April 2021 CSQ

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Table of Contents<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2021</strong><br />

President’s Message…………………………………………….…………….…….3<br />

Community Corner: A Seat at the Table ...........................................................6<br />

<strong>2021</strong> Policy Forum Review………………………………………………………….9<br />

Priorities for Improving the Child Support Program …………………….………12<br />

Remembering Howard Baldwin…………………………………………………...17<br />

PEP in a Pandemic Environment………………………………………………….20<br />

NCSEA Legislative Update…………………………………………………………26<br />

Messages From Our Corporate Members…………………….….……….29,42,52<br />

Empowering the Movement for Change Through the Work of Diversity,<br />

Equity, and Inclusion………………………………………….…………………….30<br />

Pass-Through Payments to Families……………………………………………..36<br />

Remembrance From NCSEA’s President………………………………………..43<br />

Marketing the Child Support Program: A Public Relations<br />

Study and Results…………………………………………………………………..45<br />

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

President’s Message <strong>April</strong> <strong>2021</strong><br />

by Lisa Skenandore, SMI<br />

Greetings,<br />

Policy Forum Connected: <strong>2021</strong> was recordbreaking!<br />

Not only was this the first virtual forum,<br />

but it shattered attendance records. With the theme<br />

Moving Towards Equity through Policy, the overall<br />

content delivery was a first as well.<br />

After having some time to sit with the information presented, I realize that I<br />

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

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

in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I hope you found the<br />

presentations useful and informative. I know I’ve learned many helpful tips<br />

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

listen to many of the presentations over again. I especially liked Dr. Nita<br />

Mosby Tyler’s, as it was easily relatable while still full of teachable<br />

moments.<br />

I had an interesting experience right around the time of the Policy Forum at<br />

a car dealership where I take my vehicle for service. My car needed a<br />

steering wheel coupler, and while there I was informed that my vehicle had<br />

several additional issues needing attention. The mechanic reported my car<br />

needed control arms, a rear differential, tires, alignment, and the list goes<br />

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

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

payment and it serves its purpose without too much trouble. I politely<br />

declined the litany of additional services and said I would talk it over with<br />

my husband. Once the car was finished with the original service, the<br />

service advisor informed me that she and the service manager had<br />

discussed my vehicle and felt that I needed to purchase a new car. She<br />

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

there was no need, paid my bill, and left. What struck me, though, was<br />

“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<br />

a pandemic and many people are struggling.<br />

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

recommended additional services, I was told I needed a new vehicle.<br />

Although I am making an assumption about their motive—perhaps wanting<br />

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

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

any longer.<br />

Since writing this, I received a phone call from the dealership headquarters<br />

inquiring about my experience and if I had the recommended service work<br />

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

also shared that this new provider couldn’t imagine why the initial<br />

dealership would have advised<br />

me to purchase a new vehicle, as<br />

they found my vehicle well-cared<br />

for and in great condition.<br />

I tell you this story because it<br />

brings me back to the Policy<br />

Forum discussions and how we,<br />

as program providers, may cause<br />

harm or upset a family dynamic<br />

by making unintentional<br />

Perhaps if the Policy Forum topics and<br />

discussions make us question ourselves<br />

and how we serve, it can lead to more<br />

productive outcomes, with policies that<br />

more accurately reflect the needs of<br />

those we serve.<br />

assumptions about the people we serve and the decisions they make.<br />

During one of my favorite discussion groups, which occurred on the last<br />

day, we had a well-rounded group and much-needed conversation about<br />

how we provide services to our clients. Because people oftentimes have<br />

been referred to our program due to receiving other services, they may not<br />

always be excited to hear from us for a variety of reasons unknown to us.<br />

Do they have their own arrangement that we upset when we start the<br />

establishment process? Is extended family assisting? Is there a way to<br />

capture and recognize the in-kind support that occurs between parents and<br />

families? While the tribal program, for example, does have the ability to<br />

capture this type of support in lieu of hard cash, it is an accounting<br />

nightmare because many of our systems aren’t set up for this.<br />

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

been really pleased with the ongoing conversations coming out of the<br />

Forum regarding how we serve the program’s children and families and the<br />

direct impact we have on their lives. Perhaps if the Policy Forum topics and<br />

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

more productive outcomes, with policies that more accurately reflect the<br />

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

naïve, but I am always hopeful that in our continuing work we will<br />

acknowledge, learn, and grow to make the necessary changes as our<br />

program evolves. Many changes have occurred in our community since the<br />

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

lead forward.<br />

All the best,<br />

Lisa<br />

_________________________________________<br />

Lisa Skenandore joined Systems and Methods Inc. as the Vice President of Business<br />

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

Support Department as IV-D Director which became a comprehensive tribal child<br />

support program in <strong>April</strong> of 2008. She began her career in child support when her tribe<br />

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

human service programming in the areas of child welfare, domestic violence, prevention<br />

and foster care. She has served as President of the National Tribal Child Support<br />

Association and National Association of Tribal Child Support Directors. Lisa currently<br />

serves as NCSEA President and is on the Board of Directors of the Eastern Regional<br />

Interstate Child Support Association. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public<br />

Administration from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay.<br />

Print article here

Community Corner<br />

A Seat at the Table – NCSEA at The<br />

Hague<br />

by Hannah Roots, Independent consultant, lawyer and<br />

NCSEA Director of International Reciprocity<br />

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

a.m. start? And more importantly, is it too early for coffee?<br />

For almost two decades, NCSEA representatives have answered the early<br />

morning and late evening calls to participate in global discussions about<br />

international child support. Accredited by the Permanent Bureau of the<br />

Hague Conference on Private International Law as an official Non-<br />

Governmental Organization (NGO) in the field of child support, NCSEA<br />

played an active role in the negotiation of the Convention of 23 November<br />

2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of<br />

Family Maintenance (Convention) and continues to participate in the followup<br />

work undertaken by the Permanent Bureau concerning the Convention.<br />

NCSEA representatives serve on a number of committees, continuing to<br />

ensure that the voices of child support professionals are heard as the<br />

international instruments are developed and reviewed.<br />

As more than ten years have passed since the entry into force of the<br />

Convention, a lot of post-implementation activities are currently underway,<br />

including preparations for the first Special Commission on the Convention,<br />

to be held in early 2022. NCSEA is participating in the groups working on<br />

preparations for the Special Commission, including the Forms Working<br />

Group and the Administrative Cooperation Working Group (ACWG). Our<br />

NCSEA delegation for the Special Commission and the ACWG is led by<br />

Kristen Donadee, Chief Deputy Director with the California Department of<br />

Child Support Services, with NCSEA Board member Alisha Griffin and me<br />

assisting. Alisha was a member of the NCSEA delegation during the<br />

Convention negotiations and brings invaluable experience in international<br />

negotiations.<br />

NCSEA brings the perspective of child support workers to these meetings,<br />

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

the foreign affairs or diplomatic branches of government, and do not<br />

necessarily have child support expertise. We provide our input on the<br />

operational and practical implications of the Convention, based on the<br />

experience of the people working international child support cases. For<br />

example, in the recent ACWG discussions, we raised the need to have the<br />

Convention Forms available in multiple languages, to reduce the cost and<br />

delays of translation, and we highlighted the<br />

challenges faced by caseworkers where<br />

signatory countries have not filed a Country<br />

Profile. Importantly, because the NCSEA<br />

International Subcommittee includes<br />

caseworkers from around the world, we try to<br />

bring a global perspective to our interventions, as<br />

the concerns of caseworkers are often similar in<br />

all countries.<br />

NCSEA also has representation on the iSupport<br />

Governing Body. iSupport is the electronic case<br />

management and secure communication system<br />

developed by the Permanent Bureau for States to manage Convention<br />

applications. NCSEA’s representatives bring the perspective of<br />

caseworkers with experience working with child support case management<br />

systems. Finally, NCSEA is also represented on the Permanent Bureau’s<br />

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

one of the most challenging areas of international child support.<br />

Through these committees, we try to make sure that the practical day-today<br />

concerns of the people working international child support cases are<br />

taken into consideration. For those of us fortunate enough to participate in<br />

the meetings, we get a ringside seat to watch international instruments<br />

being debated and negotiated. We see first-hand that the countries have so<br />

much in common when it comes to child support. We develop friendships<br />

with child support professional around the world and get a small glimpse<br />

into their lives and how they deal with child support in their countries. We<br />

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

the end, we make a difference for global families.<br />

Hannah Roots is an independent consultant and lawyer from Victoria, British Columbia<br />

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

was the Managing Director of the British Columbia Family Maintenance Enforcement<br />

Program for 23 years. She was seconded to the Permanent Bureau of the Hague<br />

Conference on Private International Law in 2002-2003 and is the author of the Practical<br />

Handbook for Caseworkers for the 2007 Child Support Convention. Hannah has served<br />

in many roles in NCSEA including International Commissioner and her current role,<br />

