Compilation of Innovative Public Information and Outreach Campaigns
Best Practices and New Directions, Update of Reach out for Child
SEPTEMBER 20, 1994
TO: ALL STATE AGENCIES ADMINISTERING CHILD SUPPORT
ENFORCEMENT PLANS APPROVED UNDER TITLE IV-D OF THE
SOCIAL SECURITY ACT AND OTHER INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS
SUBJECT: Update of Reach out for Child Support: Best Practices
and New Directions, a compilation of innovative public
information and outreach campaigns.
BACKGROUND: Attached is a supplement to our December, 1992
description of public affairs campaigns and materials.
We have emphasized early paternity establishment,
working with teens, and positive outreach campaigns,
and we have added a chapter about "getting tough" with
parents who don't pay. For our next supplement, we
would like to highlight celebrations, such as Fathers'
Day and Child Support Awareness Months or Weeks, and
in-hospital or early paternity establishment videos.
Assessments of how your outreach has worked,
especially any formal evaluations, are very helpful.
We would also like materials about financing a public
affairs campaign, for example, the cost of a campaign,
the benefits of sharing materials with other States,
drawing upon private foundations or the business
community for financial support, etc. If you have
materials, or ideas about other areas to highlight,
please contact Rob Cohen, in the Office of Public
ATTACHMENT: REACH OUT FOR CHILD SUPPORT, II
Best Practices and New Directions
INQUIRIES: OCSE, Office of Public Information/Inquiries,
David Gray Ross
Office of Child Support
--CHANGING PUBLIC PERCEPTION--
An important objective of public affairs outreach is to encourage
responsible parenting: we want to convey strongly that people who
bear children are responsible for their financial and emotional
well-being. A good public affairs program is one of our most
effective enforcement remedies if it creates a climate in which:
non-custodial parents pay their child support faithfully
custodial parents work effectively with their child support
society treats full and regular payment of support as the
"norm" for people with a support obligation.
Here is an update on what State and local CSE offices are doing to
sway public opinion away from tolerance of non-payment of support, to
encourage non-custodial parents to act in the best interest of their
children, and to give custodial parents the knowledge they need to
work successfully with the child support program.
California has launched a multimedia child support public
awareness campaign. The primary goals of the campaign are to
educate the public about California's child support problem and
to remind delinquent parents of their legal and financial
obligations to their children. Delinquent parents are alerted
to new consequences they face when support goes unpaid. Media
materials are designed to increase public awareness and help
make non-payment of support socially and legally inappropriate.
The project is managed by media professionals at California
State University, Chico. The campaign was set in motion through
a series of public service announcements to educate the public
about the financial responsibility of parenthood.
Among the materials they prepared is a poster showing a child
holding hands with both parents. Its legend reads: S.H.A.R.E.
(Support Has A Real Effect). The poster informs the public that
the love and care of both parents can help children reach their
full potential, and it tells parents that making regular child
support payments provides more than financial assistance.
Support payments show children that both parents want them to
have what they need to grow up strong and healthy. The poster
encourages parents to get involved with their children because
their children deserve it.
Kings County California television and radio stations aired two
public service announcements (PSAs). The TV psa showed children
at play and encouraged parents to pay child support. The radio
psa used a question and answer format to disseminate information
in the community. The psas were done in both English and
The county CSE office contacted the public directly, displaying
child support information materials in a booth at the Kings
County fair. Handbooks and promotional items such as pens,
balloons, magnets and book markers imprinted with the Family
Support Division's address and telephone number were given out.
Staff also give presentations to social organizations such as
the Lions Club and the Rotary Club.
Kings County has adapted its Child Support Public Outreach
Program to meet the needs of the community:
Child Support training and guidance sessions were given at
two local prisons as part of the pre-release program to
advise inmates of their responsibilities to their children
upon release from prison.
Kings County has a large military population. For this
population, CSE staff gave training for military chaplains,
officers and counselors from the Navy's family service
center. The training was informational, and CSE materials
were provided to counselors for their use.
Articles ran in local newspapers and on billboards advertising
the purpose and goals of the child support program. Flyers on
the program were distributed to local businesses.
The County sponsored an art contest at a local junior college to
design a poster about the importance of paying child support.
