more time for workers to concentrate on enforcement issues.
Kansas is implementing an overall effort to improve the collection of third party medical support through a variety of activities such as: emphasizing medical support in outreach efforts; training IV-D staff in the legal and business principles of health insurance; and establishing better partnerships between the public sector and private industry. Medical support efforts will also be integrated into other initiatives targeted toward teen parents. Kansas expects to improve the delivery of medical support services by fostering cooperation and effective working relationships between recipients and providers.
In conjunction with the development of Massachusetts' statewide, automated system, the State has undertaken a re-engineering project to redesign the business practices which will be supported by the new system. The redesigned practices include not only implementation of the system, but "best practices" of local offices, other States and businesses. The Wakefield Regional Office, the location of the statewide Customer Service Center, will be a primary evaluation site. The project will demonstrate the use of enforcement teams for use with cases that cannot be handled by the automated system. The evaluation of the project will use pre- and post-measures to determine the effectiveness of the re-engineering. Through implementation of both the automated system and the redesigned business practices, the State plans to increase child support collections by effective and efficient performance of all child support functions. Effectiveness will be measured through outputs, including quality and quantity measures. Customer service functions will be measured through call volumes/disposals and surveys of customers pre- and post-implementation.
Missouri is using a community-based approach to increase paternity establishment. By enlisting the assistance of other government agencies, schools, churches, and community organizations, the State intends to make inroads into the cultural environment--making the acceptance of parental responsibilities the right thing to do. The State is also utilizing the Regional Office's Teen Pregnancy/Parent Team to access national data, resources and publications from other States. By 1999/2000, Missouri expects to foster a social environment in which AFDC recipients cooperate with paternity establishment and fathers are willing to admit paternity. Missouri also expects to create a presumption of paternity at the following rates for children born outside of marriage: 75% for children born prior to January 1, 1995, 50% for children born after January 1, 1995 increasing the rate to 90 percent for children born after January 1, 1999.
Nebraska will attempt to reinvent a rural, multi-county child support office with a small staff through a series of measurable changes and improvements.
New Jersey is sharing procedures and case selection criteria with other states in Region II in order to increase the number of cases suitable for submission under the 1992 Child Support Recovery Act to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Also, to improve paternity establishment, the State is developing a birth facility/hospital-based model which permits electronic processing of voluntary paternity acknowledgements, notification of births, parent information and other data essential to assist in establishing paternity.
New York is measuring the impact of revisions to the current IRS full collections process, accessing better financial and asset information to improve collection of arrears, and sharing their findings with other Region II states.
With the implementation of its new, statewide automated computer system, North Carolina plans to re-engineer its performance measures, providing a unique opportunity to measure the impact of automation on productivity and service delivery. The State is currently divided into 69 county administered offices and 15 State administered offices. The pilot would be conducted in the 15 state-operated CSE offices. The project's goal is improved and more efficient delivery of services in all CSE functional areas, and increased collections.
Ohio will evaluate their effectiveness by conducting detailed county-by-county analyses of key performance elements; phasing in a quality control assessment project; making additional changes to their incentive structure; and continuing to expand and enhance administrative processes. One-third of Ohio's caseload of approximately 900,000 cases need paternity established. The goal is to increase the number of paternities established and the amount of child support collected.
Oklahoma is piloting the draft standardized wage withholding form as well as the system for identifying Social Security Numbers. Expectations are that the use of the new and standardized wage withholding form will improve relationships with employers and improve the time frame within which wage withholdings are initiated and collections are received. The SSN identification system will result in increases in locating noncustodial parents and, thus, increases in paternity and order establishments and child support collections.
In Pennsylvania, Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) is implementing a program of "Zero Tolerance." The initiative is targeted to obligors who are not candidates for wage withholding and fail to make scheduled child support payments. This would include parents who are self-employed, independent contractors, workers in the underground economy, and those who fail to report income but have obvious means of support. The goal is to increase child support collections and to improve the ability of the court's Family Division to act when wage withholding is not an option.
The Philadelphia project includes a Child Support Outreach and Amnesty Program, which utilizes nontraditional work hours through a series of enforcement conferences at convenient neighborhood locations. Selected obligors receive notice to appear and to bring proof of employment, income, and medical coverage. The cooperative obligors make good faith payment on arrears, sign wage attachments, provide for medical support, and are referred for job training or placement. Action taken against uncooperative obligors include contempt of court, report to credit bureaus, and names advertised in local newspaper. It includes a Skip Tracing to Collect Support which utilizes evening telephone calls and standardized scripts to contact delinquent payors. The Interactive Kiosk project provides services to clients for case initiation, updates, and information at throughout the city. The Daytime Quality Service heightens the quality of services by emphasizing courteous and well-informed interactions with clients.
Puerto Rico is using 1099 data for asset seizure; conducting an outreach campaign to reinforce parental responsibility principles; and developing quantitative and qualitative measurement criteria to determine the effectiveness of various activities associated with early paternity establishment.
South Carolina is initiating a statewide teenage pregnancy prevention program in middle- and high schools that focuses particularly on the moral and financial obligations of parenthood. The project, which will use volunteers, will be co-sponsored by the State's self-sufficiency program director and CSE program director. Over a three-year period, the educational program intends to delay parenting by teenagers until they are financially and emotionally ready, and to promote self-sufficiency among young adults. This will be measured by a reduction in teen-age births and a reduction in the number of child support cases involving teenagers.
