April 2021 CSQ

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Table of Contents

April 2021

President’s Message…………………………………………….…………….…….3

Community Corner: A Seat at the Table ...........................................................6

2021 Policy Forum Review………………………………………………………….9

Priorities for Improving the Child Support Program …………………….………12

Remembering Howard Baldwin…………………………………………………...17

PEP in a Pandemic Environment………………………………………………….20

NCSEA Legislative Update…………………………………………………………26

Messages From Our Corporate Members…………………….….……….29,42,52

Empowering the Movement for Change Through the Work of Diversity,

Equity, and Inclusion………………………………………….…………………….30

Pass-Through Payments to Families……………………………………………..36

Remembrance From NCSEA’s President………………………………………..43

Marketing the Child Support Program: A Public Relations

Study and Results…………………………………………………………………..45

Meet NCSEA U Alumni……………………………………………………………..53

President’s Message April 2021

by Lisa Skenandore, SMI


Policy Forum Connected: 2021 was recordbreaking!

Not only was this the first virtual forum,

but it shattered attendance records. With the theme

Moving Towards Equity through Policy, the overall

content delivery was a first as well.

After having some time to sit with the information presented, I realize that I

have more work to do in my own personal journey. I wouldn’t say I had an

aha moment, but I’ve recognized the need to work on continued self-growth

in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I hope you found the

presentations useful and informative. I know I’ve learned many helpful tips

and have begun follow-up work to assist in my own growth. I could easily

listen to many of the presentations over again. I especially liked Dr. Nita

Mosby Tyler’s, as it was easily relatable while still full of teachable


I had an interesting experience right around the time of the Policy Forum at

a car dealership where I take my vehicle for service. My car needed a

steering wheel coupler, and while there I was informed that my vehicle had

several additional issues needing attention. The mechanic reported my car

needed control arms, a rear differential, tires, alignment, and the list goes

on. Now since my car has 145,000 miles on it, I understand that at some

point it won’t be cost-efficient for me to keep it, but I like not having a car

payment and it serves its purpose without too much trouble. I politely

declined the litany of additional services and said I would talk it over with

my husband. Once the car was finished with the original service, the

service advisor informed me that she and the service manager had

discussed my vehicle and felt that I needed to purchase a new car. She

then proceeded to hand me a salesperson’s business card. I told her that

there was no need, paid my bill, and left. What struck me, though, was

“How many unassuming people do they do this to?” That manager had no

knowledge of my life circumstances, not to mention that we’re living during

a pandemic and many people are struggling.

What troubled me then—and still troubles me—is when I didn’t agree to the

recommended additional services, I was told I needed a new vehicle.

Although I am making an assumption about their motive—perhaps wanting

to sell me a new car—I was shocked and disappointed all at the same time.

As time has gone on, I’ve decided I won’t take my vehicle there for service

any longer.

Since writing this, I received a phone call from the dealership headquarters

inquiring about my experience and if I had the recommended service work

completed. I shared that I did have it done, but by a new service provider. I

also shared that this new provider couldn’t imagine why the initial

dealership would have advised

me to purchase a new vehicle, as

they found my vehicle well-cared

for and in great condition.

I tell you this story because it

brings me back to the Policy

Forum discussions and how we,

as program providers, may cause

harm or upset a family dynamic

by making unintentional

Perhaps if the Policy Forum topics and

discussions make us question ourselves

and how we serve, it can lead to more

productive outcomes, with policies that

more accurately reflect the needs of

those we serve.

assumptions about the people we serve and the decisions they make.

During one of my favorite discussion groups, which occurred on the last

day, we had a well-rounded group and much-needed conversation about

how we provide services to our clients. Because people oftentimes have

been referred to our program due to receiving other services, they may not

always be excited to hear from us for a variety of reasons unknown to us.

Do they have their own arrangement that we upset when we start the

establishment process? Is extended family assisting? Is there a way to

capture and recognize the in-kind support that occurs between parents and

families? While the tribal program, for example, does have the ability to

capture this type of support in lieu of hard cash, it is an accounting

nightmare because many of our systems aren’t set up for this.

I certainly don’t have all the answers or even a few. I will say that I have

been really pleased with the ongoing conversations coming out of the

Forum regarding how we serve the program’s children and families and the

direct impact we have on their lives. Perhaps if the Policy Forum topics and

discussions make us question ourselves and how we serve, it can lead to

more productive outcomes, with policies that more accurately reflect the

needs of those we serve. I know it’s awfully daunting, and maybe a bit

naïve, but I am always hopeful that in our continuing work we will

acknowledge, learn, and grow to make the necessary changes as our

program evolves. Many changes have occurred in our community since the

inception of child support in 1975. Let’s continue to grow as a program and

lead forward.

All the best,



Lisa Skenandore joined Systems and Methods Inc. as the Vice President of Business

Development in January of 2016. Prior to joining SMI, Lisa led the Oneida Nation Child

Support Department as IV-D Director which became a comprehensive tribal child

support program in April of 2008. She began her career in child support when her tribe

received its start-up grant in 2005. Along with child support she has also led other

human service programming in the areas of child welfare, domestic violence, prevention

and foster care. She has served as President of the National Tribal Child Support

Association and National Association of Tribal Child Support Directors. Lisa currently

serves as NCSEA President and is on the Board of Directors of the Eastern Regional

Interstate Child Support Association. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public

Administration from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay.

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Community Corner

A Seat at the Table – NCSEA at The


by Hannah Roots, Independent consultant, lawyer and

NCSEA Director of International Reciprocity

If the call starts at 1:00 pm in the Hague, is that a 4:00 a.m. start or a 5:00

a.m. start? And more importantly, is it too early for coffee?

For almost two decades, NCSEA representatives have answered the early

morning and late evening calls to participate in global discussions about

international child support. Accredited by the Permanent Bureau of the

Hague Conference on Private International Law as an official Non-

Governmental Organization (NGO) in the field of child support, NCSEA

played an active role in the negotiation of the Convention of 23 November

2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of

Family Maintenance (Convention) and continues to participate in the followup

work undertaken by the Permanent Bureau concerning the Convention.

NCSEA representatives serve on a number of committees, continuing to

ensure that the voices of child support professionals are heard as the

international instruments are developed and reviewed.

As more than ten years have passed since the entry into force of the

Convention, a lot of post-implementation activities are currently underway,

including preparations for the first Special Commission on the Convention,

to be held in early 2022. NCSEA is participating in the groups working on

preparations for the Special Commission, including the Forms Working

Group and the Administrative Cooperation Working Group (ACWG). Our

NCSEA delegation for the Special Commission and the ACWG is led by

Kristen Donadee, Chief Deputy Director with the California Department of

Child Support Services, with NCSEA Board member Alisha Griffin and me

assisting. Alisha was a member of the NCSEA delegation during the

Convention negotiations and brings invaluable experience in international


NCSEA brings the perspective of child support workers to these meetings,

as many of the State representatives from the countries attending are from

the foreign affairs or diplomatic branches of government, and do not

necessarily have child support expertise. We provide our input on the

operational and practical implications of the Convention, based on the

experience of the people working international child support cases. For

example, in the recent ACWG discussions, we raised the need to have the

Convention Forms available in multiple languages, to reduce the cost and

delays of translation, and we highlighted the

challenges faced by caseworkers where

signatory countries have not filed a Country

Profile. Importantly, because the NCSEA

International Subcommittee includes

caseworkers from around the world, we try to

bring a global perspective to our interventions, as

the concerns of caseworkers are often similar in

all countries.

NCSEA also has representation on the iSupport

Governing Body. iSupport is the electronic case

management and secure communication system

developed by the Permanent Bureau for States to manage Convention

applications. NCSEA’s representatives bring the perspective of

caseworkers with experience working with child support case management

systems. Finally, NCSEA is also represented on the Permanent Bureau’s

Expert’s Group on the Cross-Border Transfer of Funds, which is addressing

one of the most challenging areas of international child support.

Through these committees, we try to make sure that the practical day-today

concerns of the people working international child support cases are

taken into consideration. For those of us fortunate enough to participate in

the meetings, we get a ringside seat to watch international instruments

being debated and negotiated. We see first-hand that the countries have so

much in common when it comes to child support. We develop friendships

with child support professional around the world and get a small glimpse

into their lives and how they deal with child support in their countries. We

learn to cope with video calls at 3:30 a.m. and at midnight, and hopefully, in

the end, we make a difference for global families.

Hannah Roots is an independent consultant and lawyer from Victoria, British Columbia

Canada. She is an internationally recognized expert in international child support and

was the Managing Director of the British Columbia Family Maintenance Enforcement

Program for 23 years. She was seconded to the Permanent Bureau of the Hague

Conference on Private International Law in 2002-2003 and is the author of the Practical

Handbook for Caseworkers for the 2007 Child Support Convention. Hannah has served

in many roles in NCSEA including International Commissioner and her current role,

Director of International Reciprocity.