The Illinois Department of Public Aid and the State Toll Highway
Authority launched a campaign urging parents to make proper
child support payments. To get the message out to motorists,
tollway officials posted 250 signs advocating child support at
toll plazas on several Interstates. The signs, "Let's Take Care
of Our Kids. Pay Your Child Support," are printed in English and
Iowa produced a flyer that displays a photo of two children, and
reads, " How Important are Your Child Support Payments? Ask
Your Kids". The flyer lists the costs of normal childhood
expenses: a haircut - $9, jeans - $20, coat - $40, day care -
$100, dental care - $78, school supplies - $42, school bag -
$12, shoes - $12. The message to non-custodial parents is that
their child support payments buy children the things they need
and deserve. A parent who pays support is an important part of
a child's life, everyday.
Another flyer shows a child's mittened hand held out. The
caption reads: "Missing your child support payments? So are
they. Please, make your child support payments."
A third flyer shows a child's old sneakers and reads, "Child
Support. Some kids just don't get it. Please, make your child
New Mexico aired radio and television psas emphasizing the need
for non-custodial parents to pay their child support, both
because of the importance to the child's emotional and financial
well-being and because failure to pay could result in time in
jail. The ads also let custodial parents who are not receiving
child support know that the State can help them secure the
support that their children are entitled to.
Oklahoma has developed a flyer, (white lettering on a black
background), that pictures a judge's gavel striking down, with a
caption that reads, "Child Support: It's Not a Choice, It's the
Law." The flyer lists a toll-free number so that anyone who
wishes to call to get more information can do so.
Washington produced a flyer showing a shopping bag filled to the
brim with groceries. It reads, "Your Child Support is in This
Bag. Thanks for Paying Your Child Support." The message to
non-custodial parents is that their support could make a
difference as to whether or not their children have food to eat.
A Wisconsin newspaper advertisement showed a father and child -
and a caption that read, "Your children not only deserve your
love and support...They depend on it". It went on to say, that
"if you or anyone you know requires information on how to obtain
or collect child support, contact your county Child Support
Enforcement Agency or the State Agency."
--WORKING WITH TEENAGERS--
Facing the third year of sharp increases in federal assistance to
families begun by a teenager, American taxpayers spent $34.04 billion
in 1992 on the cost of teen childbearing, a 17 percent increase over
1991 costs of $29.28 billion.
In its eighth annual calculation of the cost of teen childbearing,
the Center for Population Options (CPO) estimated that each family
begun in 1992 by a first birth to a teen 15-17 years of age will cost
the public, on average, over $25,575 over the next 20 years.
(Press Release, The Center for Population Options,
Preventing teen pregnancies is the goal of not only the CSE program
but of a number of community, State and Federal programs. Among the
suggestions made at the OBRA '93 Conference in Virginia in April:
Encourage a central repository in the State for information
about what various groups are doing to encourage teens to delay
involve State and county executive offices in bringing resources
together and gathering work statements about goals of
reach out to health and education interest groups to pool
People - both teenagers and adults - who bring a child into the world
should do so thoughtfully and with full awareness of the importance
of that step.
Here is what some States are doing to make teens aware of the
consequences of early parenting:
Arkansas has pulled together material from several States to
encourage teens to delay parenting until they are emotionally
and financially able to take care of a baby and to inform teens
who have already started a pregnancy or who are already parents
about laws, resources and responsibilities.
"Looking Beyond Teenage Pregnancy" is the newspaper comic
tabloid in which male and female teens ask questions about
paternity and parenting. The tabloid lists telephone numbers
and addresses of local child support offices in the State. This
publication, adapted from Georgia's, has been used in a number
In their all-out effort to stem the tide of pregnancies among
teenagers, Arkansas has adapted Maryland's Adolescent Pregnancy
"Am I Ready?", based on Washington State's package, is a
curriculum for child support enforcement education for use in
grades 7 through 9, focuses on teen parenting rather than teen
pregnancy. The curriculum was designed to introduce teens to
the problems of teen parenting, and to increase their knowledge
of the legal issues - paternity and child support - involved in
being a single parent. It is hoped that the course will
encourage teens to postpone parenting until they are older.