Director of International Reciprocity.<br />

Print article here

Moving to Equity through Policy: Key Takeaways<br />

from the <strong>2021</strong> NCSEA Policy Forum Connects<br />

by Erin Frisch & Shaneen Moore<br />

Co-chairs, NCSEA <strong>2021</strong> Policy Forum<br />

Policy Form <strong>2021</strong> was one for the record books! With over 700<br />

child support professionals, 30% being first-time attendees, at our<br />

first-ever paid virtual conference on the topics of equity, diversity,<br />

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

opened with the engaging and thought-provoking Dr. Nita Mosby<br />

Tyler, Chief Catalyst at The Equity Project, who challenged us to<br />

be upstanders, look for our “fences”, and connect to our history.<br />

The first session set the foundation for the entire conference by<br />

giving us common language and understanding.<br />

We then used that foundation and heard from folks doing work in<br />

child welfare, the courts, public health, local communities, state<br />

and local child support programs, systems development, and<br />

research examining how we all can take a closer look at how our<br />

programs help and harm specific communities. Sessions were<br />

enlightening and energizing as we learned about ways in which<br />

we can be more inclusive, use diversity to our advantage, and<br />

build equity into our policies and decisions.<br />

Throughout the conference the dialog among attendees via the<br />

chat box and the small discussion groups enriched the experience

and helped us all connect what we were learning to our work at<br />

home. It was exciting to see how many child support<br />

organizations are finding ways<br />

to have the tough conversations<br />

and make change.<br />

The post-conference feedback<br />

was overwhelmingly positive,<br />

with 83% of attendees sharing<br />

they liked the topic-focused<br />

content. We couldn’t agree<br />

more with these key take-aways:<br />

“We have a long way to go to create equity, but we have begun<br />

the process.”<br />

“Our program needs to become more engaged in re-setting the<br />

future course of the program and what we are here to do.”<br />

“Child support agencies are working to become more inclusive in<br />

all aspects of the program and this is wonderful news.”<br />

“We are all in this together”<br />

We were honored to serve as co-chairs for the <strong>2021</strong> Policy<br />

Forum. Thanks to Lisa Skenandore, NCSEA President, for her<br />

vision and courage as well as the opportunity to serve NCSEA in<br />

this capacity. We also want to thank the NCSEA Board for their<br />

support of this somewhat risky endeavor. Our gratitude extends to<br />

the many speakers and moderators as well as NCSEA staff for<br />

their help in making the Policy Forum a success. Finally, we<br />

salute the NCSEA volunteers who served on the NCSEA Policy<br />

Forum Committee. With brilliance, talent, and perseverance, they<br />

recruited speakers and moderators and ensured the continuity of<br />

the conference theme and originality in sessions.

We look forward to a continued dialogue with all NCSEA<br />

members on how we can continue to shape the future of child<br />

support through moving towards equity!<br />

_________________________________________<br />

Erin Frisch is the Title IV-D Director for Michigan and Director of the Michigan<br />

Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child Support (OCS)<br />

Shaneen Moore is the Director of the Minnesota Child Support Division within the<br />

Children and Family Services administration.<br />

Print article here

Priorities for Improving the Child<br />

Support Program<br />

by Diane Potts, Vice, President, Public Knowledge<br />

NCSEA’s Idea Exchange has been a key event at the annual Leadership<br />

Symposium conference for several years. In the pandemic world of 2020<br />

and <strong>2021</strong>, NCSEA went to a virtual platform to continue the free exchange<br />

of ideas by diverse sets of participants centered around specific topics.<br />

In February <strong>2021</strong>, the Idea Exchange focused on the priorities for the child<br />

support program with the goal of having a detailed list to share with staff<br />

from the Senate Finance and the House Ways and Means Committees of<br />

the 117 th United States Congress and the federal Office of Child Support<br />

Enforcement (OCSE) once a new Commissioner is appointed. Several Title<br />

IV-D State Directors and thought leaders throughout the country, as well as<br />

OCSE staff, participated in the event.<br />

Even before the session began, there was a robust and diverse set of ideas<br />

exchanged for discussion. Among the ideas were:<br />

• Expanding the impact of the child support program by eliminating the<br />

$35 fee, focusing on getting money to families as opposed to<br />

retaining support for cost recovery, rethinking the federal<br />

performance measures, and adding new enforcement tools such as<br />

mandatory lump-sum reporting.<br />

• Addressing barriers to payment by expanding the federal financial<br />

participation (FFP) match to include employment services and<br />

providing an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for parents who pay<br />

support.<br />

• Creating operational efficiencies through increased FFP for system<br />

modernization, new hire reporting of independent contractors, greater<br />

data exchange among state assistance programs, expanding<br />

permitted uses of federal tax information by the Internal Revenue<br />

Service (IRS), and creating a national vital records registry.<br />

• Receiving additional support from OCSE with more hands-on<br />

assistance and guidance in managing intergovernmental cases,<br />

suspending penalties for declining paternity establishment

percentages during the pandemic, and creating a training hub for<br />

state programs around best practices and lessons learned from the<br />

Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) and<br />

Procedural Justice Informed Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) grants,<br />

as well as new training on identifying and handling child support<br />

cases involving family violence.<br />

The Idea Exchange was held on February 10, <strong>2021</strong>, with Jim Fleming and<br />

Diane Potts facilitating and Kay Farley memorializing the ideas. The first<br />

discussion centered around changing the five performance measures.<br />

There was nearly unanimous agreement that the current measures are<br />

long due for a critical examination of what they incentivize versus what<br />

outcomes should be rewarded in the program today. For example, the fact<br />

that collecting $1 in arrears on a case for the entire fiscal year currently<br />

counts towards the<br />

arrears collection<br />

percentage may not<br />

reflect the actual benefit<br />

the family received<br />

from the program that<br />

year.<br />

Finding common<br />

ground on alternate<br />

performance<br />

measures, however,<br />

presented a<br />

challenge. The group<br />

generally agreed that<br />

it would be beneficial to<br />

recommend to OCSE<br />

that it create a new<br />

commission or workgroup to examine the current performance measures,<br />

what they currently incentivize, what the program would ideally prioritize for<br />

serving families in the future, and new or revised performance measures<br />

that would align with those program priorities.<br />

The second discussion centered around mandatory referrals and included<br />

current sanctions for non-cooperation by parents receiving Temporary<br />

Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Ideas included eliminating Medicaid<br />

referrals, better defining the “when appropriate” standard for foster care<br />

referrals, and examining thresholds and the “cliff” effect of child support<br />

payments and eligibility-based assistance.<br />

Modernization of child support systems continues to be a significant<br />

concern. In addition to increased FFP for system replacements, the group<br />

discussed having a national vital records registry available to states, a<br />

more robust sharing of data, and modernizing the federal systems that<br />

interface with the child support systems.

The Idea Exchange dialogue then turned to the fundamentals of the child<br />

support program—the purpose it has in our society and how the program<br />

can help more families. There was some discussion on the anti-poverty<br />

aspect of our program and what data is needed to inform additional<br />

services and outreach<br />

that would improve<br />

outcomes for fragile<br />

families.<br />

The group looked<br />

critically at how the<br />

program is helping<br />

parents who are<br />

struggling to fulfill their<br />

support obligations,<br />

including the<br />

effectiveness of<br />

voluntary versus<br />

mandatory employment<br />

programs, whether the<br />

The group looked critically at how the program<br />

is helping parents who are struggling to fulfill<br />

their support obligations, including the<br />

effectiveness of voluntary versus mandatory<br />

employment programs, whether the current<br />

support payment performance measure<br />

provides enough incentive for programs to<br />

work with parents on employment-related<br />

issues, and the need for better technology to<br />

reach and relate to Generations Y and Z and<br />

their reliance on smart phone technology and<br />

real time interactions<br />

current support payment performance measure provides enough incentive<br />

for programs to work with parents on employment-related issues, and the<br />

need for better technology to reach and relate to Generations Y and Z and<br />

their reliance on smart phone technology and real time interactions.<br />

Throughout the conversation was a recognition that many, if not most,<br />

parents paying support have an established distrust for the program largely<br />

created by the enforcement part of our program.<br />

One of the new topics was on Senator Mitt Romney’s proposed Family<br />

Security Act, which would create a universal child allowance ($350 per<br />

month for newborns to 5-year-olds and $250 per month per child for<br />

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

be cost neutral as it would replace other child-related benefits and tax<br />

breaks including the Child Tax Credit, part of the EITC, TANF, and state<br />

and local tax deductions.<br />

The Idea Exchange group expressed concern that the universal child<br />

allowance may put the child support program in the role of recouping funds<br />

when the program is seeking to move away from that recoupment

emphasis. One participant opined that it would be a disservice to parents<br />

who pay support, although another commented that the concept has<br />

functioned as a successful anti-poverty measure in some foreign countries.<br />

There were two federal tax information issues. First, members of the group<br />

expressed frustration that audits on IRS information are not uniform,<br />

thereby leading to uneven enforcement of the rules. Second, the IRS<br />

policies on permissive use and disclosure of federal tax information<br />

continue to be too restrictive and hinder effective child support activities.<br />

On intergovernmental issues, the group discussed the benefit of a greater<br />

understanding by OCSE of how states currently process interstate cases.<br />

Another idea was for OCSE to issue guidance on how agencies should<br />

work with each other to effectuate the collection of support across state<br />

lines.<br />

The idea for a universal child support<br />

application came from the Public Relations<br />

Committee—a joint committee comprised of<br />

members of NCSEA, OCSE, and the<br />

National Council of Child Support Directors.<br />

The Idea Exchange participants had<br />

concerns about this priority due to the<br />

unique needs of each state, the goal to<br />

keep application forms as short as possible, and possible impact to state<br />

automated systems.<br />

The group expressed support for the Tribal Child Support Enforcement Act<br />

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

the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program and other resources to locate<br />

parents. The Act also provides needed clarification on tax refund<br />

information access by private vendors.<br />

The two final discussion topics were on parenting time and adoption of a<br />

more holistic approach to families. The group discussed the current<br />

disparity between married couples who regularly adjudicate custody and<br />

parenting time as part of divorce proceedings, versus unmarried couples in<br />

the child support program. One way to address the disparity would be to<br />

expand FFP to allow programs to incorporate uncontested parenting time<br />

orders into child support orders.