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Moving to Equity through Policy: Key Takeaways

from the 2021 NCSEA Policy Forum Connects

by Erin Frisch & Shaneen Moore

Co-chairs, NCSEA 2021 Policy Forum

Policy Form 2021 was one for the record books! With over 700

child support professionals, 30% being first-time attendees, at our

first-ever paid virtual conference on the topics of equity, diversity,

and inclusion in our program, it’s one we won’t soon forget. We

opened with the engaging and thought-provoking Dr. Nita Mosby

Tyler, Chief Catalyst at The Equity Project, who challenged us to

be upstanders, look for our “fences”, and connect to our history.

The first session set the foundation for the entire conference by

giving us common language and understanding.

We then used that foundation and heard from folks doing work in

child welfare, the courts, public health, local communities, state

and local child support programs, systems development, and

research examining how we all can take a closer look at how our

programs help and harm specific communities. Sessions were

enlightening and energizing as we learned about ways in which

we can be more inclusive, use diversity to our advantage, and

build equity into our policies and decisions.

Throughout the conference the dialog among attendees via the

chat box and the small discussion groups enriched the experience

and helped us all connect what we were learning to our work at

home. It was exciting to see how many child support

organizations are finding ways

to have the tough conversations

and make change.

The post-conference feedback

was overwhelmingly positive,

with 83% of attendees sharing

they liked the topic-focused

content. We couldn’t agree

more with these key take-aways:

“We have a long way to go to create equity, but we have begun

the process.”

“Our program needs to become more engaged in re-setting the

future course of the program and what we are here to do.”

“Child support agencies are working to become more inclusive in

all aspects of the program and this is wonderful news.”

“We are all in this together”

We were honored to serve as co-chairs for the 2021 Policy

Forum. Thanks to Lisa Skenandore, NCSEA President, for her

vision and courage as well as the opportunity to serve NCSEA in

this capacity. We also want to thank the NCSEA Board for their

support of this somewhat risky endeavor. Our gratitude extends to

the many speakers and moderators as well as NCSEA staff for

their help in making the Policy Forum a success. Finally, we

salute the NCSEA volunteers who served on the NCSEA Policy

Forum Committee. With brilliance, talent, and perseverance, they

recruited speakers and moderators and ensured the continuity of

the conference theme and originality in sessions.

We look forward to a continued dialogue with all NCSEA

members on how we can continue to shape the future of child

support through moving towards equity!


Erin Frisch is the Title IV-D Director for Michigan and Director of the Michigan

Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child Support (OCS)

Shaneen Moore is the Director of the Minnesota Child Support Division within the

Children and Family Services administration.

Print article here

Priorities for Improving the Child

Support Program

by Diane Potts, Vice, President, Public Knowledge

NCSEA’s Idea Exchange has been a key event at the annual Leadership

Symposium conference for several years. In the pandemic world of 2020

and 2021, NCSEA went to a virtual platform to continue the free exchange

of ideas by diverse sets of participants centered around specific topics.

In February 2021, the Idea Exchange focused on the priorities for the child

support program with the goal of having a detailed list to share with staff

from the Senate Finance and the House Ways and Means Committees of

the 117 th United States Congress and the federal Office of Child Support

Enforcement (OCSE) once a new Commissioner is appointed. Several Title

IV-D State Directors and thought leaders throughout the country, as well as

OCSE staff, participated in the event.

Even before the session began, there was a robust and diverse set of ideas

exchanged for discussion. Among the ideas were:

• Expanding the impact of the child support program by eliminating the

$35 fee, focusing on getting money to families as opposed to

retaining support for cost recovery, rethinking the federal

performance measures, and adding new enforcement tools such as

mandatory lump-sum reporting.

• Addressing barriers to payment by expanding the federal financial

participation (FFP) match to include employment services and

providing an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for parents who pay


• Creating operational efficiencies through increased FFP for system

modernization, new hire reporting of independent contractors, greater

data exchange among state assistance programs, expanding

permitted uses of federal tax information by the Internal Revenue

Service (IRS), and creating a national vital records registry.

• Receiving additional support from OCSE with more hands-on

assistance and guidance in managing intergovernmental cases,

suspending penalties for declining paternity establishment

percentages during the pandemic, and creating a training hub for

state programs around best practices and lessons learned from the

Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) and

Procedural Justice Informed Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) grants,

as well as new training on identifying and handling child support

cases involving family violence.

The Idea Exchange was held on February 10, 2021, with Jim Fleming and

Diane Potts facilitating and Kay Farley memorializing the ideas. The first

discussion centered around changing the five performance measures.

There was nearly unanimous agreement that the current measures are

long due for a critical examination of what they incentivize versus what

outcomes should be rewarded in the program today. For example, the fact

that collecting $1 in arrears on a case for the entire fiscal year currently

counts towards the

arrears collection

percentage may not

reflect the actual benefit

the family received

from the program that


Finding common

ground on alternate


measures, however,

presented a

challenge. The group

generally agreed that

it would be beneficial to

recommend to OCSE

that it create a new

commission or workgroup to examine the current performance measures,

what they currently incentivize, what the program would ideally prioritize for

serving families in the future, and new or revised performance measures

that would align with those program priorities.

The second discussion centered around mandatory referrals and included

current sanctions for non-cooperation by parents receiving Temporary

Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Ideas included eliminating Medicaid

referrals, better defining the “when appropriate” standard for foster care

referrals, and examining thresholds and the “cliff” effect of child support

payments and eligibility-based assistance.

Modernization of child support systems continues to be a significant

concern. In addition to increased FFP for system replacements, the group

discussed having a national vital records registry available to states, a

more robust sharing of data, and modernizing the federal systems that

interface with the child support systems.

The Idea Exchange dialogue then turned to the fundamentals of the child

support program—the purpose it has in our society and how the program

can help more families. There was some discussion on the anti-poverty

aspect of our program and what data is needed to inform additional

services and outreach

that would improve

outcomes for fragile


The group looked

critically at how the

program is helping

parents who are

struggling to fulfill their

support obligations,

including the

effectiveness of

voluntary versus

mandatory employment

programs, whether the

The group looked critically at how the program

is helping parents who are struggling to fulfill

their support obligations, including the

effectiveness of voluntary versus mandatory

employment programs, whether the current

support payment performance measure

provides enough incentive for programs to

work with parents on employment-related

issues, and the need for better technology to

reach and relate to Generations Y and Z and

their reliance on smart phone technology and

real time interactions

current support payment performance measure provides enough incentive

for programs to work with parents on employment-related issues, and the

need for better technology to reach and relate to Generations Y and Z and

their reliance on smart phone technology and real time interactions.

Throughout the conversation was a recognition that many, if not most,

parents paying support have an established distrust for the program largely

created by the enforcement part of our program.

One of the new topics was on Senator Mitt Romney’s proposed Family

Security Act, which would create a universal child allowance ($350 per

month for newborns to 5-year-olds and $250 per month per child for

children ages 6 to 17, with income and total children limits). The plan would

be cost neutral as it would replace other child-related benefits and tax

breaks including the Child Tax Credit, part of the EITC, TANF, and state

and local tax deductions.

The Idea Exchange group expressed concern that the universal child

allowance may put the child support program in the role of recouping funds

when the program is seeking to move away from that recoupment

emphasis. One participant opined that it would be a disservice to parents

who pay support, although another commented that the concept has

functioned as a successful anti-poverty measure in some foreign countries.

There were two federal tax information issues. First, members of the group

expressed frustration that audits on IRS information are not uniform,

thereby leading to uneven enforcement of the rules. Second, the IRS

policies on permissive use and disclosure of federal tax information

continue to be too restrictive and hinder effective child support activities.

On intergovernmental issues, the group discussed the benefit of a greater

understanding by OCSE of how states currently process interstate cases.

Another idea was for OCSE to issue guidance on how agencies should

work with each other to effectuate the collection of support across state


The idea for a universal child support

application came from the Public Relations

Committee—a joint committee comprised of

members of NCSEA, OCSE, and the

National Council of Child Support Directors.

The Idea Exchange participants had

concerns about this priority due to the

unique needs of each state, the goal to

keep application forms as short as possible, and possible impact to state

automated systems.

The group expressed support for the Tribal Child Support Enforcement Act

(S. 3154), which would give tribal governments equal and direct access to

the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program and other resources to locate

parents. The Act also provides needed clarification on tax refund

information access by private vendors.

The two final discussion topics were on parenting time and adoption of a

more holistic approach to families. The group discussed the current

disparity between married couples who regularly adjudicate custody and

parenting time as part of divorce proceedings, versus unmarried couples in

the child support program. One way to address the disparity would be to

expand FFP to allow programs to incorporate uncontested parenting time

orders into child support orders.

The Idea Exchange conversation concluded with the recognition that the

child support program is one of the few programs that serves both parents.

This provides a unique opportunity to take a two-generation, anti-poverty

approach by developing programs that serve young parents with young

children. Connecting parents who pay support with education, employment,

training, mentorship programs, and parenting support could provide the

positive, family-based start needed to break multi-generational poverty.