The curriculum includes comprehensive information about how
paternity is established, and rights and responsibilities of the
parents and benefits to the child. Course materials include a
manual for teachers with lesson plans in Math, English, Biology,
Debate, Family Life and Art. Two video tapes are included in
the curriculum package. One tape, entitled Time Out, is a 10
minute video of general information of the child support
enforcement program, and is presented in short individual
stories. The other tape, Draw Your Own Conclusions, is a 15
minute tape of a mock game show played by teenagers answering
questions about parenting and the importance of establishing
California is developing a Child Support Teaching Packet
curriculum designed for students in grades 9-12. This program
will help students build a basic understanding of the child
support process, such as paternity establishment, how support
orders are established and how child support payments are
enforced. The program will expose the students to new attitudes
about parenting, and, it is hoped, will influence them to become
more responsible. It teaches that paternity establishment is
vital to ensure the father's financial responsibility and to
ensure the benefits the process affords the child and both
Connecticut has adapted Maine's brochure entitled, "Becoming a
Teenage Father Is No Joke." The brochure is in question and
answer format and informs teen fathers of their rights and
responsibilities under the law. The brochure is written in
English and Spanish.
New Jersey, with a poster campaign, is challenging teen fathers
to take responsibility for supporting their children. The
posters, written in English and Spanish, will be displayed on
New Jersey transit buses and trains and will also be made
available to high schools throughout the State. The posters
display New Jersey's child support hotline telephone number.
The posters' message to teens is that, no matter how young or
how old they are, they are responsible for their children. The
posters were adopted from Maryland's Governor's Council on
Adolescent Pregnancy Campaign.
New Mexico's goal, with their RAP!: Responsibility, Awareness
and Parenthood program, is the prevention of teen pregnancy.
It was developed to make teens aware of the legal and financial
consequences of pregnancy. The goal of RAP! Responsibility,
Awareness and Parenthood, is to attempt to reduce teen medicaid
and welfare expenditures by decreasing the burden to taxpayers.
A flyer shows a teenage boy and girl having fun roller skating.
The caption reads: What's Happening? RAP! Responsibility,
Awareness and Parenthood. (Teens talking to Teens). The flyer
lists a telephone number for people to call for additional
Ohio has a user-friendly brochure, "Males, Babies and Ohio Law"
that explains to teen fathers what their responsibilities are to
their children under State law.
Texas' Real Life magazine is a user-friendly publication,
designed to capture the attention of teenagers and young adults
to provide them with information they need to know about being a
parent. The magazine lets teenagers understand that being young
does not void their responsibility of parenthood. The magazine
answers questions about paternity establishment for Texas teens.
Real Life is a revision of the popular comic created by Georgia
child support officials and is filled with photos of teens. The
magazine is written in both English and Spanish.
Colorado and Fresno, California - 1991
Paternity PSA: :30, Video: 6:00
Teenage girls and boys. "I don't know why I thought my
boyfriend would be there forever.... I miss hanging out with my
friends." "Kids need to know their daddies. They have the
right to support and they have the right to know their
fathers.... Paternity means taking responsibility - you and the
baby's father." "Any kid can have a baby, but if you're going
to be a father you have to be an adult."
San Joachin Valley, California: 14:
Keep Your Freedom - Keep Your Dreams.
Features teenagers, 14 - 17 years old, who had babies. They
talk about having to put their dreams on hold. "I thought that
it would never happen to me" "My friends call and I can't talk
because I have to take care of the baby" "He wants to do things
with his friends. I really need him to be here with me." "The
toughest part is that a baby takes 100% of your time. You can't
be a kid - you have to grow up." "Your dreams change. Wait.
You have a whole life ahead of you. Your teenage years are the
best part of your life."
Arkansas - Time Out For Child Support
Song: Let's take care of our kids, its the right thing to do.
Scenarios include one in which a young man is shooting baskets
and saying that the NBA wanted him, he was six months away from
the big time, but he had to get a full time job. He has a
beautiful baby girl, a little person who depends on him. "The
NBA will have to wait. I have a bigger game to play -
In another scenario, a woman, with her husband and child at a
playground, talks about her husband having been tracked down for
child support after 5 years. He had dated a girl in school who
left without telling him that she was pregnant. Now child
support is taken out of his paycheck and their dreams are on
Interspersed among four scenarios are facts about poverty in
single parent households, enforcement remedies, blood testing,
--ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE--
One of the most powerful tools available to us to get child support
payments to the children who need them is public affairs. Program
professionals recognize that the most cost-effective collection is
achieved when a non-custodial parent willingly complies with his or
her support obligation. We want our message to be POSITIVE: By
emphasizing the personal rewards of supporting one's children, we can
increase voluntary compliance rates.
