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Availability of FFP for Making Arrests Pursuant to Appropriate State Process - Updated

AT-18-04

Published: June 29, 2018

ACTION TRANSMITTAL

AT-18-04

DATE: June 29, 2018

TO: State IV-D Agencies

SUBJECT: Availability of FFP for Making Arrests Pursuant to Appropriate State Process - Updated

In 1979, OCSE issued AT-79-03 to clarify situations where federal funding is available for the cost of making arrests necessary to enforce support obligations. This Action Transmittal (AT) revises the requirement to submit purchase of service agreements for staff who spend less than full time making child support related arrests for prior approval from once a year to once every 3 years. States must submit these agreements to the appropriate OCSE Regional Program Office. We also updated regulatory references. Additionally, with this AT, OCSE rescinds AT-79-03.

FFP is available for the cost of making arrests to enforce support obligations in the following situations:

  • Arrest is made by employee(s) of state or local child support agencies, in accordance with state law; or
  • Arrest is made by employee(s) of an agency, in accordance with state law, that provides child support services under a cooperative agreement with a state or local child support agency. (Please note that all cooperative agreements must meet the requirements in 45 CFR 302.34 and 45 CFR 303.107.)

The term “arrest”, as used in this AT, means taking an individual into physical custody and transporting that person to the court that ordered his or her arrest in connection with the enforcement of a support obligation. This excludes incarceration, arraignment, and other activities that may occur as the result of an arrest. Federal funding for the costs of these non‑arrest activities are prohibited by 45 CFR 75.444(a) since these activities are the overall responsibilities of state or local governments. Child support regulations at 45 CFR 304.23(i) also prohibit the use of title IV-D funding for the cost of incarceration in child support cases.

Additionally, FFP is available for the cost of making arrests when they are performed under a purchase of service agreement in accordance with 45 CFR 304.22. State and local child support agencies may contract directly with other state and local government agencies to conduct arrests for the enforcement of support obligations. For example, if a state or local child support agency entered into a purchase of service agreement with a sheriff or police agency to make arrests, FFP is available for these costs.

The following conditions apply to the availability of FFP for the arrest function under a purchase of service agreement.

  • Purchase of service agreements to obtain arrest services will not be subject to federal prior approval if the individuals who perform these activities devote their working hours 100 percent to IV-D arrest activities.

The most cost-effective basis to provide these services and assure they are adequate to meet the needs of the program is by establishing a unit within the agency providing arrest services. If this unit only makes arrests for child support cases, there will be no problem setting priorities for staff between child support arrest needs and other duties. Also, no allocation of costs incurred in compensating these individuals will be required.

  • Purchase of arrest services will be permitted when individuals making arrests do not work exclusively on child support matters. However, in these situations, the purchase of service agreement and availability of FFP require prior approval by the appropriate OCSE Regional Program Office.

OCSE must ensure compliance with the requirements of 45 CFR 304.22 that “. . . rates of payment . . . do not exceed the amounts reasonable and necessary to assure quality of such service and . . . the cost reasonably assignable to such services. . . ." [Also see 45 CFR 75.405(a).] Approval by the OCSE Regional Program Office will take into consideration these requirements and the factors listed below, and will be effective for a 3‑year period of operation under the agreement. The arrest activity under the agreement, including revised agreement(s), will continue to be subject to prior approval. Therefore, 90 days before expiration of the approval period, the state must resubmit the agreement and any necessary supporting documentation to the OCSE Regional Program Office for prior approval.

During the prior approval of these agreements, the OCSE Regional Program Office must review the following factors for each agreement.

  • The adequacy of the justification for not using staff dedicated solely to the child support arrest function.
  • The adequacy of the methodology used for allocating and reporting costs of the services provided. To the extent that the cost of these services are assessed by a unit charge, the reasonableness of the charge must be evaluated. The level of payment might be conditioned on whether the request for arrest is successful.
  • The adequacy of the recordkeeping process which must show the number of cases referred and the number of successes and failures in making arrests.

The review conducted by the OCSE Regional Program Office must be completed within 30 days of receipt of the state request for prior approval of the agreement. However, if the OCSE Regional Program Office needs additional information from the state or time to make a determination, the OCSE Regional Program Office may ask the state for additional information or time to complete the review. Additionally, the OCSE Regional Program Office may need to review state operations under the agreement to ensure that claims for federal funds are properly made. Once the OCSE Regional Program Office makes a determination regarding prior approval of an agreement, the state will be immediately notified in writing of the decision.

ACTION REQUIRED: States should submit these agreements to the appropriate OCSE Regional Program Office.

REFERENCES: 45 CFR 302.34, 303.107, and 304.22

SUPERSEDES: AT-79-03

EFFECTIVE DATE: Date of publication

INQUIRIES: ACF OCSE Regional Program Managers

Scott M. Lekan
Commissioner
Office of Child Support Enforcement

Last Reviewed: June 29, 2018

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