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H.R. 4980: Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014

AT-14-08

Published: September 30, 2014

ACTION TRANSMITTAL

AT-14-08

DATE :  September 30, 2014

TO :  State and Tribal Agencies Administering Child Support Enforcement Plans under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act and Other Interested Individuals

SUBJECT :  H.R. 4980: Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014

ATTACHMENT :  Child Support Provisions of the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014

PURPOSE : ThePreventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014,” H.R. 4980, was signed by the President on September 29, 2014.  This action transmittal provides a summary of the child support provisions in this law.

Title III – Improving International Child Support Recovery
 

Section 301:  Amendments to Ensure Access to Child Support Services for International Child Support Cases.
 

  1. Secretary’s Authority to Ensure Compliance with Multilateral Child Support Convention. The law amends section 452 of the Social Security Act (Act) and directs the Secretary to use the authorities otherwise provided by law to ensure the compliance of the United States with any multilateral child support convention to which the United States is a party.
  2. Access to Federal Parent Locator Service.  The law amends section 453(c) of the  Act by adding to the definition of “authorized person,” ‘‘(5) an entity designated as a Central Authority for child support enforcement in a foreign reciprocating country or a foreign treaty country for purposes specified in section 459A(c)(2).’’
  3. State Option to Require Individuals in Foreign Countries to Apply through their Country’s Appropriate Central Authority.  The law amends section 454(4)(A)(ii) of the Act by inserting before the semicolon, ‘‘(except that, if the individual applying for the services resides in a foreign reciprocating country or foreign treaty country, the state may opt to require the individual to request the services through the Central Authority for child support enforcement in the foreign reciprocating country or the foreign treaty country, and if the individual resides in a foreign country that is not a foreign reciprocating country or a foreign treaty country, a state may accept or reject the application)’’ and other minor changes to conform with this amendment.
  4. Amendments to International Support Enforcement Provisions.  The law amends section 459A of the Act by adding references for (1) foreign reciprocating country [a foreign country (or political subdivision thereof) with respect to which the Secretary has made a declaration pursuant to subsection (a)]; (2) foreign treaty country [a foreign country for which the 2007 Family Maintenance Convention is in force]; and (3) 2007 Family Maintenance Convention [the Hague Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance] and other minor changes to conform with this amendment.
  5. Collection of Past-due Support from Federal Tax Refunds.  The law amends section 464(a)(2)(A) of the Act to extend eligibility for Internal Revenue Service tax offset to collections made pursuant to applications from foreign reciprocating countries and foreign treaty countries.
  6. State Law Requirement Concerning the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA).
    1. The law amends section 466(f) of the Act to require states to enact UIFSA, including amendments adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws on September 30, 2008 (UIFSA 2008).
    2. Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA).  The law amends FFCCSOA (28 U.S.C. 1738B) to conform to UIFSA 2008 and the 2007 Family Maintenance Convention.  Subsections (d) and (e) are amended to reflect that the parties may consent in a record or open court that the tribunal of the issuing state may continue to exercise jurisdiction to modify its order.
    3. Effective Date; Grace Period for State Law Changes.  The amendments made by paragraph (1) (adopting UIFSA 2008) shall take effect with respect to a state no later than the effective date of laws enacted by the legislature of the state implementing such paragraph, but in no event later than the first day of the first calendar quarter beginning after the close of the first regular session of the state legislature that begins after the date of the enactment of this law.  In the case of a state that has a 2-year legislative session, each year of the session shall be deemed to be a separate regular session of the state legislature.  The amendments to FFCCSOA pertaining to continuing exclusive jurisdiction shall take effect on the date on which the Hague Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance enters into force for the United States.

Section 302. Child Support Enforcement Programs for Indian Tribes.
 

  1. Tribal Access to the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS).  The law amends section 453(c)(1) of the Act to add an agent or attorney of an “Indian tribe or tribal organization [as defined in subsections (e) and (l) of section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b)]” as an additional authorized person that the FPLS may provide information for the purpose of establishing parentage or establishing, setting the amount of, modifying, or enforcing child support obligations.
  2. Waiver Authority for Indian Tribes or Tribal Organizations Operating Child Support Enforcement Programs.  The law amends section 1115(b) of the Act to provide that an Indian tribe or tribal organization operating a IV-D program shall be considered a state for purposes of authority to conduct an experimental, pilot, or demonstration project.  The Secretary may waive compliance with any requirements or regulations to the extent and for the period the Secretary finds necessary for an Indian tribe or tribal organization to carry out such project. Costs of the project which would not otherwise be included as expenditures of a program shall, to the extent and for the period prescribed by the Secretary, be regarded as expenditures under a tribal plan or plans approved under such section, or for the administration of such tribal plan or plans, as may be appropriate.  A start up program is not eligible for this program.