Child Support Awareness Celebrations and Fathers Day are popular
times for upbeat outreach:
California used "Father's Day" to kick off its child support
public awareness campaign to increase child support payments for
In front of a backdrop of a billboard with the message "Child
Support is More than Money... . Get Involved -- Your children
deserve it," State officials, lawmakers, and a group of fathers
appeared at a press conference on the capitol steps to launch
the campaign. It was hoped that the billboard would increase
public awareness about the need for parents to provide both
emotional and financial support for their children.
A "media kit" prepared by California State University, Chico
included posters, pins, press releases, a hard copy of a video
presentation, and statistical information used in the campaign
relating to special projects the State is working on. Material
in the media kit highlighted accomplishments of the agency in
child support collections.
California proclaimed August 1993 as Child Support Awareness
Month and aimed public awareness efforts at educating the
public, parents and future parents about the legal and social
requirements that accompany parenthood, the social and fiscal
crises stemming from the non-support problem, and the child
support services available through the Child Support Program.
August 1994 was again Child Support Awareness Month. As the
vanguard of the 1994 public awareness campaign, the Department
of Social Services sent posters, "Thanks Dad! It's the Right
Thing to Do! Paying child support is not the only way to show
you love your child, but it is a very important one," to the
State Legislature, County Welfare Directors, Family Support
Divisions, District Attorneys, and hospitals.
Iowa's public awareness campaign: Child Support. It's For Your
Kids was launched to increase voluntary child support payments
from non-custodial parents. Public service announcements were
featured on television, radio, billboards and in newspapers
Michigan planned a father's day campaign with a positive theme.
Billboards, bus placards and a radio public service announcement
encouraged non-custodial parents to stay involved with their
Another campaign encouraged custodial parents to write letters
telling how regular payments benefit their children, and how
non-payment of child support affects their children. The local
newspapers were alerted to the campaign so they could do a
feature article based on these true stories.
New Mexico held Child Support Awareness Week the week of June 20
through June 26, 1993 - the week starting with Fathers' Day - an
opportune time to raise awareness about child support issues.
All citizens who have responsibility for the financial welfare
of New Mexico's children were urged to fulfill their obligations
and to pledge their support of their children. The State also
thanked non-custodial parents who take care of their children,
reminded fathers to think of their children on Father's Day and
everyday and to remember that being a father is a lifetime
Television, radio and newspaper advertisements were used to
convince the public of the need for parents to emotionally and
financially support their children. The advertisements
emphasized the need for non-custodial parents to pay their child
support and alerted custodial parents who are not receiving
child support that the State can help.
Texas' statewide "Father's Day Public Awareness Campaign"
encouraged fathers to voluntarily pay their court-ordered child
support and help their families become self-sufficient, despite
their relationship with ex-spouses. The campaign featured a
public service announcement acknowledging fathers who take their
financial responsibility seriously. During this campaign,
fathers who were serious about providing for the welfare and
future of their children were saluted.
Texas proclaimed August 1993 as Child Support Awareness Month to
remind the general public of the importance of paying child
support and inform them how vital the support is to children's
--PATERNITY ESTABLISHMENT - RIGHT FROM THE START--
Paternity is established in only one third of unwed births. Yet
research suggests that eighty percent of fathers are at the hospital
at the time of birth. As time passes, however, the father is less
likely to be there.
The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (OBRA) requires States
to have provision for hospital-based paternity establishment, and
voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. Prior to this legislation,
several States had hospital based programs to establish paternity at
birth. Under these programs, trained hospital medical or
administrative personnel obtain the signed affidavit, process the
paperwork, fulfill informed consent requirements, and provide parents
with information about the benefits of paternity establishment and
the availability of support enforcement services.
The Family Support Act requires states to have procedures for
establishing paternity for any child at least up to the child's 18th
birthday. States must also have procedures for using genetic testing
in contested paternity cases.
California is piloting hospital-based paternity establishment
programs in three counties. The Department of Social Services
is working with county family support divisions, State and local
vital statistics offices, hospitals and other interested parties
to develop a voluntary acknowledgement declaration and process
that will fit into the existing birth certificate filing
Directors of the Departments of Social and Health Services
issued a joint letter formally introducing and expressing their
support for paternity acknowledgement pilot projects. They
point out that the sharp rise in births to unmarried women is a
key factor in the growth of welfare and medical dependency in
California, that there are currently over 220,000 cases which
need to have paternity established, and that the current process
for establishing paternity is costly, time-consuming and
burdensome to local agencies and courts. They call for a
partnership between the public and private sector, and urge the
support and interest of all county IV-D Directors, District
Attorneys, Deputy Registrars of Vital statistics, and the
California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.