In Vermont, they will calculate national "ideal" child support collection amounts. The State IV-D office, using a variety of national and state data sources, wants to quantify the amount of child support that children in each State should receive. Total ideal collections for each State would be individually developed using each State's guideline calculations and the State's labor/wage data.
The objective is to draw profiles--nationally and for each State--of what children should, ideally, receive and what they do receive in support. The profiles will also seek to identify and measure the impact of common reasons behind problematic collections.
In Washington, the State has established a Pro Se Family Law Research Center in the Seattle Office of Support Enforcement. There, clients will use instructions for producing legal documents from programmed computers, intended to help them obtain and modify their own support awards, parental rights and visitation. They will also be given legal resources available at little or no cost. Trained support enforcement personnel will be stationed at the Center. The expectations are that by speeding up the review and adjustment process, and paring a backlog of review and adjustment cases, collections will increase as child support amounts will be more closely tied to current circumstance. Paternity establishments and collections should increase because parents will be given the opportunity to simultaneously develop a parenting plan, thus building a stronger bond between emotional and financial support.
Washington's multi-dimensional Everett County project is designed to improve various aspects of the program. In the first module, it will try to improve coordination with the IV-A office by colocation of staff or telephone interviews at the time of AFDC application. The second module will focus on increased employment for unemployed and underemployed obligors. The third module supports the second in that reception staff will provide obligors with information on training and employment opportunities. The fourth module will involve coordination with community service offices and community family -planning offices. These projects are expected to collectively improve the collection rate by: expediting action on AFDC cases; making more resources available to noncustodial parents so that they can share those resources with their children; and decreasing the pregnancy rate through information to teens and others.
In the summer of 1995, six New England States--Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont--signed a compact with the ACF Regional Office to collaborate on region-wide as well as state-specific strategies for improving the child support enforcement program throughout New England. They drafted and later approved a written agreement to identify and develop performance measurements for improving child support enforcement services and to set individual State performance goals.
Individual performance goals were negotiated on a state-by-state basis, and agreements were signed with each of the six New England States between March and May of 1995. These agreements now provide the benchmarks for each State's performance and are the basis for developing Federal /State program improvement strategies. The New England Compact should result in a measurable improvement in child support performance in the region, particularly in interstate collections from within the six-state region.
In Region II, New Jersey, New York, and Puerto Rico are working together in a variety of ways. New York's assets seizure project is measuring the impact of the use of IRS 1099 data in locating and seizing assets or property, thereby reducing outstanding arrears. The effort is further supported by the SSA Enumeration Verification System which identifies SSN's by matching only names and birth-dates. The goal is to increase the collection rate for arrears and improve interstate case processing.
New York is measuring the impact of revisions to the current IRS full collection process. Revisions would include those made in the FY93 Full-Collection Pilot -- a shortened certification letter, reduction in the collection fee, and a tape submission. The goal is to increase collections. Actual sums collected will be dependent upon the number of cases having gone through full-enforcement services at the State level, and the actual assets located.
As part of this regional approach, New York may adopt New Jersey's case selection criteria, procedures and forms for submitting cases to the U.S. Attorney's Office under the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992. The goal is to increase collection rates. Actual impacts will depend on the number of cases that the U.S. Attorney's office can /will prosecute. New York proposes to measure the impact of implementing a mechanism which permits the jurisdictions in their region to have direct access to the registry of commercial drivers licenses. Once the planned non-commercial licensed drivers registry is developed, the region proposes to develop an interface between the registry and the FPLS or individual SPLS for locating non-custodial parents across state lines. The goal is to locate more non-custodial parents.
The Region proposes to pool personnel and fiscal resources in the development of training material for staff involved in-hospital, pre-natal, or other health-care facilities. New Jersey will take the lead in developing multi-media/lingual and multi-cultural information materials for distribution to parents of children born outside of marriage. The goal is to improve the rate of paternity establishments. Regional and State staff propose to conduct workshops and discussion groups to introduce and reinforce parental responsibility principles. The ACF Regional Office will conduct a competition in New Jersey and New York inviting teenagers to develop written, oral and visual material that will promote parental responsibility concepts among young people. The winners of the competition will become members of a Teen Child Support Advisory panel. The goal of this project is to change behaviors and beliefs regarding parenting and child support as measured by decreased birth-rates among teenagers.
Region VII States--Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska--are undertaking an entire regional plan to include activities related to an ongoing Program Improvement Training grant focusing on improved service delivery by front-line staff; enhanced customer service; and CSE leadership development. The Region is also developing a model communications system to enhance linkage between Central/Regional/State offices. The Federal Area Audit Office in Topeka will partner with the Regional Office and States by offering specialized results-oriented expertise related to performance outcomes. Other resources/partners include utilizing Missouri's experience with a CSE internal quality assurance program, as well as cross-training workshops for states on interfacing IV-A/IV-D/IV-F and the broader culture change reengineering. Also, each State will pilot one aspect of reinvention most applicable to that State, but agreed to jointly by all the States.