The NCSEA Policy and Government Relations Committee will consider all

of these ideas for priorities in 2021 and 2022. The goal is to focus NCSEA’s

advocacy efforts on what will have the biggest impact on improving the

program and shaping the future of child support.

Many thanks to the following Idea Exchange participants: Margot Bean,

Ryan Bradley, Jennifer Bradshaw, Paula Burns, Roberta Coons, Larry

Desbien, Ashley Dexter, Erin Frisch, Karen Hebert, Sarah Hurst, Detra

Kingfisher, Ethan McKinney, Phyllis Nance, Ann Marie Oldani, Patrick

Quinn, Frances Pardus-Abbadessa, Carla Smith, Elaine Sorenson, Brad

Thiel, Rob Velcoff, and Elise Toplis.

Diane Potts is the Vice President of Child Support and Workforce Services at Public

Knowledge®, a national consulting firm that recently merged with the Center for the

Support of Families (CSF), a Division of SLI Government Solutions. Diane joined CSF in

2015, after serving for 6 years as Illinois Deputy Attorney General for Child Support.

Diane is a Past-President of NCSEA and its past Secretary, and an Honorary Lifetime

Member. She served on NCSEA’s Board of Directors from 2013-2019, as co-chair of

the Policy Forum in 2015, 2016, and 2019, and currently is the co-chair for the Policy

and Government Relations Committee. In 2016, Diane was appointed as an official

observer to the Uniform Law Commission’s amendment of the Uniform Parentage Act

(UPA) and currently sits on the UPA’s Enactment Committee. Diane received her law

degree from Washington University Law School and her undergraduate degree from

University of Illinois.

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Howard Baldwin Remembered

by former Texas IV-D Directors Cynthia

Bryant and Alicia Key

The world of child support lost a leader and a friend when Howard Baldwin

died on March 4, 2021. Howard’s work in child support dates from almost

the beginning of the IV-D program, when he was a staff attorney in what

was then the Texas Department of Public Welfare. He continued to work in

the Texas program for over 20 years, off and on, in positions of increasing

responsibility, including as the IV-D Director and Deputy Attorney General

for Child Support from 1999-2001. He also served as First Assistant

Attorney General for the state of Texas, before spending several years in

the private sector serving government child support programs across the

country. The final years of his career were spent back in the child support

program that he loved so much, as Special Advisor to the Texas IV-D


Many may not know that, outside

His tenure as President came at a child support, Howard had a

crucial point in NCSEA’s finances, and career of achievement in private

Howard guided NCSEA through law practice, as an Associate

bankruptcy. NCSEA emerged from Judge, as an administrator and

bankruptcy as a stronger organization executive in the Texas child

thanks to Howard’s leadership as protection agency, and as an


advocate for child support and

child protection improvement in

the Texas Legislature. Howard

was consistently driven by his passion for helping children. More than two

decades ago he said, “It gets into your blood, because it makes

a difference in people's lives.”

A devoted supporter of NCSEA, Howard volunteered for many years as a

speaker at NCSEA conferences and as a member of important committees

including Policy & Governmental Relations. He not only served on

NCSEA’s Board of Directors beginning in 1999, but as its President from

2008 to 2010. His tenure as President came at a crucial point in NCSEA’s

finances, and Howard guided NCSEA through bankruptcy. NCSEA

emerged from bankruptcy as a stronger organization thanks to Howard’s

leadership as President. Beyond NCSEA, Howard volunteered his

expertise and energy to WICSEC and also served on its Board and as its

President. Along the way, Howard developed close friendships with child

support professionals everywhere. He was an engaging presence at

conferences, and he looked forward to those occasions to catch up with

those he knew and to make new friends. And he always took the

opportunity to support and mentor

his colleagues. In the words of

David Stillman, former Washington

IV-D Director and NCSEA past

president, “Howard made such a

difference in the trajectory of our

work – and perhaps he made the

It was truly striking to see the number of

people, including current and former IV-D

Directors around the country, who

considered him a mentor or mentioned

that he had helped them in their careers.

greatest difference not by solely working to help shape the systems and

structures in which we work; but instead through the relationships that he

built and the colleagues that he supported and mentored – whose work

goes on.”

A native Texan, Howard loved his hometown of San Antonio, where he

graduated from high school and from St. Mary’s Law School and where he

began his career in child support. In the Texas IV-D program, Howard is

remembered for two significant things. First, his tenure at IV-D director laid

the foundation for the continuing success of the Texas program. He

became IV-D director in 1998, at a time when the program was under

Legislative investigation for poor customer service and staff unrest. At the

same time he addressed those challenges, Howard led the Texas agency

in implementing the PRWORA reforms. In little more than three years as

IV-D director, the changes that Howard put into operation turned the Texas

child support program around and put it on a path to strength that continues

today. It also earned him the devotion of agency staff across the State.

Indeed, many current and former staff of the Texas agency look on Howard

as a personal mentor. We both certainly owe much in our own careers to


The news of Howard’s passing was met with great sadness from members

of the child support community in Texas and nationwide. He was described

by his friends and former colleagues as “smart, committed, and a perfect

gentleman; kindhearted and helpful; a wonderful and generous colleague; a

friend to everyone; funny and kind; honorable and generous.” It was truly

striking to see the number of people, including current and former IV-D

Directors around the country, who considered him a mentor or mentioned

that he had helped them in their careers.

Senator John Cornyn, who as former Texas Attorney General appointed

Howard as IV-D Director, said this about Howard in a special tribute on the

United States Senate Floor on March 11, 2021 (filter by Speaker: John


“Howard was brilliant, effective, humorous, and exceedingly humble; a

rare combination made even more striking because of his kindness.

Howard did everything in his power to help parents support their children,

both financially and emotionally, to encourage positive outcomes. There's

no way to quantify the amount of good Howard did throughout his career

and throughout his life, but I can say without a doubt, he changed lives –

many, many lives.”

Most important to Howard was his family. He was devoted to his wife Rita

and their sons James and Eric Robert. He talked about them constantly,

and if you knew Howard, you heard about Rita and his boys. His family has

asked that those who wish may donate to the Alzheimer’s Association

(www.alz.org) in Howard’s memory.

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PEP in a Pandemic Environment

by John Hurst, IV-D Director,

Georgia Division of Child Support Services

In 1998, Congress enacted the Child Support

Performance and Incentive Act (CSPIA) which restructured the child

support incentive system. Moving away from a cost-effectiveness

measurement, CSPIA established the performance-based incentive

measures for the areas of paternity establishment, support order

establishment, current support collections, arrears collections, and a

revised cost-effectiveness measurement. The purpose of the Act was to

line up the incentive system with the child support program’s goals of

responsible parenting, self-sufficiency and the well-being of children.

In the 20+ years since the implementation of CSPIA incentive measures,

child support programs have performed well overall, especially in the area

of paternity establishment. From 2002 to 2016, the median paternity

establishment percentage (PEP) increased from 86% to 97%. This

impressive performance has continued… until the COVID-19 pandemic hit

the U.S. in 2020.

The onset of the pandemic had a tremendous negative impact on the ability

of child support programs to establish paternity for a variety of reasons.

Courts were closed, and the ability to move cases through a legal process

stopped. Child support offices transitioned from in-person to virtual

meetings with customers, which prevented the ability to perform genetic

testing sample draws. Hospitals restricted visitors, which significantly

reduced the number of paternity acknowledgements for children born to

unwed parents. Some hospitals stopped processing paternity

acknowledgements altogether.

As the pandemic has continued for a full year now, access to courts, inperson

customer appointments, and hospital access has begun to resume

slowly in some areas. However, the volume of these activities remains

below levels prior to the pandemic.

Before looking at the pandemic impact on PEP rates for child support

programs, a reminder of penalty performance measures and levels set forth

in 45 CFR § 305.40 is important.

§ 305.40 Penalty performance measures and levels.

(a) There are three performance measures for which States must achieve

certain levels of performance in order to avoid being penalized for poor

performance. These measures are the paternity establishment, support

order establishment, and current collections measures set forth in §

305.2 of this part. The levels the State must meet are:

(1) The paternity establishment percentage which is required under

section 452(g) of the Act for penalty purposes. States have the option of

using either the IV-D paternity establishment percentage or the statewide

paternity establishment percentage defined in § 305.2 of this part. Table

4 shows the level of performance at which a State will be subject to a

penalty under the paternity establishment measure.




Increase required over

previous year's PEP


increase not met

90% or



No Penalty.

75% to


2% 1-2% TANF Funds.

50% to


3% 1-2% TANF Funds.

45% to


4% 1-2% TANF Funds.

40% to


5% 1-2% TANF Funds.

39% or


6% 1-2% TANF Funds.

Due to the pandemic restrictions in processing legal cases and limited inperson

interactions, many states fell short of the 90% PEP requirement for

the first time in many years in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2020. This

requires those states to improve their PEP by at least 2% in FFY 2021 or

face a penalty of 1%-2% of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

(TANF) Block Grant for their state. This equates to several million-dollar

penalties in state funds for most states.