Illinois. "A Gift That Lasts a Lifetime: Early Hospital
Parentage Establishment." Since January 1, 1993, Illinois
hospitals, physicians and midwives have been required to give
unmarried parents an opportunity to establish parentage for
their newborn children. "Early Parentage Consent" forms and
brochures are provided to all unmarried parents. For the
parents who choose to establish parentage through this method,
the hospital forwards the completed legal documents to the
Bureau of Vital Records Registrar, along with the Certificate of
Live Birth. The Registrar forwards a copy of the registered
birth certificate and the original legal documents to the Clerk
of the Circuit Court. Upon signature of the judge, the Clerk
forwards copies of the consent of parentage order to the
Illinois Division of Child Support Enforcement for further
To advertise the Early Hospital Parentage Establishment process,
flyers were sent out to HMOs, Association of Midwives, hospital
organizations, newsletter editors, community groups and
The flyers, "Giving Newborns a Lifelong Gift", tell about the
Illinois law and describe the possible benefits of establishing
parentage early: the emotional and financial support of both
parents; a higher standard of living from both parents; not
having to rely on public assistance (and decreased tax payer's
costs); knowledge of the natural father's medical history and
any health problems; medical insurance from the natural father's
Pink and blue posters, flyers and fact sheets, written in both
English and Spanish, congratulate new parents and tell them to
give their newborns a lifelong gift right at birth by
establishing parentage. This process, to establish the natural
father's legal relationship to his newborn child, can be
completed while at the hospital. The advertisements, showing a
hugh gift-wrapped box, a rattle and a teddy bear leaning against
the box, let parents know that children have the right to count
on both parents.
The advertisements also tell parents that by establishing
parentage, they give their child the love and care that their
child deserves. The process gives their child financial
security from benefits such as: Social Security, Medical
coverage, Veteran's benefits and possible and inheritance. The
process also gives their child a sense of identity; Every child
wants to belong and wants to know both parents. A child's
healthy development may depend on medical and genetic
information from both parents. A toll-free telephone number is
listed for additional information.
Materials include talking points, video and audio psas,
brochures written from the mother's and the father's points of
view, and table displays as well.
New Mexico State law requires hospitals to seek affidavits of
paternity from the fathers of children born to unwed mothers
within 10 days of birth of the child. The Child Support
Enforcement Division is developing a "paternity packet" for
hospitals to give to unwed parents of newborns that outlines the
legal implications, obligations and benefits of establishing
paternity. The Division is developing a training program for
hospital employees who will implement the new law.
Virginia has a District Office Guide to Establishing a Paternity
Establishment Project to encourage their offices to follow
through with their area hospitals on establishing early
voluntary acknowledgement programs. The guide gives background
on the project, touches on how to approach hospital personnel,
points to emphasize, and hospital responsibilities.
Washington has prepared Paternity Affidavit Program Instructions
for Hospitals and Midwives: Social Security Numbers; Paternity
Affidavits - value, requirements and how to complete the
affidavit; How to Obtain Materials; Further Questions and
Training Opportunities. Their 1992 Paternity Affidavit Program
Summary indicates that in three years the number of affidavits
received have increased from 2,000 to more than 10,000 each
year. And, affidavits are coming in earlier - 27 days in 1992
as opposed to 44 days in 1991. The program helps OSE obtain an
administrative order for child support - the Notice and Finding
of Parental Responsibility (NFPR) default order, an Agreed
Settlement, a Consent Order, or an Administrative Order within a
median time of 156 days after the child's birth.
West Virginia Hospital Paternity Establishment Project Update,
December 31, 1992: "During this past year many newspaper
articles have been written about our program, and, as a result,
scores of public speaking engagements have been requested....
What is unique to West Virginia is the fact that this program
has been the exploding catalyst which has brought the education
issue to the forefront. Consequently West Virginia has been
recognized...as a state on top of paternity establishment ,
outreach and education of child support." The report adds that
educators and public health officials have said that awareness
of responsibilities and consequences can deter unwanted
Delaware's early paternity establishment project went one step
beyond hospital-based paternity establishment. This program
involved even earlier intervention, i.e., at the earliest
possible stages of maternity. The project was aimed toward
providing information to public health clients in the prenatal
clinics about the importance of early establishment of paternity
and encouraging expectant mothers to talk with fathers about
In-Hospital Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement
To show at pre-natal clinics, birthing classes, hospital waiting
Arkansas and Minnesota (in English & Spanish) 12:30
Narrator, in hospital, "Congratulations, you are about to have, or
have just had, a baby" talks about paternity issues - poverty levels
of children without paternity, benefits - social security, health
insurance, etc., and most important - the father's relationship with
his child. Six couples talk about why they signed the papers - why
it was important to them, their children and their extended families.