The Idea Exchange conversation concluded with the recognition that the<br />

child support program is one of the few programs that serves both parents.<br />

This provides a unique opportunity to take a two-generation, anti-poverty<br />

approach by developing programs that serve young parents with young<br />

children. Connecting parents who pay support with education, employment,<br />

training, mentorship programs, and parenting support could provide the<br />

positive, family-based start needed to break multi-generational poverty.<br />

The NCSEA Policy and Government Relations Committee will consider all<br />

of these ideas for priorities in <strong>2021</strong> and 2022. The goal is to focus NCSEA’s<br />

advocacy efforts on what will have the biggest impact on improving the<br />

program and shaping the future of child support.<br />

Many thanks to the following Idea Exchange participants: Margot Bean,<br />

Ryan Bradley, Jennifer Bradshaw, Paula Burns, Roberta Coons, Larry<br />

Desbien, Ashley Dexter, Erin Frisch, Karen Hebert, Sarah Hurst, Detra<br />

Kingfisher, Ethan McKinney, Phyllis Nance, Ann Marie Oldani, Patrick<br />

Quinn, Frances Pardus-Abbadessa, Carla Smith, Elaine Sorenson, Brad<br />

Thiel, Rob Velcoff, and Elise Toplis.<br />

Diane Potts is the Vice President of Child Support and Workforce Services at Public<br />

Knowledge®, a national consulting firm that recently merged with the Center for the<br />

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

2015, after serving for 6 years as Illinois Deputy Attorney General for Child Support.<br />

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

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

the Policy Forum in 2015, 2016, and 2019, and currently is the co-chair for the Policy<br />

and Government Relations Committee. In 2016, Diane was appointed as an official<br />

observer to the Uniform Law Commission’s amendment of the Uniform Parentage Act<br />

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

degree from Washington University Law School and her undergraduate degree from<br />

University of Illinois.<br />

Print article here

Howard Baldwin Remembered<br />

by former Texas IV-D Directors Cynthia<br />

Bryant and Alicia Key<br />

The world of child support lost a leader and a friend when Howard Baldwin<br />

died on March 4, <strong>2021</strong>. Howard’s work in child support dates from almost<br />

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

was then the Texas Department of Public Welfare. He continued to work in<br />

the Texas program for over 20 years, off and on, in positions of increasing<br />

responsibility, including as the IV-D Director and Deputy Attorney General<br />

for Child Support from 1999-2001. He also served as First Assistant<br />

Attorney General for the state of Texas, before spending several years in<br />

the private sector serving government child support programs across the<br />

country. The final years of his career were spent back in the child support<br />

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

Director.<br />

Many may not know that, outside<br />

His tenure as President came at a child support, Howard had a<br />

crucial point in NCSEA’s finances, and career of achievement in private<br />

Howard guided NCSEA through law practice, as an Associate<br />

bankruptcy. NCSEA emerged from Judge, as an administrator and<br />

bankruptcy as a stronger organization executive in the Texas child<br />

thanks to Howard’s leadership as protection agency, and as an<br />

President.<br />

advocate for child support and<br />

child protection improvement in<br />

the Texas Legislature. Howard<br />

was consistently driven by his passion for helping children. More than two<br />

decades ago he said, “It gets into your blood, because it makes<br />

a difference in people's lives.”

A devoted supporter of NCSEA, Howard volunteered for many years as a<br />

speaker at NCSEA conferences and as a member of important committees<br />

including Policy & Governmental Relations. He not only served on<br />

NCSEA’s Board of Directors beginning in 1999, but as its President from<br />

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

finances, and Howard guided NCSEA through bankruptcy. NCSEA<br />

emerged from bankruptcy as a stronger organization thanks to Howard’s<br />

leadership as President. Beyond NCSEA, Howard volunteered his<br />

expertise and energy to WICSEC and also served on its Board and as its<br />

President. Along the way, Howard developed close friendships with child<br />

support professionals everywhere. He was an engaging presence at<br />

conferences, and he looked forward to those occasions to catch up with<br />

those he knew and to make new friends. And he always took the<br />

opportunity to support and mentor<br />

his colleagues. In the words of<br />

David Stillman, former Washington<br />

IV-D Director and NCSEA past<br />

president, “Howard made such a<br />

difference in the trajectory of our<br />

work – and perhaps he made the<br />

It was truly striking to see the number of<br />

people, including current and former IV-D<br />

Directors around the country, who<br />

considered him a mentor or mentioned<br />

that he had helped them in their careers.<br />

greatest difference not by solely working to help shape the systems and<br />

structures in which we work; but instead through the relationships that he<br />

built and the colleagues that he supported and mentored – whose work<br />

goes on.”<br />

A native Texan, Howard loved his hometown of San Antonio, where he<br />

graduated from high school and from St. Mary’s Law School and where he<br />

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

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

the foundation for the continuing success of the Texas program. He<br />

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

Legislative investigation for poor customer service and staff unrest. At the<br />

same time he addressed those challenges, Howard led the Texas agency<br />

in implementing the PRWORA reforms. In little more than three years as<br />

IV-D director, the changes that Howard put into operation turned the Texas<br />

child support program around and put it on a path to strength that continues<br />

today. It also earned him the devotion of agency staff across the State.<br />

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<br />

Howard.<br />

The news of Howard’s passing was met with great sadness from members<br />

of the child support community in Texas and nationwide. He was described<br />

by his friends and former colleagues as “smart, committed, and a perfect<br />

gentleman; kindhearted and helpful; a wonderful and generous colleague; a<br />

friend to everyone; funny and kind; honorable and generous.” It was truly<br />

striking to see the number of people, including current and former IV-D<br />

Directors around the country, who considered him a mentor or mentioned<br />

that he had helped them in their careers.<br />

Senator John Cornyn, who as former Texas Attorney General appointed<br />

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

United States Senate Floor on March 11, <strong>2021</strong> (filter by Speaker: John<br />

Cornyn).<br />

“Howard was brilliant, effective, humorous, and exceedingly humble; a<br />

rare combination made even more striking because of his kindness.<br />

Howard did everything in his power to help parents support their children,<br />

both financially and emotionally, to encourage positive outcomes. There's<br />

no way to quantify the amount of good Howard did throughout his career<br />

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

many, many lives.”<br />

Most important to Howard was his family. He was devoted to his wife Rita<br />

and their sons James and Eric Robert. He talked about them constantly,<br />

and if you knew Howard, you heard about Rita and his boys. His family has<br />

asked that those who wish may donate to the Alzheimer’s Association<br />

(www.alz.org) in Howard’s memory.<br />

Print article here

PEP in a Pandemic Environment<br />

by John Hurst, IV-D Director,<br />

Georgia Division of Child Support Services<br />

In 1998, Congress enacted the Child Support<br />

Performance and Incentive Act (CSPIA) which restructured the child<br />

support incentive system. Moving away from a cost-effectiveness<br />

measurement, CSPIA established the performance-based incentive<br />

measures for the areas of paternity establishment, support order<br />

establishment, current support collections, arrears collections, and a<br />

revised cost-effectiveness measurement. The purpose of the Act was to<br />

line up the incentive system with the child support program’s goals of<br />

responsible parenting, self-sufficiency and the well-being of children.<br />

In the 20+ years since the implementation of CSPIA incentive measures,<br />

child support programs have performed well overall, especially in the area<br />

of paternity establishment. From 2002 to 2016, the median paternity<br />

establishment percentage (PEP) increased from 86% to 97%. This<br />

impressive performance has continued… until the COVID-19 pandemic hit<br />

the U.S. in 2020.<br />

The onset of the pandemic had a tremendous negative impact on the ability<br />

of child support programs to establish paternity for a variety of reasons.<br />

Courts were closed, and the ability to move cases through a legal process<br />

stopped. Child support offices transitioned from in-person to virtual<br />

meetings with customers, which prevented the ability to perform genetic<br />

testing sample draws. Hospitals restricted visitors, which significantly<br />

reduced the number of paternity acknowledgements for children born to<br />

unwed parents. Some hospitals stopped processing paternity<br />

acknowledgements altogether.<br />

As the pandemic has continued for a full year now, access to courts, inperson<br />

customer appointments, and hospital access has begun to resume

slowly in some areas. However, the volume of these activities remains<br />

below levels prior to the pandemic.<br />

Before looking at the pandemic impact on PEP rates for child support<br />

programs, a reminder of penalty performance measures and levels set forth<br />

in 45 CFR § 305.40 is important.<br />

§ 305.40 Penalty performance measures and levels.<br />

(a) There are three performance measures for which States must achieve<br />

certain levels of performance in order to avoid being penalized for poor<br />

performance. These measures are the paternity establishment, support<br />

order establishment, and current collections measures set forth in §<br />

305.2 of this part. The levels the State must meet are:<br />

(1) The paternity establishment percentage which is required under<br />

section 452(g) of the Act for penalty purposes. States have the option of<br />

using either the IV-D paternity establishment percentage or the statewide<br />

paternity establishment percentage defined in § 305.2 of this part. Table<br />

4 shows the level of performance at which a State will be subject to a<br />

penalty under the paternity establishment measure.



PEP<br />

Increase required over<br />

previous year's PEP<br />

Penalty FOR FIRST FAILURE if<br />

increase not met<br />

90% or<br />

more<br />

None<br />

No Penalty.<br />

75% to<br />

89%<br />

2% 1-2% TANF Funds.<br />

50% to<br />

74%<br />

3% 1-2% TANF Funds.<br />

45% to<br />

49%<br />

4% 1-2% TANF Funds.<br />

40% to<br />

44%<br />

5% 1-2% TANF Funds.<br />

39% or<br />

less<br />

6% 1-2% TANF Funds.<br />

Due to the pandemic restrictions in processing legal cases and limited inperson<br />

interactions, many states fell short of the 90% PEP requirement for<br />

the first time in many years in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2020. This<br />

requires those states to improve their PEP by at least 2% in FFY <strong>2021</strong> or<br />

face a penalty of 1%-2% of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families<br />

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

penalties in state funds for most states.