Penalizing the state’s TANF funds while the pandemic is ongoing will place

an undue burden on a program that assists eligible families who have been

most in need during the pandemic.

Child support programs in this potential penalty situation are concerned

and have implemented new procedures to counter the effects of the

pandemic on their PEP. Some of these new procedures include:

• Conducting additional outreach efforts in partnership with vital records

agencies to educate parents on the Paternity Acknowledgment process

• Implementing new paternity testing options for child support customers

such as:

o Testing in office parking lots (including on nights and weekends)

o Arranging appointment-only testing due to restricted in-office


o Serving as witness for customer self-swab

• Expanding use of the administrative paternity order process to establish

paternity orders in administrative proceedings, rather than judicial


• Developing video messaging and public service announcements to

educate parents on the paternity acknowledgment process and the


• Conducting outreach with hospitals and hospital associations to promote

the processing of paternity acknowledgments

While these efforts have helped

child support programs to establish

paternity, the effects of the ongoing

pandemic environment have

continued to restrict the numbers

needed to meet the required PEP

improvement to avoid penalty.

Court access is still limited in many areas, and backlogs exist in scheduling

cases. Child support offices continue to be restricted in their ability to meet

with customers in-person. Many customers are reluctant to participate in

voluntary in-person processes. States are faced with the reality that,

despite all their efforts, the ongoing pandemic will not allow them to move

enough cases through restricted legal processes or obtain enough

voluntary acknowledgments to prevent penalty.

In addition to making every effort on their own to meet the PEP

requirements, many states have turned to the Federal Office of Child

Support Enforcement (OCSE), national child support organizations and

congressional representatives for assistance. The National Child Support

Enforcement Association (NCSEA) has recommended repeal of the PEP

penalty for many years due to contradictory standards that can both reward

and penalize a state for the same level of performance. In April 2005,

NCSEA adopted the “Resolution on

Paternity Performance Revisions” to

address these standards and make

recommendations on adjusting the

PEP requirement. NCSEA re-ratified

the resolution in August 2018.

In April 2020, NCSEA adopted the

“Resolution for Necessary Child

Support Legislation Due to COVID-19 Program Impacts.” This resolution

outlined the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on child support programs

in the areas of program flexibility and funding, employment programs and

technology. The resolution concluded by urging Congress to enact

temporary relief legislation through December 31, 2021, to address

concerns in these areas. Included in the request was this measure

regarding flexibility to: “Prohibit imposition of penalties or other adverse

actions for failure to meet performance mandates set forth in part D of the

Act including penalties for failure to achieve a paternity establishment

percentage of less than 90 percent.”

The National Council of Child Support Directors (NCCSD) has also noted

concerns with the PEP penalty resulting from effects of the pandemic on

the ability of child support programs to meet the requirements in this

environment. In July 2020, NCCSD issued the “Impact of the COVID-19

Pandemic on Delivery of Child Support Services” to provide information

and items for consideration regarding the impact. The statement pointed

out that, “states are also facing a potential increase in cost in the form of a

penalty under federal law for failing to achieve a paternity establishment

percentage of at least 90 percent, which is a high threshold considering

that courts have been closed or had limited access for more than three

months in many states and in-hospital paternity acknowledgement

processes have been interrupted.” Nine months later, as the pandemic

continues, the impact is sustained.

The federal law that establishes the paternity establishment penalty is 42

USC 652 (g)(3), which provides, “the Secretary may modify the

requirements of this subsection to take into account such additional

variables as the Secretary identifies (including the percentage of children in

a State who are born out of wedlock or for whom support has not been

established) that affect the ability of a State to meet the requirements of

this subsection.” Last summer, NCCSD shared with OCSE that the impact

of the pandemic may provide the additional variables that warrant a

temporary reduction in the 90 percent PEP penalty requirement.

Child support programs have historically adjusted and adapted to changing

and challenging environments to continue to meet performance standards

and serve the families in need of program services well. The onset of the

COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 required programs to pivot and change

in major ways. They have done so and found new ways to meet the needs

of families. It is concerning that programs that have historically performed

above the PEP threshold, now are facing potential penalties resulting from

impacts to their ability to establish paternities that are beyond their control.

Those most adversely affected by TANF Block Grant penalties would be

the families most in need of the services the funds support.

John Hurst is the Asst. Deputy Commissioner, Georgia Dept. of Human Services. He

has more than 28 years in the child support program, serving in various roles. John was

appointed to his current position and in this role, he serves as the IV-D Director of the

Georgia DCSS program. John earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in

Management from Georgia State University.

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NCSEA Legislative Update:

Congress Adopts Massive COVID

Response Package, Pivots to Longer

Term Investments

by Tom Joseph, NCSEA Advocate

It is early April in Washington D.C., with the cherry blossoms in full bloom

and Congress taking a much-needed spring break after approving the

American Rescue Plan Act—a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package

touching nearly all sectors of the U.S., including financial supports for


Economic Impact Payments (EIP) and expansions of both the Child Tax

Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) will provide

significant income boosts to millions of families. As of early April, the

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had deposited 144 million EIP payments

totaling $363 billion into individuals’ bank accounts and is now mailing 20

million paper checks and debit cards. As with the second round of stimulus

payments, the $1,400 per individual EIPs are not subject to offset for pastdue

child support, consistent with NCSEA’s successful advocacy last year

to support both parents—including those who owe support—until there are

enough employment opportunities to be financially self-sufficient without a

relief payment.

While the EIP process has been relatively smooth, the IRS has signaled

that the July 1 roll out of the one-year boost to the CTC may be bumpy.

Short-staffed and still facing a processing backlog of 24 million returns from

last year, the IRS must develop a web portal to enable individuals to make

changes to income, marital status, and number of children. Initially

anticipated to make monthly payments of $300 per child under the age of

six and $250 for children ages 6-17, a provision in the bill changed the

frequency to “periodic” through December 2021, with a final six-month

payment to be made when individuals file their 2021 income taxes. Since it

is a refundable credit, the CTC is not used in calculating an individual’s


Under the Rescue Plan, Congress also increased and extended the EITC,

consistent with NCSEA’s long-supported policy to assist childless adults

and lower the EITC eligibility age from 25 to 19. The provision will provide

income support to over 17 million people in low-wage jobs. Before these

expansions, the CTC and EITC together lifted 5.5 million children above the

poverty line. The Rescue Plan’s

provisions are estimated to lift

another 4.1 million children out of


Given Congress’s nearly sole

focus on COVID relief during the

first quarter of 2021, there has

been little other legislative activity.

Congress will now pivot to other

longer-term initiatives. Chiefly

among them is a recent proposal

by President Biden to invest $2.5 trillion for a broad range of infrastructure

projects. Later this spring, his Administration will release a proposed fiscal

year 2022 federal budget containing spending and policy priorities for

Congress to consider over the coming months. The President has also

indicated that he will propose another series of investments later this spring

to expand health insurance coverage, continue the CTC expansion,

address paid family and medical leave, and increase the availability of child


Congress may consider improvements to the child support program later in

the year. Given the recent tendency of Congress to combine a number of

bills into a bigger package, those initiatives would likely be attached to a bill

reauthorizing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

program, a fatherhood initiative, child welfare improvements, or a

combination of those issues.

Likely candidates for inclusion in such a measure include NCSEAsupported

bills that have been re-introduced, including the Tribal Child

Support Enforcement Act (S. 534) and the Providing Adequate Resources

to Enhance Needed Time with Sons and Daughters Act (PARENTS Act (S.

503). Long supported by NCSEA and sponsored by Senator John Thune

(R-SD) with co-sponsor Ron Wyden (D-OR), S. 534 would give tribes equal

and direct access to the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program and other

resources to locate parents while ensuring that all IRS confidentiality

safeguards are met. For its part, the PARENTS Act was adopted by the

Senate last year by unanimous consent. Introduced by Senators John

Cornyn (R-TX), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Ben Cardin (D-MD), the

legislation would streamline a process to allow states to use existing child

support performance incentive funds to establish voluntary parenting time

arrangements without requesting a waiver from the federal Office of Child

Support Enforcement.


Tom Joseph has represented public sector entities in Washington, D.C. since the early

1980’s, and has served as NCSEA’s advocate since 2009. For 16 years he lobbied

Congress and the administration on behalf of the National Association of Counties

(NACo), focusing on health and human services issues. He also served as NACo’s

deputy director of its 11-member lobbying department, where he helped manage the

organization’s lobbying efforts and oversaw NACo’s federal policy development


In 1997, Tom left NACo to help establish a Washington, DC office for Los Angeles

County where he served full-time as the County’s deputy legislative director. In that

capacity, he coordinated and supplemented the County’s lobbying efforts on a wide

range of issues, including criminal justice, homeland security, and human services.

Thirteen years ago, Tom joined Waterman & Associates which has since rebranded as

Paragon Government Relations. Serving as managing partner, Tom works on behalf of

NCSEA, county governments and other public sector associations.