"Fathers who carefully think it through accept the responsibility."
Brochures and Handbooks
Arkansas has a brochure entitled, "The Father/Child
Relationship: It's the Right Thing to Do" discusses what
paternity means and why it is so important to have it
established as soon after the birth of the child as possible.
The brochure also explains what the father's responsibility to
the child is.
"A Child's Right ... Two Parents" tells about in-hospital
paternity acknowledgement. Another brochure entitled,
"Establishing Paternity -- A Child's Right" lets parents know
that establishing paternity gives a child the sense of belonging
that comes from knowing who the father is as well as the benefit
of getting to know the father. Establishing paternity is the
right thing to do for the mother, the child and the father.
California's Brochure, "Establish Paternity For Your Child's
Sake" includes "From One Mother to Another" who has been there.
A trifold brochure, this gives basic information about paternity
establishment in question/answer form.
The District of Columbia has "Paternity Information for Fathers"
and "Paternity Information for Mothers" - brochures about the
reasons and processes for establishing paternity.
Iowa has a brochure, "Establishing Paternity by Affidavit: Give
your child a head start in life...establish paternity as soon as
possible. It benefits you and your child." Hows and whys of
Louisiana "Paternity Information for Fathers" is a
user-friendly handbook written in easy-to-read question and
answer format. The handbook explains to fathers what paternity
is and why it so vital to have paternity established as soon
after birth as possible to protect the child's rights.
"Paternity Information for Mothers" is basically the same as
above but is written for mothers.
Michigan has a brochure, "Establishing Paternity... Doing What's
Best for Your Baby", which very simply describes what paternity
is, why it is important to establish, the benefits for the
father, how it is established, and encourages early
establishment to involve the father in his baby's life.
"What Every Parent Should Know About Establishing Paternity" is
a 10-page brochure about establishing paternity in Michigan -
"the hows and whys". English and Spanish.
Ohio's brochure, "Do the right thing/The Father-Child
Relationship" emphasizes the rights and duties that a father has
- and the benefits to father and child of a legal relationship.
Oregon A handbook entitled "You Owe It To Your Child: Paternity
Information for Fathers". Written for fathers, this handbook
explains what paternity is, what their legal rights are and what
their responsibility to their child is. It's written in
question/answer format and also lists CSE offices.
"You Owe It To Your Child: Paternity Information for Mothers".
This handbook lets mothers know why it is important to have
paternity established at the earliest possible time. It tells
mothers that all children have the right to receive help and
support from both parents. Written in question/answer format,
this user-friendly guide lists address and telephone numbers of
Pennsylvania's brochure, in English and Spanish tells about the
law which gives parents the opportunity to acknowledge paternity
in the hospital, how it works and why a parent should do it.
Texas has brochures in English and Spanish: "if you are an
unmarried parent..." (children's legal rights should be
protected), "your baby needs a daddy" (benefits that come with
legal paternity),"if you're a mother" (until paternity is
established, the child has no legal right to child support or
various benefits) and a newspaper tabloid for students, again in
English and Spanish: "Real Life: What you need to know about
being a parent" (being a teenager does not exempt someone from
A flyer showing a picture of a little boy, and of a mother and child,
announces the new voice-activated computer system designed to make it
easier for clients and the public to get answers about child support
enforcement, including specific information about their case.
The State produced a flyer that announced that the child support
inquiry action line, which lists a toll-free telephone number, was
expanded to better serve the public. The toll-free line is operated
by the Office of the Ombudsperson. This office serves as a special
link for the community to the department and programs such as Child
Support Enforcement. The staff are eager to serve parents and
persons with child support concerns. The support line is operated
from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday. The flyer is
printed in both English and Spanish.
A new phone system was implemented that lets parents take care of
business more quickly and free up staff to spend more time working
cases. KIDS (Key Information Delivery System), uses a computer on a
toll free, 24-hour phone line to relay routine information to callers
and messages to and from case workers. Between 1500 and 2000 calls a
day are received at its offices throughout the State. The volume of
routine calls makes it difficult for staff to work on cases. Through
KIDS, both custodial and non-custodial parents can press various
sequences of numbers to send or hear messages from their caseworker.