Penalizing the state’s TANF funds while the pandemic is ongoing will place<br />

an undue burden on a program that assists eligible families who have been<br />

most in need during the pandemic.<br />

Child support programs in this potential penalty situation are concerned<br />

and have implemented new procedures to counter the effects of the<br />

pandemic on their PEP. Some of these new procedures include:<br />

• Conducting additional outreach efforts in partnership with vital records<br />

agencies to educate parents on the Paternity Acknowledgment process<br />

• Implementing new paternity testing options for child support customers<br />

such as:<br />

o Testing in office parking lots (including on nights and weekends)<br />

o Arranging appointment-only testing due to restricted in-office<br />

activities<br />

o Serving as witness for customer self-swab<br />

• Expanding use of the administrative paternity order process to establish<br />

paternity orders in administrative proceedings, rather than judicial<br />

proceedings<br />

• Developing video messaging and public service announcements to<br />

educate parents on the paternity acknowledgment process and the<br />

benefits<br />

• Conducting outreach with hospitals and hospital associations to promote<br />

the processing of paternity acknowledgments<br />

While these efforts have helped<br />

child support programs to establish<br />

paternity, the effects of the ongoing<br />

pandemic environment have<br />

continued to restrict the numbers<br />

needed to meet the required PEP<br />

improvement to avoid penalty.<br />

Court access is still limited in many areas, and backlogs exist in scheduling<br />

cases. Child support offices continue to be restricted in their ability to meet<br />

with customers in-person. Many customers are reluctant to participate in<br />

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

despite all their efforts, the ongoing pandemic will not allow them to move<br />

enough cases through restricted legal processes or obtain enough<br />

voluntary acknowledgments to prevent penalty.<br />

In addition to making every effort on their own to meet the PEP<br />

requirements, many states have turned to the Federal Office of Child<br />

Support Enforcement (OCSE), national child support organizations and<br />

congressional representatives for assistance. The National Child Support<br />

Enforcement Association (NCSEA) has recommended repeal of the PEP<br />

penalty for many years due to contradictory standards that can both reward<br />

and penalize a state for the same level of performance. In <strong>April</strong> 2005,<br />

NCSEA adopted the “Resolution on<br />

Paternity Performance Revisions” to<br />

address these standards and make<br />

recommendations on adjusting the<br />

PEP requirement. NCSEA re-ratified<br />

the resolution in August 2018.<br />

In <strong>April</strong> 2020, NCSEA adopted the<br />

“Resolution for Necessary Child<br />

Support Legislation Due to COVID-19 Program Impacts.” This resolution<br />

outlined the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on child support programs<br />

in the areas of program flexibility and funding, employment programs and<br />

technology. The resolution concluded by urging Congress to enact<br />

temporary relief legislation through December 31, <strong>2021</strong>, to address<br />

concerns in these areas. Included in the request was this measure<br />

regarding flexibility to: “Prohibit imposition of penalties or other adverse<br />

actions for failure to meet performance mandates set forth in part D of the<br />

Act including penalties for failure to achieve a paternity establishment<br />

percentage of less than 90 percent.”<br />

The National Council of Child Support Directors (NCCSD) has also noted<br />

concerns with the PEP penalty resulting from effects of the pandemic on<br />

the ability of child support programs to meet the requirements in this<br />

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

Pandemic on Delivery of Child Support Services” to provide information<br />

and items for consideration regarding the impact. The statement pointed<br />

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

penalty under federal law for failing to achieve a paternity establishment<br />

percentage of at least 90 percent, which is a high threshold considering<br />

that courts have been closed or had limited access for more than three<br />

months in many states and in-hospital paternity acknowledgement<br />

processes have been interrupted.” Nine months later, as the pandemic<br />

continues, the impact is sustained.<br />

The federal law that establishes the paternity establishment penalty is 42<br />

USC 652 (g)(3), which provides, “the Secretary may modify the<br />

requirements of this subsection to take into account such additional<br />

variables as the Secretary identifies (including the percentage of children in<br />

a State who are born out of wedlock or for whom support has not been<br />

established) that affect the ability of a State to meet the requirements of<br />

this subsection.” Last summer, NCCSD shared with OCSE that the impact<br />

of the pandemic may provide the additional variables that warrant a<br />

temporary reduction in the 90 percent PEP penalty requirement.<br />

Child support programs have historically adjusted and adapted to changing<br />

and challenging environments to continue to meet performance standards<br />

and serve the families in need of program services well. The onset of the<br />

COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 required programs to pivot and change<br />

in major ways. They have done so and found new ways to meet the needs<br />

of families. It is concerning that programs that have historically performed<br />

above the PEP threshold, now are facing potential penalties resulting from<br />

impacts to their ability to establish paternities that are beyond their control.<br />

Those most adversely affected by TANF Block Grant penalties would be<br />

the families most in need of the services the funds support.<br />

John Hurst is the Asst. Deputy Commissioner, Georgia Dept. of Human Services. He<br />

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

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

Georgia DCSS program. John earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in<br />

Management from Georgia State University.<br />

Print article here

NCSEA Legislative Update:<br />

Congress Adopts Massive COVID<br />

Response Package, Pivots to Longer<br />

Term Investments<br />

by Tom Joseph, NCSEA Advocate<br />

It is early <strong>April</strong> in Washington D.C., with the cherry blossoms in full bloom<br />

and Congress taking a much-needed spring break after approving the<br />

American Rescue Plan Act—a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package<br />

touching nearly all sectors of the U.S., including financial supports for<br />

families.<br />

Economic Impact Payments (EIP) and expansions of both the Child Tax<br />

Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) will provide<br />

significant income boosts to millions of families. As of early <strong>April</strong>, the<br />

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had deposited 144 million EIP payments<br />

totaling $363 billion into individuals’ bank accounts and is now mailing 20<br />

million paper checks and debit cards. As with the second round of stimulus<br />

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

child support, consistent with NCSEA’s successful advocacy last year<br />

to support both parents—including those who owe support—until there are<br />

enough employment opportunities to be financially self-sufficient without a<br />

relief payment.<br />

While the EIP process has been relatively smooth, the IRS has signaled<br />

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

Short-staffed and still facing a processing backlog of 24 million returns from<br />

last year, the IRS must develop a web portal to enable individuals to make<br />

changes to income, marital status, and number of children. Initially<br />

anticipated to make monthly payments of $300 per child under the age of<br />

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

frequency to “periodic” through December <strong>2021</strong>, with a final six-month<br />

payment to be made when individuals file their <strong>2021</strong> income taxes. Since it

is a refundable credit, the CTC is not used in calculating an individual’s<br />

income.<br />

Under the Rescue Plan, Congress also increased and extended the EITC,<br />

consistent with NCSEA’s long-supported policy to assist childless adults<br />

and lower the EITC eligibility age from 25 to 19. The provision will provide<br />

income support to over 17 million people in low-wage jobs. Before these<br />

expansions, the CTC and EITC together lifted 5.5 million children above the<br />

poverty line. The Rescue Plan’s<br />

provisions are estimated to lift<br />

another 4.1 million children out of<br />

poverty.<br />

Given Congress’s nearly sole<br />

focus on COVID relief during the<br />

first quarter of <strong>2021</strong>, there has<br />

been little other legislative activity.<br />

Congress will now pivot to other<br />

longer-term initiatives. Chiefly<br />

among them is a recent proposal<br />

by President Biden to invest $2.5 trillion for a broad range of infrastructure<br />

projects. Later this spring, his Administration will release a proposed fiscal<br />

year 2022 federal budget containing spending and policy priorities for<br />

Congress to consider over the coming months. The President has also<br />

indicated that he will propose another series of investments later this spring<br />

to expand health insurance coverage, continue the CTC expansion,<br />

address paid family and medical leave, and increase the availability of child<br />

care.<br />

Congress may consider improvements to the child support program later in<br />

the year. Given the recent tendency of Congress to combine a number of<br />

bills into a bigger package, those initiatives would likely be attached to a bill<br />

reauthorizing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)<br />

program, a fatherhood initiative, child welfare improvements, or a<br />

combination of those issues.<br />

Likely candidates for inclusion in such a measure include NCSEAsupported<br />

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

Support Enforcement Act (S. 534) and the Providing Adequate Resources<br />

to Enhance Needed Time with Sons and Daughters Act (PARENTS Act (S.<br />

503). Long supported by NCSEA and sponsored by Senator John Thune<br />

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

and direct access to the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program and other<br />

resources to locate parents while ensuring that all IRS confidentiality<br />

safeguards are met. For its part, the PARENTS Act was adopted by the<br />

Senate last year by unanimous consent. Introduced by Senators John<br />

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

legislation would streamline a process to allow states to use existing child<br />

support performance incentive funds to establish voluntary parenting time<br />

arrangements without requesting a waiver from the federal Office of Child<br />

Support Enforcement.<br />

__________________________________<br />

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

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

Congress and the administration on behalf of the National Association of Counties<br />

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

deputy director of its 11-member lobbying department, where he helped manage the<br />

organization’s lobbying efforts and oversaw NACo’s federal policy development<br />

process.<br />

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

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

capacity, he coordinated and supplemented the County’s lobbying efforts on a wide<br />

range of issues, including criminal justice, homeland security, and human services.<br />

Thirteen years ago, Tom joined Waterman & Associates which has since rebranded as<br />

