OCSE regional offices host periodic trainings on financial management and federal reporting to ensure states comply with federal regulations and to help our grantees address program challenges and meet performance standards. This is one of many activities regional staff offer, working directly with state, local, and tribal child support offices.
Regional offices play an essential role in implementing, monitoring, and evaluating activities associated with planning and administering the child support program. Here are examples of routine tasks:
Perform timely and accurate reviews of state and tribal plans and OCSE waivers
Monitor state and tribal submissions of federally required reports and provide technical assistance as needed
Conduct research of child support enforcement statutes, regulations, and legislative history
Conduct annual site visits with grantees, and track and identify technical assistance activities with child support agencies
Each quarter, we analyze grantee-submitted statistical reports and prepare summary reports. These summaries contain our analysis, appropriate corrective action proposals for program improvement when needed, and recommendations.
We collaborate with our OCSE colleagues in the Office of Audit and Division of Federal Systems to provide child support grantee agencies with the best technical assistance on federal financial reporting. The data in these reports has to be accurate so regional program specialists can provide effective strategies for improving state and tribal performance.
We also schedule onsite visits with state and tribal programs to meet with grantee senior leadership, tour facilities, and discuss best practices and challenges. Besides this work, we analyze and communicate new statutory and regulatory policy requirements and objectives.
Staff provide policy interpretations and share education on child support core services in response to public inquiries. We even find time to collaborate with program officials across jurisdictions about strategies and OCSE activities to help guide families toward self-sufficiency.
Regional staff assist families on their road to becoming self-sufficient by meeting them where they are, which has provided opportunities to engage justice-involved parents at correctional facilities. For example, since incarcerated parents can face many challenges affecting their reintegration efforts, Region 4 staff joined Georgia Child Support Services program staff in explaining the advantages of the child support system. During a visit to a transitional center in Columbus, GA, staff discussed ways that justice-involved parents could better manage their arrears. The staff also connected the parents to organizations tasked with addressing other issues such as housing, job training, debt management, visitation, and other supportive services.
Overall, regional staff are subject matter experts. We serve as facilitators and technical leads on special projects involving shared program information, issues, and challenges child support offices experience in a multitude of areas, including financial reporting, urban jurisdiction, and intergovernmental matters.
Tasha Brown is a program specialist in Region 4. For more information, contact the OCSE program specialist for your region.