Restructured Project Save Our Children (PSOC) Services
DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER
To: State IV-D Directors
For the past several months the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has been reviewing the PSOC program to restructure the process for submitting appropriate cases for criminal prosecution. In addition, we are exploring the use of commercial databases for FPLS locate requests beyond PSOC. Additional information on this effort will be available later in the year.
The new PSOC process will be implemented on January 24, 2011, at which time states may begin making referrals directly to OCSE. OCSE will continue to serve as the liaison between states and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG), which investigates the cases before referring them to the appropriate U.S. Attorney’s office. States that have an established direct referral process with the OIG and/or their own U.S. Attorney may continue to use their existing process.
We learned from our analysis that the success of the PSOC program depends on several factors, but high on the list are selecting appropriate cases for prosecution and having the commitment of resources of individual U.S. Attorneys’ offices. For these reasons, it is important that states refer only those cases meeting the strict criteria for criminal prosecution accompanied by the supporting locate and asset evidence.
The basic process for selecting appropriate cases for prosecution includes locating the obligor and identifying assets through existing location sources, including the State Parent Locator Service and the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS), and then determining whether the case meets the criteria for prosecution as established in legislation. Should additional location information be necessary in order to make that determination, OCSE has established a modified process for obtaining multiple years of wage data and/or additional location information from commercial on-line sources. PSOC location information received from this process will be returned directly to states. After further analysis of this information, including independent verification of quarterly wage data, the state will decide if the case meets the criteria for final referral to the OCSE PSOC Coordinator. A significant number of cases were rejected in the past by either the OIG or Assistant U.S. Attorney, so we strongly encourage you to submit only cases with a high probability of prosecution.
The basic changes to the previous process include the following:
- All referrals will be sent to OCSE’s PSOC Coordinator at the OCSE central office instead of the former process of sending them to the Regional Investigation Analysts.
- All Referrals shall be made through a state’s IV-D agency PSOC Coordinators
- Referrals must still meet the PSOC referral requirements to be processed, such as:
- a case must be an existing IV-D case
- a case must be interstate,
- criminal non-support referrals must meet the statutory criteria for federal prosecution under 18 U.S.C.§228 and all other enforcement remedies must have been exhausted, and
- a request for enhanced PSOC locate should only be used to obtain multiple years of wage data and additional location and asset information from commercial on-line sources for an obligor who appears appropriate for PSOC criminal prosecution.
- Once the case has been referred to the PSOC Coordinator for prosecution, no searches for locate or asset data will be made by the OCSE central office. These searches would have occurred prior to referral for criminal non-support action. Additional searches occur as a normal course of PSOC investigations at the OIG.
- In criminal non-support referrals, correspondence between the states and the OIG will pass through OCSE’s PSOC Coordinator.
We will issue an Action Transmittal in the near future detailing these new procedures and will schedule conference calls to review them with you and your State PSOC Coordinators during January 2011. You will be notified of the specific dates and times via e-Flash.
Again, please note that state IV-D agencies that make PSOC referrals directly to the OIG and/or the Office of the U.S. Attorney, and regularly interact with those entities during case proceedings, should continue to do so.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this restructuring period. If you have any questions regarding an open PSOC case or the PSOC program, please contact PSOC Coordinator.
Office of Child Support Enforcement
ACF/OCSE Regional Program Managers,
Thomas Sowinski, Director, Investigations Branch, HHS/OIG/OI,
Anitha Ibrahim, Attorney, Criminal Division, DOJ Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section