Paragon Government Relations. Serving as managing partner, Tom works on behalf of<br />

NCSEA, county governments and other public sector associations.<br />

Print article here

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

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

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

that technology has allowed us to stay connected from a distance, there is nothing that<br />

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

forward to Leadership Symposium <strong>2021</strong> in Austin, TX when we may do so again safely.<br />

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

Members to provide a message to our child support community members.<br />

Here are their “shout-outs”:<br />

2020 was tough, but our child<br />

support community is tougher!<br />

Thanks for your continued<br />

dedication to serving children<br />

and families. We are counting<br />

down the days until we can all<br />

collaborate in the same room<br />

– but until then, there’s always<br />

Zoom!- CSG<br />

Child support community –<br />

you are AMAZING. Our<br />

families are getting the<br />

support they need due to<br />

your hard work and<br />

dedication. Stay healthy and<br />

safe. – Young Williams<br />

As we look ahead to brighter<br />

days, we recognize the<br />

unwavering dedication of the<br />

entire child support community<br />

this past year. We are prouder<br />

than ever to support you in this<br />

critical space, and we applaud<br />

your steadfast commitment to<br />

shaping the future of child<br />

support, especially under these<br />

extraordinary circumstances. -<br />

The SMI Family<br />

“U.S. Bank ReliaCard®<br />

proudly supports our Child<br />

Support Agency partners.<br />

We look forward to seeing<br />

you all soon!” – U.S. Bank

Empowering the Movement for Change Through<br />

the Work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion<br />

by Shaneen Moore, Minnesota Child Support Services Division<br />

Director & Trish Skophammer, Ramsey County Child Support<br />

Services Division Director<br />

One of the few positives things about interacting during the COVID-19<br />

pandemic is the opportunity to engage in meaningful ways with colleagues<br />

from across the country without having to travel. NCSEA held its first virtual<br />

policy themed forum, entitled, “Moving Towards Equity Through Policy”.<br />

This interactive exchange was a welcome discussion with a palpable sense<br />

of excitement about the work that is being done across the nation in child<br />

support agencies to address diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).<br />

DEI work has three interconnected components. The components are<br />

questions, or challenges perhaps.<br />

o How can leaders develop the cultural competence of staff in<br />

organizations?<br />

o How does systemic racism impact the people who receive child<br />

support services?<br />

o What changes to policy and practice are needed to reduce the impact<br />

of systemic racism in the child support system?<br />

The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis caught the attention of the<br />

entire world. It certainly caught the attention of leaders in the child support<br />

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

staff in the aftermath and the civil unrest. It also required an<br />

acknowledgement of the trauma experienced by the Black community. This<br />

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

pandemic and learning how the pandemic more severely impacts<br />

communities of color. The phrase “racial reckoning” was heard often with a<br />

strong call to action. One answer to that call was for leaders to engage in<br />

DEI initiatives in their organizations. Another answer to the call for action<br />

was for NCSEA to take the lead in its education and advocacy efforts<br />

related to DEI.<br />

Systemic racism has an impact on the people who are served by the child<br />

support program. People of color only make up 15% of the general<br />

population of Minnesota. However, people of color make up 29% of the<br />

Minnesota child support program statewide,<br />

and 54% of the program in Hennepin<br />

County.<br />

A concentration of Black non-custodial<br />

parents reside in urban areas where<br />

redlining and racial covenants prevented<br />

people from building wealth and kept<br />

neighborhoods from thriving. Just recently,<br />

the University of Minnesota’s Mapping Prejudice Project revealed their<br />

most recent findings regarding a similar racial covenant project for Ramsey<br />

County with very similar results as determined previously in Hennepin<br />

County.<br />

The uneven outcomes show up in the use of enforcement remedies. In<br />

Ramsey County, 11% of the population is Black, but over 40% of child<br />

support case participants are Black. Over 55% of non-custodial parents<br />

with a driver’s license suspended for non-payment of child support are<br />

Black.<br />

The issues behind these numbers are complex and include barriers to<br />

employment such as lack of education and job skills, generational poverty,<br />

and mass incarceration. These are systemic problems that highlight a need<br />

to engage the community in new ways and provide services that help rather<br />

than exacerbate the underlying issues. If the child support community is to<br />

engage in the transformational change that is needed to address these<br />

issues, it must build cultural competence and awareness in its<br />

organizations, its leadership, and actively change its policies.<br />

The <strong>2021</strong> NCSEA Policy Forum shared a wealth of information and<br />

knowledge. Together, we worked to inform one another on how “Moving<br />

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<br />

forum to purchase the conference at www.ncsea.org, and watch the<br />

sessions with your staff and have conversations on things you can do to<br />

implement equitable policy changes within your organization.<br />

For example, Ramsey County Child Support Services holds regular “Critical<br />

Conversations.” These virtual meetings are optional for all staff and started<br />

as a response to the murder of George Floyd. Initial concerns about the<br />

divisiveness seen across the country, in the community, and in the<br />

workplace highlighted a need to<br />

bring people together.<br />

Conversations are based on a<br />

shared reading or video that is sent<br />

in advance to staff, along with<br />

discussion questions to consider.<br />

Topics include systemic racism,<br />

microaggressions, intent versus<br />

impact, unconscious bias, white<br />

privilege, and white saviorism.<br />

It is important to have shared agreements for staff who participate in<br />

discussions. The agreements may include:<br />

• Respect for different perspectives<br />

• Listen to learn<br />

• Engage in dialogue, not debate<br />

• Speak from your own experience<br />

• Be aware of impact vs. intention<br />

• Have compassionate curiosity<br />

• Be willing to experience discomfort<br />

• Stay engaged<br />

• Understand that events and conversations may trigger traumatic<br />

responses for people of color<br />

Participants in past Idea Exchanges talked about holding mandatory<br />

learning opportunities, voluntary participation, or a combination of both. The<br />

benefits to mandatory learning is that everyone participates and the

equirements highlights that DEI is important, valued work. The benefit to<br />

voluntary participation is that it allows deeper engagement from people who<br />

are interested in their own development.<br />

Other ideas include offering peer support groups for people of color,<br />

including DEI goals in performance reviews, updating respectful workplace<br />

policies, and hiring and promoting to add depth of diversity to the<br />

organization and to the leadership team.<br />

Recognizing that DEI work goes beyond staff development, Ramsey<br />

County is leading a collaborative process with community partners to<br />

review child support practices through a race equity lens and advocate for<br />

changes to practice, policy, and law to reduce the impact of racial<br />

disparities on the families we serve. Ramsey County will continue working<br />

with the fatherhood and employment services programs to provide services<br />

to parents who pay child support to help remove barriers to employment<br />

and self-sufficiency.<br />

To address disparities in driver’s license suspension, Ramsey County is in<br />

the midst of a project to review cases where driver’s licenses are<br />

suspended, but the enforcement remedy may not be coercive in terms of<br />

getting a non-custodial parent to pay. If the enforcement remedy is not<br />

helping to coerce payments, the<br />

“The end result of the project will be to<br />

develop policy and practices based in<br />

equitable policies that better serves the<br />

needs of families while improving<br />

collections.”<br />

remedy becomes a barrier to<br />

driving legally and obtaining or<br />

maintaining employment.<br />

Ramsey County is also<br />

partnering with the Minnesota<br />

state child support office to<br />

study the effectiveness of the driver’s license enforcement remedy and how<br />

it impacts communities of color.<br />

The Minnesota state office was awarded one of the Procedural Justice-<br />

Informed Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) Peer Learning Opportunities in<br />

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

license suspension policies and practices and to develop new materials<br />

and strategies for parents with suspended driver’s licenses. The goal is to<br />

enhance the suspension process so that it is fairer to paying parents and<br />

more effective in collecting child support payments from both the short and<br />

long term. An equity lens will be used to work on policy and procedural<br />

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

the state (northern, southern, and metro). Participating county staff<br />

alongside state staff will be trained on procedural justice principles, take the<br />

Intercultural Competence Inventory or IDI to help build the cultural<br />

competency and awareness of each individual on the team, along with<br />

participating in implicit bias training focused specifically on the child support<br />

program and how bias presents itself. The end result of the project will be<br />

to develop policy and practices based in equitable policies that better<br />

serves the needs of families while improving collections.<br />

There are several additional equity projects happening at the state level<br />

including: a newly formed Racial Equity Workgroup with our child support<br />

advisory board in collaboration with our county partners, ongoing review of<br />

procedures and policies in taking a closer look at the modification process<br />

from an equity vantage point, completion of a recent federal grant<br />

application for Cohort 2 of the “Charting a Course for Economic Mobility<br />

and Responsible Parenting”, with the focus of developing a cumulative<br />

child support curriculum solely<br />

for the Indigenous community.<br />

The focus of the project is in<br />

working with Native American<br />

community partners to develop<br />

a culturally adapted parenting<br />

curriculum drawing upon<br />

Engaging staff in DEI work is critical for<br />

all leaders in the child support<br />

community. Policy development should<br />

be reviewed from an equity lens.<br />

traditional Native parenting practices in order to serve youth and young<br />

adults age 16 to 25. At the state office, the work of the divisional equity<br />

team continues to provide education and training opportunities for staff,<br />

development of data and policy best practices from a racial equity view,<br />

and ongoing outreach, communication and initiatives. As state director, I<br />

hold a monthly space for anti-racism conversations on various topics to<br />

help encourage ongoing learning and understanding within the state office.<br />

Subject matter experts are often brought in to present and hold<br />

conversation with our entire staff.<br />

NCSEA Connects has created a DEI group. The group is exchanging<br />

training resources and articles online, and discussions are happening about<br />

how to make the group more impactful. The Policy and Government<br />

Relations Committee has established a subcommittee of Emerging Issues<br />

and leading Practices to make recommendations to the NCSEA Board<br />

about DEI efforts.