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CORPORATE SHOUT-OUTS…..At the close of the NCSEA Policy Forum of 2020, it is

hard to imagine that anyone walked away thinking that it might be the last time we would

have an opportunity to be together in person for over a year. And while we are thankful

that technology has allowed us to stay connected from a distance, there is nothing that

can replace that ability to connect face-to-face. We miss seeing you in person and look

forward to Leadership Symposium 2021 in Austin, TX when we may do so again safely.

Until that time brings us together, for this issue, we invited our Corporate Partners and

Members to provide a message to our child support community members.

Here are their “shout-outs”:

2020 was tough, but our child

support community is tougher!

Thanks for your continued

dedication to serving children

and families. We are counting

down the days until we can all

collaborate in the same room

– but until then, there’s always

Zoom!- CSG

Child support community –

you are AMAZING. Our

families are getting the

support they need due to

your hard work and

dedication. Stay healthy and

safe. – Young Williams

As we look ahead to brighter

days, we recognize the

unwavering dedication of the

entire child support community

this past year. We are prouder

than ever to support you in this

critical space, and we applaud

your steadfast commitment to

shaping the future of child

support, especially under these

extraordinary circumstances. -

The SMI Family

“U.S. Bank ReliaCard®

proudly supports our Child

Support Agency partners.

We look forward to seeing

you all soon!” – U.S. Bank

Empowering the Movement for Change Through

the Work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

by Shaneen Moore, Minnesota Child Support Services Division

Director & Trish Skophammer, Ramsey County Child Support

Services Division Director

One of the few positives things about interacting during the COVID-19

pandemic is the opportunity to engage in meaningful ways with colleagues

from across the country without having to travel. NCSEA held its first virtual

policy themed forum, entitled, “Moving Towards Equity Through Policy”.

This interactive exchange was a welcome discussion with a palpable sense

of excitement about the work that is being done across the nation in child

support agencies to address diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

DEI work has three interconnected components. The components are

questions, or challenges perhaps.

o How can leaders develop the cultural competence of staff in


o How does systemic racism impact the people who receive child

support services?

o What changes to policy and practice are needed to reduce the impact

of systemic racism in the child support system?

The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis caught the attention of the

entire world. It certainly caught the attention of leaders in the child support

community in Minnesota. It required a focus on the safety and well-being of

staff in the aftermath and the civil unrest. It also required an

acknowledgement of the trauma experienced by the Black community. This

was happening while our country was awakening to the realities of the

pandemic and learning how the pandemic more severely impacts

communities of color. The phrase “racial reckoning” was heard often with a

strong call to action. One answer to that call was for leaders to engage in

DEI initiatives in their organizations. Another answer to the call for action

was for NCSEA to take the lead in its education and advocacy efforts

related to DEI.

Systemic racism has an impact on the people who are served by the child

support program. People of color only make up 15% of the general

population of Minnesota. However, people of color make up 29% of the

Minnesota child support program statewide,

and 54% of the program in Hennepin


A concentration of Black non-custodial

parents reside in urban areas where

redlining and racial covenants prevented

people from building wealth and kept

neighborhoods from thriving. Just recently,

the University of Minnesota’s Mapping Prejudice Project revealed their

most recent findings regarding a similar racial covenant project for Ramsey

County with very similar results as determined previously in Hennepin


The uneven outcomes show up in the use of enforcement remedies. In

Ramsey County, 11% of the population is Black, but over 40% of child

support case participants are Black. Over 55% of non-custodial parents

with a driver’s license suspended for non-payment of child support are


The issues behind these numbers are complex and include barriers to

employment such as lack of education and job skills, generational poverty,

and mass incarceration. These are systemic problems that highlight a need

to engage the community in new ways and provide services that help rather

than exacerbate the underlying issues. If the child support community is to

engage in the transformational change that is needed to address these

issues, it must build cultural competence and awareness in its

organizations, its leadership, and actively change its policies.

The 2021 NCSEA Policy Forum shared a wealth of information and

knowledge. Together, we worked to inform one another on how “Moving

Towards Equity Through Policy” is a critical element of our work in child

support. We highly encourage those who were unable to attend this year’s

forum to purchase the conference at www.ncsea.org, and watch the

sessions with your staff and have conversations on things you can do to

implement equitable policy changes within your organization.

For example, Ramsey County Child Support Services holds regular “Critical

Conversations.” These virtual meetings are optional for all staff and started

as a response to the murder of George Floyd. Initial concerns about the

divisiveness seen across the country, in the community, and in the

workplace highlighted a need to

bring people together.

Conversations are based on a

shared reading or video that is sent

in advance to staff, along with

discussion questions to consider.

Topics include systemic racism,

microaggressions, intent versus

impact, unconscious bias, white

privilege, and white saviorism.

It is important to have shared agreements for staff who participate in

discussions. The agreements may include:

• Respect for different perspectives

• Listen to learn

• Engage in dialogue, not debate

• Speak from your own experience

• Be aware of impact vs. intention

• Have compassionate curiosity

• Be willing to experience discomfort

• Stay engaged

• Understand that events and conversations may trigger traumatic

responses for people of color

Participants in past Idea Exchanges talked about holding mandatory

learning opportunities, voluntary participation, or a combination of both. The

benefits to mandatory learning is that everyone participates and the

equirements highlights that DEI is important, valued work. The benefit to

voluntary participation is that it allows deeper engagement from people who

are interested in their own development.

Other ideas include offering peer support groups for people of color,

including DEI goals in performance reviews, updating respectful workplace

policies, and hiring and promoting to add depth of diversity to the

organization and to the leadership team.

Recognizing that DEI work goes beyond staff development, Ramsey

County is leading a collaborative process with community partners to

review child support practices through a race equity lens and advocate for

changes to practice, policy, and law to reduce the impact of racial

disparities on the families we serve. Ramsey County will continue working

with the fatherhood and employment services programs to provide services

to parents who pay child support to help remove barriers to employment

and self-sufficiency.

To address disparities in driver’s license suspension, Ramsey County is in

the midst of a project to review cases where driver’s licenses are

suspended, but the enforcement remedy may not be coercive in terms of

getting a non-custodial parent to pay. If the enforcement remedy is not

helping to coerce payments, the

“The end result of the project will be to

develop policy and practices based in

equitable policies that better serves the

needs of families while improving


remedy becomes a barrier to

driving legally and obtaining or

maintaining employment.

Ramsey County is also

partnering with the Minnesota

state child support office to

study the effectiveness of the driver’s license enforcement remedy and how

it impacts communities of color.

The Minnesota state office was awarded one of the Procedural Justice-

Informed Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) Peer Learning Opportunities in

2020. The focus of the state project will be to review and revise driver’s

license suspension policies and practices and to develop new materials

and strategies for parents with suspended driver’s licenses. The goal is to

enhance the suspension process so that it is fairer to paying parents and

more effective in collecting child support payments from both the short and

long term. An equity lens will be used to work on policy and procedural

changes in collaboration with six to nine pilot counties from each region of

the state (northern, southern, and metro). Participating county staff

alongside state staff will be trained on procedural justice principles, take the

Intercultural Competence Inventory or IDI to help build the cultural

competency and awareness of each individual on the team, along with

participating in implicit bias training focused specifically on the child support

program and how bias presents itself. The end result of the project will be

to develop policy and practices based in equitable policies that better

serves the needs of families while improving collections.

There are several additional equity projects happening at the state level

including: a newly formed Racial Equity Workgroup with our child support

advisory board in collaboration with our county partners, ongoing review of

procedures and policies in taking a closer look at the modification process

from an equity vantage point, completion of a recent federal grant

application for Cohort 2 of the “Charting a Course for Economic Mobility

and Responsible Parenting”, with the focus of developing a cumulative

child support curriculum solely

for the Indigenous community.

The focus of the project is in

working with Native American

community partners to develop

a culturally adapted parenting

curriculum drawing upon

Engaging staff in DEI work is critical for

all leaders in the child support

community. Policy development should

be reviewed from an equity lens.

traditional Native parenting practices in order to serve youth and young

adults age 16 to 25. At the state office, the work of the divisional equity

team continues to provide education and training opportunities for staff,

development of data and policy best practices from a racial equity view,

and ongoing outreach, communication and initiatives. As state director, I

hold a monthly space for anti-racism conversations on various topics to

help encourage ongoing learning and understanding within the state office.

Subject matter experts are often brought in to present and hold

conversation with our entire staff.

NCSEA Connects has created a DEI group. The group is exchanging

training resources and articles online, and discussions are happening about

how to make the group more impactful. The Policy and Government

Relations Committee has established a subcommittee of Emerging Issues

and leading Practices to make recommendations to the NCSEA Board

about DEI efforts.

Where do child support leaders go from here? Engaging staff in DEI work is

critical for all leaders in the child support community. Policy development

should be reviewed from an equity lens. The people who received child

support services should be included in discussions about transforming the

child support program to meet the needs of all families. All this work is

necessary, and is best done collaboratively, bringing people together for

common understanding and the sharing of ideas.