--BROCHURES, PAMPHLETS, POSTERS, PSAS--
(Outreach materials for specific populations and/or subjects are
listed in the appropriate chapters.)
Texas - 1992, 10:57
Child Support: The Children Deserve It
A product of the Child Support Enforcement Division and the
Department of Human Services. Designed to provide AFDC parents with
a better understanding of the CSE program, the need for information,
and the benefits of securing child support information. It touches
on locating the absent parent, establishing paternity and child
support orders, and enforcing orders. The video gives tips on how to
find information, on office practices, and provides a hotline number
for more information.
Brochures and Handbooks
"Child Support Services in Arkansas" - this brochure is written for
custodial parents, and explains that each parent has a legal and a
moral duty to support their children. It tells the custodial parent
what services they can expect from this office.
"Child Support: A Guide to Enforcement Services in Connecticut" is a
user-friendly summary of the services provided by the State and is
written for custodial parents. A wealth of information on child
support subjects such as locating the non-custodial parent,
establishing paternity, establishing support orders, medical support,
etc. is included in the summary.
A brochure entitled "Interstate CSE - Working together to care for
kids" shows a drawing of children holding hands across America. The
brochure was developed to provide the reader with some basic
information about the process of collecting child support when the
obligated parent lives in a different State. This user-friendly
brochure is written in question and answer format.
A pamphlet entitled "Employer's Questions and Answers About
Withholding Employee Wages" provides instructions for employers to
follow when they receive child support withholding orders. The
publication is written in question and answer format. Included are
a copy of the Missouri statutes on child support withholding and an
excerpt from the federal regulations on maximum withholding amounts
under the Consumer Credit Protection Act.
Richland County, Ohio
A brochure entitled, "Do You Need Help in Getting Child Support?" has
a picture of a cute little boy and was written for custodial parents.
The brochure tells of some of the ways the program can help collect
child support for both AFDC and non-AFDC families.
Oklahoma produced a fact sheet about child support. It gives brief
statistical information, tells how the program works, and tells who
is eligible for services. The fact sheet lists a toll-free
state-wide telephone number and a telephone number for the Oklahoma
City area. The front of the fact sheet is in bold letters and reads,
"Child Support: It's Not a Choice, It's the Law".
A handbook entitled "The Child Support Program in Oregon" explains
briefly the child support program. Written in question and answer
format, the handbook tells what the program's services are, who
provides the services, who is entitled to the services, and how to
get the services. The handbook also lists the addresses and
telephone numbers of CSE offices.
Texas has several new brochures which are user-friendly and are
written in both English and Spanish. Each brochure features
photographs of children on the cover and the inside text is printed
over a screened photographic image of a child and parental figure.
(Paternity brochures are mentioned in Chapter IV.)
"Information for AFDC Recipients" explains to AFDC recipients their
rights and responsibilities regarding child support payments for
"Field Offices" lists addresses for all county child support offices.
The brochure also lists a toll-free telephone number so that anyone
can call for further information about the program.
Customer Service: To establish realistic expectations for new child
support customers and to tell them what to expect from the child
support program, the Texas Child Support field office staff provide
orientation classes for parents. Topics include enforcement,
paternity and interstate. Information packets are distributed at
A brochure entitled "Facts About the Child Support Enforcement
Program" is easy to read and explains how the program works. The
brochure is informative and includes a post card that can be filled
out and returned to the Office of Support Enforcement to request an
application for support enforcement services.
"The Washington State Child Support Enforcement Program -- Across
State Lines" is a brochure that gives details about collecting child
support when parents live in different States. The brochure is in
question and answer format and is very informative. A toll free
telephone number is listed in case the reader needs more information.
A brochure entitled "Employer's Guide -- Washington Child Support
Laws -- Working Together for Our Children" is written for employers
and explains to them what their responsibilities are under law. The
brochure explains such things as payroll deduction, medical insurance
and the employer reporting program. The brochure is written in
question and answer format and is very informative.
The State has two new fact sheets. One, "Percentage Standard for
Setting Child Support Amounts" (Guidelines) provides instructions for
establishing child support payment amounts. The standard furnishes
the courts with a means for establishing fair child support orders.
The percentage amounts are based on the principle that, as nearly as
possible, a child should maintain a standard of living the child
would have enjoyed had both parents been living together. The amount
of the child support payment should be related to the size of the
parents' income and the number of children.