Where do child support leaders go from here? Engaging staff in DEI work is<br />

critical for all leaders in the child support community. Policy development<br />

should be reviewed from an equity lens. The people who received child<br />

support services should be included in discussions about transforming the<br />

child support program to meet the needs of all families. All this work is<br />

necessary, and is best done collaboratively, bringing people together for<br />

common understanding and the sharing of ideas.<br />

Lastly, here in Minneapolis, with the trial of Derek Chauvin underway, the<br />

reliving of the murder of George Floyd weighs heavy on the hearts and<br />

minds of every citizen. However, our personal hope for everyone is that this<br />

newfound commitment to racial equity and justice in Minnesota will live<br />

beyond the moments of today and create a brighter future for us all—all<br />

over the world! Keep those of us living in Minnesota in your thoughts as we<br />

move through the difficult days ahead.<br />

Shaneen Moore is the Director of the Child Support Division within the Children Family<br />

Services administration of the Department of Human Services and was appointed in this<br />

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

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

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

the work of the child support program forward. Shaneen is an equity champion, is<br />

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

program. Leadership is a very key element in providing strategic direction to all levels<br />

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

Shaneen began working on her doctorate in Management and Public Service at<br />

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

Administration from Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL, and a Bachelor of Business<br />

in Business Administration also from Western Illinois University.<br />

Dr. Trish Skophammer is currently serving as the Director of the Child Support<br />

Services Division in the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office located in St. Paul,<br />

Minnesota. She has 23 years of experience in child support. She has been involved in<br />

NCSEA for many years, serving on Leadership Symposium and Policy Forum planning<br />

committees, the Emerging Issues and Leading Practices subcommittee, and as former<br />

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

practice, Trish’s expertise includes leadership topics such as performance<br />

management; strategic planning; and diversity, equity and inclusion. Trish has a<br />

master’s degree from Bethel University in Organizational Leadership and a doctorate<br />

degree in Public Administration from Hamline University.<br />

Print article here

Pass-Through Payments to Families:<br />

Options Available to States<br />

by Elizabeth Morgan, Management Consultant,<br />

Public Knowledge<br />

Over the life of the child support program, the assignment, distribution, and<br />

disbursement of child support have changed dramatically. At the beginning<br />

of the program, the primary focus was directed towards cost-recovery for<br />

the government in current and former assistance cases. Over time, more<br />

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

state option.<br />

While there are also “family-first” options available to states with respect to<br />

the distribution of support in former assistance cases, this article will focus<br />

on the options available to states in the disbursement of support to current<br />

and former assistance families or, more specifically, the pass-through of<br />

assigned collections to the family. A “pass-through” is an assigned support<br />

collection that the state elects to pay to the family rather than retain to<br />

reimburse the state for assistance paid.<br />

Under current law, a state may pass through collections of current support<br />

and arrears in both current assistance and former assistance cases, with<br />

some restrictions that apply to current assistance cases, and to the<br />

required federal share the state must pay to the federal government. There<br />

is no current federal requirement to pass through collections to the family,<br />

though historically that was not always the case.<br />

Pass-Through Payments under the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984<br />

In 1984, Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act (DEFRA) which<br />

amended the Social Security Act to require states to pass through to the<br />

family the first $50 collected for current support while the family received<br />

public assistance (then called Aid to Families with Dependent Children or<br />

AFDC). The intention behind mandating this pass through of support was to<br />

incentivize custodial families to contact the child support agency to provide

updated information on the parent paying support if the family did not<br />

receive a $50 pass-through.<br />

This federal mandate, which took effect October 1, 1984, included the<br />

requirement that states disregard the amount of the pass-through in<br />

determining the need and the amount of assistance paid to the family. If the<br />

state disregarded the pass-through, the state was not required to send to<br />

the federal government the federal share of the pass-through. The $50<br />

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

Only current assistance cases received pass-through payments, and these<br />

payments could be derived only from collections applied to current support,<br />

not arrears; pass-throughs also were not paid<br />

from collections applied to assigned arrearages<br />

in former assistance cases.<br />

Incentives were also distributed to states based<br />

on the amounts passed through to the family.<br />

(Prior to DEFRA, incentives were paid based<br />

only on retained collections.)<br />

Pass-Through Payments and the Personal<br />

Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996<br />

In 1996, Congress passed welfare reform legislation in the form of the<br />

Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act<br />

(PRWORA). Under PRWORA, the AFDC program was discontinued and a<br />

new public assistance program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families<br />

(TANF), was established.<br />

In addition to establishing the new TANF block grant program, PRWORA<br />

also placed numerous new child support program requirements on the<br />

states, which included new assignment and distribution provisions. Under<br />

PRWORA, states were no longer required to pass through the first $50 of<br />

current support collections to families on public assistance. States could<br />

elect to pass through collections as long as the state paid to the federal<br />

government the federal share of these collections, even if they were<br />

disbursed to the family. Some states opted to continue the $50 passthrough<br />

while others discontinued passing through any amount to the<br />

family due to the lack of federal financial participation.

Pass-Through Payments and the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005<br />

In 2005, Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) which<br />

included a number of new child support assignment, distribution, and passthrough<br />

provisions. To move the child support program to a more “familyfriendly”<br />

paradigm, the DRA requires that families assign to the state only<br />

child support that accrues while the family receives TANF assistance. The<br />

DRA distribution of support also favored a family-first hierarchy and, with<br />

less support assigned to the state, more collections could flow to the family.<br />

The DRA also provided new flexibility to states to pass through assigned<br />

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

states are authorized to pass through assigned support collections in<br />

current assistance cases, with a limited amount of federal financial<br />

participation. In former assistance cases, states may pass through<br />

unlimited assigned support collections with full federal financial<br />

participation. 1<br />

In current assistance cases, there are limits to the amount of federal<br />

financial participation: the federal government will participate in the cost of<br />

the pass-through only if the pass-through is no more than $100 per month<br />

for families with one child, or no more than $200 for families with two or<br />

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

portion.” The excepted portion must be disregarded in determining the<br />

amount and type of assistance provided to the family.<br />

Figure 1<br />

Pass-Through Features and Limitations under DRA<br />

Pass-Through Feature<br />

Current<br />

Assistance Cases<br />

Former<br />

Assistance<br />

Cases<br />

Amount limitation? Yes 2 No 3<br />

Federal government will<br />

share in the cost?<br />

Yes, if disregarded,<br />

and only its share<br />

of the “excepted<br />

portion.” 4<br />

Yes<br />

1<br />

42 U.S.C. § 657(a)(6).<br />

2<br />

42 U.S.C. § 657(a)(6)(B)(ii)<br />

3<br />

42 U.S.C. § 657(a)(6)(A)<br />

4<br />

42 U.S.C. § 657(a)(6)(B)(i)

While the federal government’s financial participation in pass-through<br />

payments is limited in current assistance cases, states may still opt to<br />

pass-through more than the excepted portion, or all assigned support<br />

collections – as long as the state pays to the federal government the<br />

federal share of those collections that exceed the “excepted portion.”<br />

The Current State of Pass-Through Payments<br />

In May 2020, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)<br />

published an article that details which states 5 have implemented a passthrough<br />

policy in current assistance cases and the amounts of each state’s<br />

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

month, while six states pass through up to the excepted portion. Two states<br />

pass through all assigned support collections in current assistance cases,<br />

and 11 states pass through some other portion less than $200 per month,<br />

while 26 states currently do not pass through any amount.<br />

Figure 2<br />

State Pass-Through Policy Selections<br />

While pass-through payments are disbursed by more than half of the<br />

states, the dollar amount of pass-through payments disbursed has<br />

decreased by 33 percent since 2011. This decrease is most likely<br />

5<br />

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

Islands.<br />

6<br />

Child Support Pass-Through and Disregard Policies for Public Assistance Recipients,<br />

National Conference of State Legislatures, May 29, 2020.

attributable to the corresponding 40 percent decrease in the TANF<br />

caseload during the same period.<br />

Figure 3<br />

Pass-Through Payments and TANF Caseloads, FY2011 – FY2019 7<br />

2,500,000<br />

TANF Caseloads<br />

2,000,000<br />

1,500,000<br />

1,000,000<br />

500,000<br />

0<br />

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019<br />

Other Options in Current Law to Increase the Amount of Child Support for<br />

Assistance Families<br />

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

discontinue certain assignments of support. For assignments executed<br />

prior to PRWORA, states may discontinue these assignments and may<br />

treat any collections of these arrearages as if they were never assigned. 8<br />

This provision allows a state to discontinue the assignment of both preassistance<br />

and during-assistance arrearages for older AFDC cases, and to<br />

disburse to the family any collections that would have otherwise been<br />

retained by the state. Because these amounts should be treated as if they<br />

were never assigned, the state would not pay to the federal government<br />

what would have been the federal share of collections applied to these<br />

formerly-assigned arrearages.<br />

Similarly, states also have the option to discontinue the assignment of preassistance<br />

arrearages under PRWORA assignments. 9 These discontinued<br />

assignments would be treated in the same way—that is, the state would not<br />

pay to the federal government the federal share of collections applied to<br />

these arrearages.<br />

7<br />

Derived from OCSE FY 2014 Annual Report to Congress, tables 1 and 2, and OCSE<br />