Lastly, here in Minneapolis, with the trial of Derek Chauvin underway, the

reliving of the murder of George Floyd weighs heavy on the hearts and

minds of every citizen. However, our personal hope for everyone is that this

newfound commitment to racial equity and justice in Minnesota will live

beyond the moments of today and create a brighter future for us all—all

over the world! Keep those of us living in Minnesota in your thoughts as we

move through the difficult days ahead.

Shaneen Moore is the Director of the Child Support Division within the Children Family

Services administration of the Department of Human Services and was appointed in this

role in March 2018. Her career interest in the area of children and family services began

many years ago as she has always been interested in the needs of children and their

families. The importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion is a critical element in moving

the work of the child support program forward. Shaneen is an equity champion, is

leading efforts to move this work forward, and making it a priority in Minnesota’s

program. Leadership is a very key element in providing strategic direction to all levels

within an organization. As a committed leader to the public sector, in the fall of 2017,

Shaneen began working on her doctorate in Management and Public Service at

Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. She has earned a master’s in Business

Administration from Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL, and a Bachelor of Business

in Business Administration also from Western Illinois University.

Dr. Trish Skophammer is currently serving as the Director of the Child Support

Services Division in the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office located in St. Paul,

Minnesota. She has 23 years of experience in child support. She has been involved in

NCSEA for many years, serving on Leadership Symposium and Policy Forum planning

committees, the Emerging Issues and Leading Practices subcommittee, and as former

Director on the NCSEA Board. In addition to her expertise in child support policy and

practice, Trish’s expertise includes leadership topics such as performance

management; strategic planning; and diversity, equity and inclusion. Trish has a

master’s degree from Bethel University in Organizational Leadership and a doctorate

degree in Public Administration from Hamline University.

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Pass-Through Payments to Families:

Options Available to States

by Elizabeth Morgan, Management Consultant,

Public Knowledge

Over the life of the child support program, the assignment, distribution, and

disbursement of child support have changed dramatically. At the beginning

of the program, the primary focus was directed towards cost-recovery for

the government in current and former assistance cases. Over time, more

“family-first” options began to evolve, either through federal mandates or at

state option.

While there are also “family-first” options available to states with respect to

the distribution of support in former assistance cases, this article will focus

on the options available to states in the disbursement of support to current

and former assistance families or, more specifically, the pass-through of

assigned collections to the family. A “pass-through” is an assigned support

collection that the state elects to pay to the family rather than retain to

reimburse the state for assistance paid.

Under current law, a state may pass through collections of current support

and arrears in both current assistance and former assistance cases, with

some restrictions that apply to current assistance cases, and to the

required federal share the state must pay to the federal government. There

is no current federal requirement to pass through collections to the family,

though historically that was not always the case.

Pass-Through Payments under the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984

In 1984, Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act (DEFRA) which

amended the Social Security Act to require states to pass through to the

family the first $50 collected for current support while the family received

public assistance (then called Aid to Families with Dependent Children or

AFDC). The intention behind mandating this pass through of support was to

incentivize custodial families to contact the child support agency to provide

updated information on the parent paying support if the family did not

receive a $50 pass-through.

This federal mandate, which took effect October 1, 1984, included the

requirement that states disregard the amount of the pass-through in

determining the need and the amount of assistance paid to the family. If the

state disregarded the pass-through, the state was not required to send to

the federal government the federal share of the pass-through. The $50

pass-through was also known as the “$50 disregard” for this reason.

Only current assistance cases received pass-through payments, and these

payments could be derived only from collections applied to current support,

not arrears; pass-throughs also were not paid

from collections applied to assigned arrearages

in former assistance cases.

Incentives were also distributed to states based

on the amounts passed through to the family.

(Prior to DEFRA, incentives were paid based

only on retained collections.)

Pass-Through Payments and the Personal

Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996

In 1996, Congress passed welfare reform legislation in the form of the

Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act

(PRWORA). Under PRWORA, the AFDC program was discontinued and a

new public assistance program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

(TANF), was established.

In addition to establishing the new TANF block grant program, PRWORA

also placed numerous new child support program requirements on the

states, which included new assignment and distribution provisions. Under

PRWORA, states were no longer required to pass through the first $50 of

current support collections to families on public assistance. States could

elect to pass through collections as long as the state paid to the federal

government the federal share of these collections, even if they were

disbursed to the family. Some states opted to continue the $50 passthrough

while others discontinued passing through any amount to the

family due to the lack of federal financial participation.

Pass-Through Payments and the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005

In 2005, Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) which

included a number of new child support assignment, distribution, and passthrough

provisions. To move the child support program to a more “familyfriendly”

paradigm, the DRA requires that families assign to the state only

child support that accrues while the family receives TANF assistance. The

DRA distribution of support also favored a family-first hierarchy and, with

less support assigned to the state, more collections could flow to the family.

The DRA also provided new flexibility to states to pass through assigned

support to the family. Under section 457(a)(6) of the Social Security Act,

states are authorized to pass through assigned support collections in

current assistance cases, with a limited amount of federal financial

participation. In former assistance cases, states may pass through

unlimited assigned support collections with full federal financial

participation. 1

In current assistance cases, there are limits to the amount of federal

financial participation: the federal government will participate in the cost of

the pass-through only if the pass-through is no more than $100 per month

for families with one child, or no more than $200 for families with two or

more children. These $100/$200 limits are also known as the “excepted

portion.” The excepted portion must be disregarded in determining the

amount and type of assistance provided to the family.

Figure 1

Pass-Through Features and Limitations under DRA

Pass-Through Feature


Assistance Cases




Amount limitation? Yes 2 No 3

Federal government will

share in the cost?

Yes, if disregarded,

and only its share

of the “excepted

portion.” 4



42 U.S.C. § 657(a)(6).


42 U.S.C. § 657(a)(6)(B)(ii)


42 U.S.C. § 657(a)(6)(A)


42 U.S.C. § 657(a)(6)(B)(i)

While the federal government’s financial participation in pass-through

payments is limited in current assistance cases, states may still opt to

pass-through more than the excepted portion, or all assigned support

collections – as long as the state pays to the federal government the

federal share of those collections that exceed the “excepted portion.”

The Current State of Pass-Through Payments

In May 2020, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)

published an article that details which states 5 have implemented a passthrough

policy in current assistance cases and the amounts of each state’s

pass-through. 6 In all, nine states continue to pass through up to $50 per

month, while six states pass through up to the excepted portion. Two states

pass through all assigned support collections in current assistance cases,

and 11 states pass through some other portion less than $200 per month,

while 26 states currently do not pass through any amount.

Figure 2

State Pass-Through Policy Selections

While pass-through payments are disbursed by more than half of the

states, the dollar amount of pass-through payments disbursed has

decreased by 33 percent since 2011. This decrease is most likely


The term “states” includes the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin



Child Support Pass-Through and Disregard Policies for Public Assistance Recipients,

National Conference of State Legislatures, May 29, 2020.

attributable to the corresponding 40 percent decrease in the TANF

caseload during the same period.

Figure 3

Pass-Through Payments and TANF Caseloads, FY2011 – FY2019 7


TANF Caseloads






2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

Other Options in Current Law to Increase the Amount of Child Support for

Assistance Families

Under section 457(b) of the Social Security Act, states have the option to

discontinue certain assignments of support. For assignments executed

prior to PRWORA, states may discontinue these assignments and may

treat any collections of these arrearages as if they were never assigned. 8

This provision allows a state to discontinue the assignment of both preassistance

and during-assistance arrearages for older AFDC cases, and to

disburse to the family any collections that would have otherwise been

retained by the state. Because these amounts should be treated as if they

were never assigned, the state would not pay to the federal government

what would have been the federal share of collections applied to these

formerly-assigned arrearages.

Similarly, states also have the option to discontinue the assignment of preassistance

arrearages under PRWORA assignments. 9 These discontinued

assignments would be treated in the same way—that is, the state would not

pay to the federal government the federal share of collections applied to

these arrearages.


Derived from OCSE FY 2014 Annual Report to Congress, tables 1 and 2, and OCSE

FY 2019 Preliminary Data Report, table P-1 and P-2.


42 U.S.C. § 657(b)(1)(B).


42 U.S.C. § 657(b)(2)(B).

It is important to note that under current law, states may not discontinue the

assignments of during-assistance arrearages for assignments executed

October 1997 and later. While those assignments must remain in place,

states still have the option to disburse to the family any collections applied

to these arrearages in former assistance cases. States will not be required

to pay to the federal government the federal share of these collections.

Pass-Through Payments and Future Federal Legislation

Recently, legislation was introduced during the 116 th Congress that would

make significant changes to child support assignments and pass-through

payments. The Strengthening Families for Success Act (H.R. 8704 and S.