Section 303. Sense of the Congress Regarding Offering of Voluntary Parenting Time Arrangements.
 

The Congress finds that increased parental access and visitation is a double win for children - improving parent-child relationships and increasing child support collection.  As such, it is the sense of the Congress that establishing parenting time arrangements when obtaining child support orders is an important goal which should be accompanied by strong family violence safeguards.  States should use existing funding sources to support the establishment of parenting time arrangements, including child support incentives, Access and Visitation Grants, and Marriage Promotion and Responsible Fatherhood Grants.

Section 304. Data Exchange Standardization for Improved Interoperability.
 

The law amends section 452 of the Act, by adding a new subsection, at the end:  “(o) Data Exchange Standards for Improved Interoperability.”  The law requires the Secretary, in consultation with an interagency work group established by the Office of Management and Budget, to designate data exchange standards to govern necessary categories of information that state agencies operating programs under state plans approved under this part are required under applicable law to electronically exchange with another state agency and federal reporting and data exchange required under applicable law.  Additionally, the Secretary shall issue a proposed rule within 24 months after the date of the enactment of this section.  The rule shall identify federally required data exchanges, including specification and timing of exchanges to be standardized, and addressing the factors used in determining whether and when to standardize data exchanges.  It should also specify state implementation options and describe future milestones.

Section 305. Report to Congress.
 

In conjunction with the strategic plan, the Secretary is directed  to review and provide recommendations for cost-effective improvements to the child support enforcement program funded under title IV-D of the Social Security Act and ensure that the plan addresses the effectiveness and performance of the program, analyzes program practices, identifies possible new collection tools and approaches, and identifies strategies for holding parents accountable for supporting their children and for building the capacity of parents to pay child support, with specific attention given to matters including front-end services, ongoing case management, collections, tribal-state partnerships, interstate and intergovernmental interactions, program performance, data analytics, and information technology.  This shall be done in consultation with stakeholders including state, tribal, and county child support directors; judges who preside over family courts and organizations that represent the judges; custodial and noncustodial parents and the organizations that represent them; and fiduciaries such as financial institutions and employers.  The Secretary shall submit a report to Congress not later than June 30, 2015, which will include:

  1. An analysis of the effectiveness of state child support programs;
  2. Recommendations for methods to enhance the effectiveness of child support  programs and collection practices;
  3. A review of state best practices in regards to establishing and operating state and multistate lien registries;
  4. A compilation of state recovery and distribution policies;
  5. Options, with analysis, for methods to engage noncustodial parents in the lives of their children through consideration of parental time and visitation with children;
  6. An analysis of the role of alternative dispute resolution in making child support determinations;
  7. Identification of best practices for determining which services and support programs available to custodial and noncustodial parents are non-duplicative, evidence-based, produce quality outcomes, and connect parents to those services and support programs.  Provide employment support, job training, and job placement for custodial and noncustodial parents and establish child support tracking, services and supports with options for preventing and resolving uncollectible arrears;
  8. Options, with analysis, for methods for states to use to collect child support payments from individuals who owe excessive arrearages;
  9. A review of state practices used to determine which individuals are excluded from the requirement to be reported to the Passport Denial program, including the extent to which individuals are able to successfully contest or appeal decisions; and
  10. Options, with analysis, for such legislative and administrative actions as are determined to be appropriate for improvement in child support enforcement.

Section 306. Required Electronic Processing of Income Withholding.
 

The law amends section 454A(g)(1) of the Act to add the requirement that by October 1, 2015, states shall transmit orders to employers for the withholding of income at the option of the employer, using the electronic transmission methods prescribed by the Secretary.

INQUIRIES: ACF/OCSE Regional Program Managers

Vicki Turetsky
Commissioner
Office of Child Support Enforcement

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