FY 2019 Preliminary Data Report, table P-1 and P-2.<br />

8<br />

42 U.S.C. § 657(b)(1)(B).<br />

9<br />

42 U.S.C. § 657(b)(2)(B).

It is important to note that under current law, states may not discontinue the<br />

assignments of during-assistance arrearages for assignments executed<br />

October 1997 and later. While those assignments must remain in place,<br />

states still have the option to disburse to the family any collections applied<br />

to these arrearages in former assistance cases. States will not be required<br />

to pay to the federal government the federal share of these collections.<br />

Pass-Through Payments and Future Federal Legislation<br />

Recently, legislation was introduced during the 116 th Congress that would<br />

make significant changes to child support assignments and pass-through<br />

payments. The Strengthening Families for Success Act (H.R. 8704 and S.<br />

4844) was introduced in the House and Senate in October 2020. This<br />

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

allow states to pass through any amount of assigned support to current<br />

assistance families with full federal financial participation as long as the<br />

state disregards the amount of current support passed through for the<br />

purposes of determining eligibility and amount of assistance provided to the<br />

family.<br />

The Senate version of the legislation would also amend section 408 of the<br />

Social Security Act to eliminate the assignment of support in TANF cases<br />

after September 30, 2023. The intent of this provision is to move to fullfamily<br />

distribution by FY 2026.<br />

It is expected that the Strengthening Families for Success Act will be<br />

reintroduced in <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

________________________________________________<br />

Elizabeth Morgan has worked for the child support program for more than 30 years.<br />

Before joining the private sector, Elizabeth worked for the Washington State child<br />

support program. Elizabeth is currently a management consultant with Public<br />

Knowledge after a recent merger with the Center for the Support of Families. Elizabeth<br />

has served as a lead author of federal policy guidance and training for the distribution<br />

requirements contained under PRWORA and the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. She is<br />

co-chair of NCSEA’s Policy and Government Relations’ Legislative Education<br />

Subcommittee and is a past-president and honorary lifetime board member of WICSEC.<br />

Elizabeth holds a B.A. from Whitman College, an M.S. from Western Washington<br />

University, and a J.D. from Seattle University.<br />

Print article here

To our amazing clients, partners,<br />

and frontline staff across the nation<br />

– we miss your smiling faces! You<br />

are all heroes, helping children and<br />

families in need in the midst of a<br />

pandemic, and we are honored to<br />

serve alongside you.<br />

Your friends at Maximus<br />

All of us here at Informatix<br />

appreciate the opportunity to<br />

have stood with you in these<br />

uncertain times to deliver<br />

and support the child<br />

support community. We<br />

miss seeing you in person<br />

and hope that you are safe<br />

and remain well.<br />

Nothing displays the strength of a<br />

community like coming together<br />

during a global pandemic. The<br />

strength and resilience of the Child<br />

Support Community is unmatched -<br />

we are grateful to stride arm-in-arm<br />

with you toward a brighter future and<br />

we look forward to seeing you again<br />

soon! - Protech Solutions, Inc<br />

The pandemic changed so<br />

many things, but it hasn’t<br />

changed your commitment or<br />

ours! Thanks to everyone<br />

who’s gone above and<br />

beyond during this<br />

extraordinary time.-<br />

Conduent<br />

Congratulations to the Child Support community<br />

on your remarkable resilience and innovation<br />

while overcoming the challenges presented by<br />

COVID-19! The impact of your dedication and<br />

commitment on the lives of the children and<br />

families you serve is especially meaningful at this<br />

time and we are looking forward to when you can<br />

share your achievements in person. - Deloitte

A Remembrance from NCSEA’s President<br />

by Lisa Skenandore<br />

“It is good to tell one’s heart.” ~ Chippewa Proverb<br />

My heart is heavy today as are many in the child support community who<br />

had the privilege to know Pat Quinn and learned of his passing on<br />

Saturday, March 20th. Pat was<br />

appointed to the NCSEA Board of<br />

Directors last September and was<br />

co-chair of the Emerging Issues<br />

and Leading Practices for the<br />

Policy and Government Relations<br />

Committee.<br />

This simple proverb epitomizes<br />

who Pat was to many of us in the<br />

child support community. He was<br />

passionate about the law and the<br />

families it affected. If you were<br />

blessed to spend time with him,<br />

even for a few minutes, you would<br />

often hear stories from Pat in<br />

which he would share life lessons and his own personal journey. It is<br />

through these experiences that he gave to us in his own special way. I<br />

always left with a sense of comfort and feeling like I mattered. He offered<br />

no judgement, only support and his wise words learned from his own<br />

journey.<br />

Over the past few years, I was fortunate to participate in a Fantasy Football<br />

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

reached out to me with an offer to trade some of his players simply to be<br />

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<br />

kindness without solicitation, that I’ll surely miss.<br />

I have a nice picture of Pat<br />

and me that I now keep on<br />

my desk as a gentle<br />

reminder to myself to tell my<br />

heart. Thank you, Pat, for all<br />

that you gave to me and,<br />

most importantly, the entire<br />

child support community.<br />

We are blessed to have had<br />

your wisdom shared with so<br />

many.<br />

The NCSEA Board of Directors is actively working on a tribute to Pat that<br />

will be shared at a later date

Marketing the Child Support Program: A Public<br />

Relations Study and Results<br />

By David Kilgore, IV-D Director, California Department of Child<br />

Support Services and Karen Hebert, IV-D Director, New<br />

Hampshire Bureau of Child Support Services<br />

At the May 2017 National Council of Child Support Directors (NCCSD)<br />

annual conference, a director suggested a joint effort between NCCSD, the<br />

National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA), and the Office<br />

of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to proactively market a positive<br />

image of the child support program to the public and families who need our<br />

services. Such an innocent but insightful recommendation has opened up<br />

one of the largest and most complex issues for the program: why are<br />

parents who could benefit from our services not applying to our program?<br />

Overview of the Public Relations Committee<br />

As outlined in its Charter, this Committee was charged with exploring<br />

nationwide initiatives to promote a more positive, holistic image of the IV-D<br />

program and to improve the public’s and stakeholders’ understanding of its<br />

services. Several key responsibilities grew from that:<br />

• Develop strategies for a nationwide marketing plan and a<br />

corresponding timeline for implementation.<br />

• Develop strategies to generate support among state IV-D directors to<br />

participate in the marketing plan.

• Develop a proposal for a way to help smaller states obtain resources<br />

and assistance.<br />

• Develop strategies to educate legislatures, court systems, employers,<br />

and other stakeholders about the program.<br />

• Consider legislative changes necessary to facilitate and encourage<br />

participation in the program.<br />

• Develop strategies to change the perception of the program by the<br />

general public as well as the child support community.<br />

In addition to those larger initiatives, the committee has been contemplating<br />

strategies for technology, costs, and measures for any marketing efforts.<br />

Members have also been gathering information on successful marketing<br />

strategies within the child support community.<br />

The committee was initially established for a three-year effort. Not to give<br />

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

Survey Results<br />

While it would have been wonderful to jump right into a nationwide<br />

marketing plan, committee members quickly realized they needed<br />

assessments of states’ current marketing resources and capacity to<br />

implement a marketing plan if it were to be developed. An initial survey was<br />

completed in November 2018 that highlighted several key findings, most<br />

notably:<br />

• More than half of the respondents noted they do not have a dedicated<br />

public relations office/media person.<br />

• More than half of the respondents do not use social media.<br />

• Less than 25 percent of the respondents buy media advertisements.<br />

• Most states focus their outreach on their local community outreach<br />

events, employers, and legislature.<br />

The survey results sparked more questions than answers, resulting in a<br />

secondary survey. This second effort was completed in August 2020. Key<br />

findings from this survey included:<br />

• 72 percent of states have considered using texting and determined<br />

that their case management systems are not compatible with texting<br />

technology. Those that employ some texting technology do not<br />

interface with their case management systems.

• 69 percent of states faced the same limitation with mobile<br />

applications.<br />

• Some states are still determining the value of a mobile application<br />

over a mobile-friendly website.<br />

• A majority of the states that responded favored fact sheets, action<br />

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

baseline for their public relations efforts.<br />

• Nine of the twenty-nine states that responded provided an answer as<br />

to what their focus would be if awarded a digital marketing grant. All<br />

linked their efforts to more use<br />

of social media.<br />

An analysis of the results shows<br />

a lack of coordinated<br />

efforts and/or means to do so,<br />

consistent with the first survey<br />

results. This is especially true for<br />

more modern outreach<br />

approaches, such as mobile<br />

apps, texting, and interactive<br />

websites. The majority of states<br />

indicated that they are aware that they should be investing in digital<br />

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

that states are hobbled by internal restraints such as a “legacy system.”<br />

None of the states responding were clear on which actions would be the<br />

most successful or even the metrics that could measure success.<br />

The survey initiative was intended to provide a snapshot of the status of<br />

child support public relations today and offer an opportunity to learn about<br />

innovative and successful approaches used in states. The committee<br />

concluded that the child support program faces significant barriers to<br />

effectively market itself and needs a pathway to accomplish such<br />

objectives. Efforts to continue further, however, were deeply affected by the<br />

ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, as states grew significantly concerned<br />

about impacts in their state, particularly the future of their state budgets,<br />

and many initiatives across the country were paused.<br />

Nonetheless, the committee developed a formal report of the survey<br />

findings and conclusions in hopes the information could be leveraged by<br />

states to address or influence factors that complicate prioritizing and<br />

developing successful public relations activities now or in the future.