4844) was introduced in the House and Senate in October 2020. This

legislation would amend section 457(a)(6)(B) of the Social Security Act to

allow states to pass through any amount of assigned support to current

assistance families with full federal financial participation as long as the

state disregards the amount of current support passed through for the

purposes of determining eligibility and amount of assistance provided to the


The Senate version of the legislation would also amend section 408 of the

Social Security Act to eliminate the assignment of support in TANF cases

after September 30, 2023. The intent of this provision is to move to fullfamily

distribution by FY 2026.

It is expected that the Strengthening Families for Success Act will be

reintroduced in 2021.


Elizabeth Morgan has worked for the child support program for more than 30 years.

Before joining the private sector, Elizabeth worked for the Washington State child

support program. Elizabeth is currently a management consultant with Public

Knowledge after a recent merger with the Center for the Support of Families. Elizabeth

has served as a lead author of federal policy guidance and training for the distribution

requirements contained under PRWORA and the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. She is

co-chair of NCSEA’s Policy and Government Relations’ Legislative Education

Subcommittee and is a past-president and honorary lifetime board member of WICSEC.

Elizabeth holds a B.A. from Whitman College, an M.S. from Western Washington

University, and a J.D. from Seattle University.

Print article here

To our amazing clients, partners,

and frontline staff across the nation

– we miss your smiling faces! You

are all heroes, helping children and

families in need in the midst of a

pandemic, and we are honored to

serve alongside you.

Your friends at Maximus

All of us here at Informatix

appreciate the opportunity to

have stood with you in these

uncertain times to deliver

and support the child

support community. We

miss seeing you in person

and hope that you are safe

and remain well.

Nothing displays the strength of a

community like coming together

during a global pandemic. The

strength and resilience of the Child

Support Community is unmatched -

we are grateful to stride arm-in-arm

with you toward a brighter future and

we look forward to seeing you again

soon! - Protech Solutions, Inc

The pandemic changed so

many things, but it hasn’t

changed your commitment or

ours! Thanks to everyone

who’s gone above and

beyond during this

extraordinary time.-


Congratulations to the Child Support community

on your remarkable resilience and innovation

while overcoming the challenges presented by

COVID-19! The impact of your dedication and

commitment on the lives of the children and

families you serve is especially meaningful at this

time and we are looking forward to when you can

share your achievements in person. - Deloitte

A Remembrance from NCSEA’s President

by Lisa Skenandore

“It is good to tell one’s heart.” ~ Chippewa Proverb

My heart is heavy today as are many in the child support community who

had the privilege to know Pat Quinn and learned of his passing on

Saturday, March 20th. Pat was

appointed to the NCSEA Board of

Directors last September and was

co-chair of the Emerging Issues

and Leading Practices for the

Policy and Government Relations


This simple proverb epitomizes

who Pat was to many of us in the

child support community. He was

passionate about the law and the

families it affected. If you were

blessed to spend time with him,

even for a few minutes, you would

often hear stories from Pat in

which he would share life lessons and his own personal journey. It is

through these experiences that he gave to us in his own special way. I

always left with a sense of comfort and feeling like I mattered. He offered

no judgement, only support and his wise words learned from his own


Over the past few years, I was fortunate to participate in a Fantasy Football

League along with Pat. This past season I wasn’t faring too well and he

reached out to me with an offer to trade some of his players simply to be

kind and help me. I didn’t take him up on it since I figured it was too late in

the season to help my standing, but it was moments like these, ones of

kindness without solicitation, that I’ll surely miss.

I have a nice picture of Pat

and me that I now keep on

my desk as a gentle

reminder to myself to tell my

heart. Thank you, Pat, for all

that you gave to me and,

most importantly, the entire

child support community.

We are blessed to have had

your wisdom shared with so


The NCSEA Board of Directors is actively working on a tribute to Pat that

will be shared at a later date

Marketing the Child Support Program: A Public

Relations Study and Results

By David Kilgore, IV-D Director, California Department of Child

Support Services and Karen Hebert, IV-D Director, New

Hampshire Bureau of Child Support Services

At the May 2017 National Council of Child Support Directors (NCCSD)

annual conference, a director suggested a joint effort between NCCSD, the

National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA), and the Office

of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to proactively market a positive

image of the child support program to the public and families who need our

services. Such an innocent but insightful recommendation has opened up

one of the largest and most complex issues for the program: why are

parents who could benefit from our services not applying to our program?

Overview of the Public Relations Committee

As outlined in its Charter, this Committee was charged with exploring

nationwide initiatives to promote a more positive, holistic image of the IV-D

program and to improve the public’s and stakeholders’ understanding of its

services. Several key responsibilities grew from that:

• Develop strategies for a nationwide marketing plan and a

corresponding timeline for implementation.

• Develop strategies to generate support among state IV-D directors to

participate in the marketing plan.

• Develop a proposal for a way to help smaller states obtain resources

and assistance.

• Develop strategies to educate legislatures, court systems, employers,

and other stakeholders about the program.

• Consider legislative changes necessary to facilitate and encourage

participation in the program.

• Develop strategies to change the perception of the program by the

general public as well as the child support community.

In addition to those larger initiatives, the committee has been contemplating

strategies for technology, costs, and measures for any marketing efforts.

Members have also been gathering information on successful marketing

strategies within the child support community.

The committee was initially established for a three-year effort. Not to give

away the ending, but this might take a few more years than just three.

Survey Results

While it would have been wonderful to jump right into a nationwide

marketing plan, committee members quickly realized they needed

assessments of states’ current marketing resources and capacity to

implement a marketing plan if it were to be developed. An initial survey was

completed in November 2018 that highlighted several key findings, most


• More than half of the respondents noted they do not have a dedicated

public relations office/media person.

• More than half of the respondents do not use social media.

• Less than 25 percent of the respondents buy media advertisements.

• Most states focus their outreach on their local community outreach

events, employers, and legislature.

The survey results sparked more questions than answers, resulting in a

secondary survey. This second effort was completed in August 2020. Key

findings from this survey included:

• 72 percent of states have considered using texting and determined

that their case management systems are not compatible with texting

technology. Those that employ some texting technology do not

interface with their case management systems.

• 69 percent of states faced the same limitation with mobile


• Some states are still determining the value of a mobile application

over a mobile-friendly website.

• A majority of the states that responded favored fact sheets, action

plan guides, and/or a logo provided by the committee to use as a

baseline for their public relations efforts.

• Nine of the twenty-nine states that responded provided an answer as

to what their focus would be if awarded a digital marketing grant. All

linked their efforts to more use

of social media.

An analysis of the results shows

a lack of coordinated

efforts and/or means to do so,

consistent with the first survey

results. This is especially true for

more modern outreach

approaches, such as mobile

apps, texting, and interactive

websites. The majority of states

indicated that they are aware that they should be investing in digital

marketing but just don’t have the budget for it. It appears from the results

that states are hobbled by internal restraints such as a “legacy system.”

None of the states responding were clear on which actions would be the

most successful or even the metrics that could measure success.

The survey initiative was intended to provide a snapshot of the status of

child support public relations today and offer an opportunity to learn about

innovative and successful approaches used in states. The committee

concluded that the child support program faces significant barriers to

effectively market itself and needs a pathway to accomplish such

objectives. Efforts to continue further, however, were deeply affected by the

ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, as states grew significantly concerned

about impacts in their state, particularly the future of their state budgets,

and many initiatives across the country were paused.

Nonetheless, the committee developed a formal report of the survey

findings and conclusions in hopes the information could be leveraged by

states to address or influence factors that complicate prioritizing and

developing successful public relations activities now or in the future.

After releasing the report, the committee shifted its focus to what it could

accomplish for states in the form of both low-hanging fruit as well as

greater blue sky initiatives.

Successes Along the Way

Aside from the core discussions regarding national

marketing and state capacity, several smaller ‘wins’

have been achieved along the way. Fundamentally,

the language the child support community uses will

need to come into alignment for any sort of national

marketing to be successful. Several key documents

were developed for states to begin tackling that


Elevator Pitch for Child Support Professionals: You’ve been asked where

you work and what you do. Instead of saying you work for government in

the most generic of terms, this quick pitch can be used to proudly share a

little bit about your job and the program. Each consistent sharing of this

message will build upon itself over time.

Talking Points for Professionals: These talking points aim at uniform and

consistent messaging despite the variety of stakeholders and complex

subject matters that make up our environment. Each talking point is

categorized to make it easier for readers to find the best one to suit their

needs. Several of them can also be tailored to meet the individual needs of

any state, such as incorporating state-specific data. A section also relates

to services and challenges during the pandemic.

COVID-19 Infographics: Like many other activities in the program, the

committee’s efforts were delayed while we all struggled to get our arms

around this challenging time. However, a crisis is exactly the time when

communication and information is most needed. The committee created

COVID-19 infographic templates so that each state could quickly pull

together the latest information on the crisis and report the effect it has had

on the program. The State of California graciously offered its assistance to

help develop pandemic infographics to any other state that wanted it.