The other fact sheet "Payment of Child Support for Substitute Care"
explains that Federal law requires the collection of child support
payments from both parents of a child who is placed in a substitute
care facility such as a foster home, a group home or a child-caring
institution. The collection of child support for a child in
placement requires the cooperation of both the county social services
agency placing the child into substitute care, and the county child
support agency. State law provides that court-ordered child support
for children in substitute care be paid through the county to the
State of Wisconsin.
"Child Support: A Responsibility You Can't Afford to Ignore" is a
brochure showing four wide-eyed children. It explains that parents
have a responsibility to provide support to their children.
--TIME TO GET TOUGH?--
There are still times when the iron hand produces results that the
velvet glove cannot:
"Most Wanted" child support evader campaigns draw attention to the
problem of non-custodial parents who have the ability to support
their children but refuse to do so. In 1993 California's Department
of Social Services coordinated the third "National Most Wanted Child
Support Obligor" campaign on behalf of the National Council of State
Child Support Enforcement Administrators. Because of different child
support state laws, interstate enforcement of child support orders is
often more difficult. The "most wanted" campaigns allow states to
help each other locate delinquent child support obligers. The intent
is to instill an intolerance of non-payment of child support in the
public and to make non-payment of support socially as well as legally
Kings County, California
The county began placing photos of the most wanted child support
evaders on milk cartons. It is believed that this exposure will
force non-custodial parents who are not fulfilling their
responsibilities to start paying their child support.
Connecticut's campaign points out that Father's Day is a time for
non-custodial parents who do not pay their court ordered child
support to think about changing their ways. Too many parents walk
away from their support obligations. Father's Day is also a perfect
time for parents to make a commitment to paying steady child support.
After all, financial support is part of being a good father. Parents
who continue to shirk their responsibilities are reminded that they
face increasingly stronger enforcement measures, including:
reporting of delinquencies to consumer credit agencies
referral to IRS for interception of federal tax refunds
withholding of child support and medical support from wages and
liens on property
arrest and incarceration.
District of Columbia
For a week after Father's Day, non-custodial parents in the District,
who were wanted on bench warrants (arrest orders issued by judges
when the parents didn't come to court or weren't making support
payments) had a chance to surrender voluntarily to get a new court
date, no questions asked. The amnesty was offered to encourage
delinquent parents to catch up on their child support payments.
"Wanted Posters of Delinquent Parents" display photos of parents who
do not pay court ordered child support. The posters are a reminder
to delinquent parents that if they evade their obligation, every
means will be used to find them. The posters are displayed in public
places and enlist the public's assistance by asking them to report
any information about delinquent parents or their assets. The
posters also encourage parents to comply with court orders in order
to avoid having their pictures posted.
Iowa produced flyers giving "cheap excuses" for not paying child
support. All of the flyers are printed in bold black letters on a
They're just kids. They can't need that much. I didn't.
I just started a new family. I can't choose between my old kids
and my new kids.
Why should I pay child support? I never get to see my kids.
Hey, I have a life, too. Besides, I've only got so much money
to go around.
After I pay my bills, there's just not enough left.
I just can't trust my ex. I know my child support payment won't
go to my kids, so I don't bother.
Louisiana, with the aid of a special U.S. Marshal's fugitive task
force, has been having success in locating and apprehending several
of the non-custodial parents who are on the State's 10 most wanted
Montana produced Most Wanted Posters depicting non-custodial parents
who have been extremely negligent in paying their court ordered child
support. The posters list a toll-free telephone number to be used in
the event that someone is able to give information on the delinquent
New Mexico's "10 Most Wanted" program works. It's believed that fear
can be a very powerful motivator to non-custodial parents to pay
their support. The program even prompts many non-custodial parents
to fess up and pay their support so that they won't appear on the
The State began a 10 Most Wanted list of persons who are in extreme
violation of court orders to pay child support. State and regional
media highly publicized the list which helped citizens, who in turn
helped child support and law enforcement officials, identify dozens
of deadbeat dads and moms who had turned their backs on their
children. The message to delinquent parents is that, if they are
trying to avoid making court-ordered child support payments, the
State is serious about enforcement and will use all tools available
to find them, and that criminal charges could be bought against them.
Some of the State's worst child support offenders found their
pictures on most wanted posters which were displayed publicly. It
was believed that the public would recognize them and provide the
State child support agency with information so that the parents would