After releasing the report, the committee shifted its focus to what it could<br />

accomplish for states in the form of both low-hanging fruit as well as<br />

greater blue sky initiatives.<br />

Successes Along the Way<br />

Aside from the core discussions regarding national<br />

marketing and state capacity, several smaller ‘wins’<br />

have been achieved along the way. Fundamentally,<br />

the language the child support community uses will<br />

need to come into alignment for any sort of national<br />

marketing to be successful. Several key documents<br />

were developed for states to begin tackling that<br />

effort:<br />

Elevator Pitch for Child Support Professionals: You’ve been asked where<br />

you work and what you do. Instead of saying you work for government in<br />

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

little bit about your job and the program. Each consistent sharing of this<br />

message will build upon itself over time.<br />

Talking Points for Professionals: These talking points aim at uniform and<br />

consistent messaging despite the variety of stakeholders and complex<br />

subject matters that make up our environment. Each talking point is<br />

categorized to make it easier for readers to find the best one to suit their<br />

needs. Several of them can also be tailored to meet the individual needs of<br />

any state, such as incorporating state-specific data. A section also relates<br />

to services and challenges during the pandemic.<br />

COVID-19 Infographics: Like many other activities in the program, the<br />

committee’s efforts were delayed while we all struggled to get our arms<br />

around this challenging time. However, a crisis is exactly the time when<br />

communication and information is most needed. The committee created<br />

COVID-19 infographic templates so that each state could quickly pull<br />

together the latest information on the crisis and report the effect it has had<br />

on the program. The State of California graciously offered its assistance to<br />

help develop pandemic infographics to any other state that wanted it.<br />

The child support community is quite actively engaged in many initiatives to<br />

promote services and improve the customer experience. Here is a sneak<br />

peek at a few of them the committee learned about firsthand:<br />

• California created audio, video, and graphics to fast-message<br />

customers and stakeholders about what the program does for

families. See some examples here:<br />

https://drive.google.com/open?id=18HPA7xpZLdOIxru0wVnZRkkPh<br />

SbIol_x.<br />

• Bob Williams, president of Veritas, authored a white paper on a best<br />

approach to strengthen the positive public perception of the program<br />

and garner legislative support. “Functioning as the largest cash<br />

safety net for single-parent families is a powerful component of child<br />

support’s mission….”<br />

• Virginia’s Digital Marketing project enabled customers to apply online<br />

easily! The online method now accounts for 75 percent of<br />

applications, significantly reducing the paper process.<br />

• Virginia also conducted an outreach campaign for non-IV-D<br />

customers that provides important feedback regarding their<br />

perspective of how useful IV-D services might be to them.<br />

• California created trust among applicants using domestic violence<br />

protections and the option not to provide a social security number<br />

online. It also reduced the traditional static seven-page application<br />

with a method that guides applicants through each question.<br />

• Arizona has built a marvelous feedback tool to gain a better<br />

perspective from customers to improve services.<br />

• Washington has an online video resource library that parents (and<br />

other child support professionals) are free to access and use. The<br />

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

• California has a comprehensive media campaign using a variety of<br />

advertising techniques and media for specific targeted segments to<br />

generate awareness, inspire action, and influence behavior. The<br />

state has gathered great data and information on what it has learned,<br />

how it can innovate, and what it can improve. The campaigns are<br />

fully equipped with measures and methods to evaluate effectiveness.<br />

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

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

Upcoming Activities<br />

The committee’s three years went by quickly and, obviously, there is no<br />

national marketing strategy implemented. NCCSD and NCSEA agreed that<br />

continuing these efforts is still valuable despite the challenging nature of<br />

the project. The committee is now charging headlong into the concept of a<br />

national campaign itself. Three major approaches have been discussed so<br />

far.<br />

The first approach is to build a campaign around gathering further<br />

marketing intelligence on those we seek to influence. Several states have<br />

initiated some of this research already and gathered localized success and<br />

knowledge to build upon. Ultimately, though, this effort would seek to<br />

identify how our program is perceived and what we would need to change<br />

or implement to inspire new participants to seek our services. Conducting<br />

this research correctly comes with a cost; however, it may be a worthwhile<br />

investment before sinking money into marketing based on what we think<br />

we know.<br />

The second concept is to target people who think the child support program<br />

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

here to help. While we believe most people know about the concept of child<br />

support, not everyone realizes the program is here for them with services<br />

that are practically free or what those services actually are.<br />

The third effort could be considered a precursor to the second concept, and<br />

that is to build an online national child support application. Consider the<br />

benefits of one nationally accepted application that could be promoted in<br />

every state. It’s a daunting concept to consider just how complicated<br />

developing this application would be . . . or would it? Recent<br />

demonstrations of tools already in use by some states have shown that it is<br />

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

questions as well as state-specific questions, and still make the application<br />

streamlined and easy.<br />

While the committee chews on these options, we are also seeking<br />

additional thoughts and ideas from the broader child support community on<br />

what a national campaign might look like. If you would like to contribute to<br />

the conversation, please reach out to Committee Co-Chairs, David Kilgore<br />

at David.kilgore@dcss.ca.gov or Diane Potts at dpotts@sligov.com.<br />

There is a changing landscape in the child support program right now.<br />

Each of us are strategizing to keep up with the times and adjust our<br />

programs to account for those changes. We are not the same program as<br />

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,<br />

with the help of all of you and the tireless effort of the Public Relations<br />

Committee, you’ll be a part of that change.<br />

Karen Hebert is the IV-D Director for the State of New Hampshire Department of<br />

Health and Human Services, Bureau of Child Support Services since 2018. She has<br />

worked for the program since 2006 overseeing policy, field operations, customer<br />

service, and interagency collaboration and integration. She is Chair of the National<br />

Council of Child Support Services (NCCSD) Mentoring Committee and actively<br />

participates in the Council’s Audit Committee and the Policy and Practice Committee.<br />

Karen represents NCCSD on the joint Public Relations Committee with NCSEA and the<br />

federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). Karen obtained her Bachelor of<br />

Science degree in Human Services from Springfield College, and Master in Business<br />

Administration with a Leadership concentration from Norwich University.<br />

David Kilgore is a proud graduate of the California State University at Northridge where<br />

he received his master’s degree in Public Administration and currently serves as<br />

Director for the California Department of Child Support Services. David has worked in<br />

the Child Support Program at the county level for 15 years and served as director of the<br />

Riverside County DCSS, chief deputy director and deputy director for Los Angeles<br />

CSSD, deputy director at the San Bernardino County DCSS and held several positions<br />

at the Tulare County DCSS including manager and staff services analyst. David served<br />

on the Board of Directors with the Child Support Directors Association and a member of<br />

the National Child Support Enforcement Association Board of Directors.<br />

Print article here

We continue to be impressed with<br />

the resilience of our child support<br />

community and hope everyone is<br />

doing ok during these very trying<br />

times. We are hoping to gain back<br />

some sense of normalcy as vaccines<br />

become readily available and look<br />

forward to seeing all our clients and<br />

colleagues soon. – Veritas HHS<br />

Shout-out to all of our child support<br />

friends who are like family to us –<br />

sending sincerest respect &<br />

admiration for the noble work you<br />

do to improve the lives of children<br />

and families – hoping to see you all<br />

healthy, happy, and in-person soon<br />

at NCSEA, MIFSC, or anywhere! –<br />

Courtland Consulting<br />

Appriss Insights is proud to<br />

be a supporter and partner<br />

of NCSEA and its members.<br />

We honor the critical work<br />

of child support<br />

professionals and their<br />

tireless dedication to<br />

protecting the most<br />

vulnerable in communities<br />

all across the nation. -<br />

Appriss<br />

From everyone at Public Knowledge (a/k/a your<br />

friends at the former CSF), we are looking forward<br />

to seeing you in person very soon. Until then,<br />

whether it’s our new unintended bias E-Learning<br />

course or program improvements or ways to<br />

leverage COVID-relief funds, let us know what PK<br />

can do for you! – Public Knowledge

Is NCSEA U For You?<br />

NCSEA U was chartered in 2013 and currently has<br />

more than 135 alumni. NCSEA U provides a unique<br />

premier educational and professional development<br />

opportunity. It is structured for learning leaders in the<br />

child support community and it complements NCSEA’s<br />

other educational initiatives and strategies. The<br />

program is taught by nationally recognized child<br />

support leaders, offering a variety of informative and<br />

strategic topics. Classes are structured with an<br />

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

with real time work environment scenarios.<br />

Whether for yourself or your staff, NCSEA U offers a transformative learning experience<br />

and is a catalyst for networking opportunities. NCSEA U alumni would love for you to<br />

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

featuring Alumni in upcoming <strong>CSQ</strong> articles. Their stories will highlight why NCSEA U is for<br />

you.<br />

Meet Our NCSEA U Alumni<br />

Kathie Bohacek- Class 2017<br />

San Joaquin County Department of Child Support Services<br />

Title Program Manager<br />

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

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

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

ideas you can put into practice.<br />

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

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

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

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

Co-Chair the NCSEA Connects Sub Committee and Co-Facilitate the NCSEA Connects: Training group<br />

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

dedicated more time to my professional development by enrolling in classes and training programs to<br />

continue my education.<br />

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

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

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

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

John Hurst-Class 2018<br />

Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support<br />

Services<br />

Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Child Support Services<br />

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

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

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

professionals from across the country.<br />

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

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

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

Support Program.<br />

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

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

fact and provides many common sense type leadership tips.<br />

Roxanne Mudd – Class of 2019<br />

Organization Ho-Chunk Nation<br />

Child Support Lead Specialist<br />

Since attending NCSEA U, what opportunities (personal and professional) have you<br />

experienced? I have been temporarily assigned twice as the Director of our Child Support<br />

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

Reunion Plenary Session.<br />

NCSEA U @ Leadership Symposium focuses on the emerging and learning leader. How do<br />

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

team, guide them effectively and help them succeed.<br />

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

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

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

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