The child support community is quite actively engaged in many initiatives to

promote services and improve the customer experience. Here is a sneak

peek at a few of them the committee learned about firsthand:

• California created audio, video, and graphics to fast-message

customers and stakeholders about what the program does for

families. See some examples here:



• Bob Williams, president of Veritas, authored a white paper on a best

approach to strengthen the positive public perception of the program

and garner legislative support. “Functioning as the largest cash

safety net for single-parent families is a powerful component of child

support’s mission….”

• Virginia’s Digital Marketing project enabled customers to apply online

easily! The online method now accounts for 75 percent of

applications, significantly reducing the paper process.

• Virginia also conducted an outreach campaign for non-IV-D

customers that provides important feedback regarding their

perspective of how useful IV-D services might be to them.

• California created trust among applicants using domestic violence

protections and the option not to provide a social security number

online. It also reduced the traditional static seven-page application

with a method that guides applicants through each question.

• Arizona has built a marvelous feedback tool to gain a better

perspective from customers to improve services.

• Washington has an online video resource library that parents (and

other child support professionals) are free to access and use. The

library can be found here: https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/divisionchild-support/parent-resources.

• California has a comprehensive media campaign using a variety of

advertising techniques and media for specific targeted segments to

generate awareness, inspire action, and influence behavior. The

state has gathered great data and information on what it has learned,

how it can innovate, and what it can improve. The campaigns are

fully equipped with measures and methods to evaluate effectiveness.

If you’re interested in learning about or initiating a project similar to any of

these, all these states will share their methods, information and findings.

Upcoming Activities

The committee’s three years went by quickly and, obviously, there is no

national marketing strategy implemented. NCCSD and NCSEA agreed that

continuing these efforts is still valuable despite the challenging nature of

the project. The committee is now charging headlong into the concept of a

national campaign itself. Three major approaches have been discussed so


The first approach is to build a campaign around gathering further

marketing intelligence on those we seek to influence. Several states have

initiated some of this research already and gathered localized success and

knowledge to build upon. Ultimately, though, this effort would seek to

identify how our program is perceived and what we would need to change

or implement to inspire new participants to seek our services. Conducting

this research correctly comes with a cost; however, it may be a worthwhile

investment before sinking money into marketing based on what we think

we know.

The second concept is to target people who think the child support program

isn’t available to them or those who don’t even realize we exist and are

here to help. While we believe most people know about the concept of child

support, not everyone realizes the program is here for them with services

that are practically free or what those services actually are.

The third effort could be considered a precursor to the second concept, and

that is to build an online national child support application. Consider the

benefits of one nationally accepted application that could be promoted in

every state. It’s a daunting concept to consider just how complicated

developing this application would be . . . or would it? Recent

demonstrations of tools already in use by some states have shown that it is

possible. In fact, this could be built in such a way as to contain universal

questions as well as state-specific questions, and still make the application

streamlined and easy.

While the committee chews on these options, we are also seeking

additional thoughts and ideas from the broader child support community on

what a national campaign might look like. If you would like to contribute to

the conversation, please reach out to Committee Co-Chairs, David Kilgore

at David.kilgore@dcss.ca.gov or Diane Potts at dpotts@sligov.com.

There is a changing landscape in the child support program right now.

Each of us are strategizing to keep up with the times and adjust our

programs to account for those changes. We are not the same program as

thirty years ago (or even twenty), and we haven’t shared this latest iteration

of the program with our potential participants across the nation. Hopefully,

with the help of all of you and the tireless effort of the Public Relations

Committee, you’ll be a part of that change.

Karen Hebert is the IV-D Director for the State of New Hampshire Department of

Health and Human Services, Bureau of Child Support Services since 2018. She has

worked for the program since 2006 overseeing policy, field operations, customer

service, and interagency collaboration and integration. She is Chair of the National

Council of Child Support Services (NCCSD) Mentoring Committee and actively

participates in the Council’s Audit Committee and the Policy and Practice Committee.

Karen represents NCCSD on the joint Public Relations Committee with NCSEA and the

federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). Karen obtained her Bachelor of

Science degree in Human Services from Springfield College, and Master in Business

Administration with a Leadership concentration from Norwich University.

David Kilgore is a proud graduate of the California State University at Northridge where

he received his master’s degree in Public Administration and currently serves as

Director for the California Department of Child Support Services. David has worked in

the Child Support Program at the county level for 15 years and served as director of the

Riverside County DCSS, chief deputy director and deputy director for Los Angeles

CSSD, deputy director at the San Bernardino County DCSS and held several positions

at the Tulare County DCSS including manager and staff services analyst. David served

on the Board of Directors with the Child Support Directors Association and a member of

the National Child Support Enforcement Association Board of Directors.

Print article here

We continue to be impressed with

the resilience of our child support

community and hope everyone is

doing ok during these very trying

times. We are hoping to gain back

some sense of normalcy as vaccines

become readily available and look

forward to seeing all our clients and

colleagues soon. – Veritas HHS

Shout-out to all of our child support

friends who are like family to us –

sending sincerest respect &

admiration for the noble work you

do to improve the lives of children

and families – hoping to see you all

healthy, happy, and in-person soon

at NCSEA, MIFSC, or anywhere! –

Courtland Consulting

Appriss Insights is proud to

be a supporter and partner

of NCSEA and its members.

We honor the critical work

of child support

professionals and their

tireless dedication to

protecting the most

vulnerable in communities

all across the nation. -


From everyone at Public Knowledge (a/k/a your

friends at the former CSF), we are looking forward

to seeing you in person very soon. Until then,

whether it’s our new unintended bias E-Learning

course or program improvements or ways to

leverage COVID-relief funds, let us know what PK

can do for you! – Public Knowledge

Is NCSEA U For You?

NCSEA U was chartered in 2013 and currently has

more than 135 alumni. NCSEA U provides a unique

premier educational and professional development

opportunity. It is structured for learning leaders in the

child support community and it complements NCSEA’s

other educational initiatives and strategies. The

program is taught by nationally recognized child

support leaders, offering a variety of informative and

strategic topics. Classes are structured with an

emphasis on group discussions that include work/life balance and best practice initiatives

with real time work environment scenarios.

Whether for yourself or your staff, NCSEA U offers a transformative learning experience

and is a catalyst for networking opportunities. NCSEA U alumni would love for you to

become a part of this unique group. Because we are proud of NCSEA U, we will be

featuring Alumni in upcoming CSQ articles. Their stories will highlight why NCSEA U is for


Meet Our NCSEA U Alumni

Kathie Bohacek- Class 2017

San Joaquin County Department of Child Support Services

Title Program Manager

What would you like others to know about NCSEA U? Not only is this a great professional development

opportunity but the class size is fantastic for engaging with instructors and other attendees. The instructors

are well versed in the theme for the year and are always so encouraging. You will come away with new

ideas you can put into practice.

Since attending NCSEA U, what opportunities (personal and professional) have you experienced?

NCSEA U opened my eyes to all that NCSEA has to offer. Since attending NCSEA U, I have had the

opportunity to get to know many NCSEA U alumni who were not in my class (some have become great

friends). I have been afforded the opportunity to volunteer for several committees with NCSEA. I currently

Co-Chair the NCSEA Connects Sub Committee and Co-Facilitate the NCSEA Connects: Training group

and was a speaker during the 2020 Leadership Symposium. Since attending NCSEA U I have also

dedicated more time to my professional development by enrolling in classes and training programs to

continue my education.

Why would you recommend NCSEA U to others? The learning experience and new skills you will

develop is just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond those sessions there are so many additional opportunities

available to you. Networking with other child support professionals, making lifelong friends, learning more

about NCSEA - which opens up volunteer opportunities to participate in other NCSEA activities.

John Hurst-Class 2018

Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support


Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Child Support Services

What would you like others to know about NCSEA U? NCSEA U provides real world scenarios and

experiences that can help emerging leaders in Child Support learn how to navigate those areas when

encountered. Also, the excellent networking opportunities to meet and get to know other child support

professionals from across the country.

Since attending NCSEA U, what opportunities (personal and professional) have you experienced?

Since attending NCSEA U, I have become active in NCSEA and currently serve on three committees in

support of the organization. In December 2020, I was appointed as the Interim Director of the Georgia Child

Support Program.

Do you have a favorite author in the leadership space and/or would you recommend a specific

leadership book? Why? "Lincoln on Leadership" is one of my favorite leadership books. It is very matter of

fact and provides many common sense type leadership tips.

Roxanne Mudd – Class of 2019

Organization Ho-Chunk Nation

Child Support Lead Specialist

Since attending NCSEA U, what opportunities (personal and professional) have you

experienced? I have been temporarily assigned twice as the Director of our Child Support

Agency. I am currently on 4 NCSEA committees, and I was a moderator for the ERICSA Family

Reunion Plenary Session.

NCSEA U @ Leadership Symposium focuses on the emerging and learning leader. How do

you define leadership? Leadership is the ability to set a positive example and give hope to your

team, guide them effectively and help them succeed.

Do you believe that attending NCSEA U helped shaped this definition? How or how not?

Attending NCSEAU helped me see the bigger picture. It also opened my mind up to wanting to be

on other committees and how I can help educate others about the importance of being involved.

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