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October 2021 CSQ

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ChildSupportCommuniQue


Table of Contents<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>2021</strong><br />

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

Community Corner: Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder….........................5<br />

NCSEA Responds to Strengthing Families for Success Legislation………........8<br />

Collaboration is Key……………………………………..………….……………….14<br />

Tribal Child Support Legislation Moves Through the Senate …………………..17<br />

Workplace Tools for Responding to a Mental Health Crisis…………………….21<br />

Evolving Child Support Awareness into the Future………………………………28<br />

<strong>2021</strong> Leadership Symposium Wrap-Up…………………….….………………….31<br />

NCSEA U Spotlight………………………………………………………………….35


Lori Bengston<br />

NCSEA President<br />

Greetings! It is an honor and a privilege to serve as this<br />

year’s NCSEA president! To say I have big shoes to fill is<br />

an understatement, following my friend Lisa Skenandore.<br />

Lisa not only handled the business of NCSEA with passion<br />

and energy, but also had the extra challenge of navigating<br />

us through a pandemic. I hoped navigating the pandemic would not carry<br />

over to this year, but I fear we may be facing those challenges a bit longer.<br />

With the passing of the gavel, Lisa assured me she will continue to support<br />

NCSEA and me as we move into a new program year.<br />

In my previous role as president-elect, I was fortunate to sit in on many<br />

committee calls, and learned so much from those encounters. One of the<br />

key takeaways was that we all come from various backgrounds and<br />

experiences, and how we move forward impacts each of our programs in a<br />

variety of ways. I am grateful for the lively conversations! While at times not<br />

everyone agrees, in the end all views are considered, and we come away<br />

with a direction that benefits the child support program as a whole. I believe<br />

in our vision that NCSEA is the voice of the child support community, and I<br />

admire the passion that is evident as we not only share our voice, but also<br />

listen to the voices of others to promote the best outcomes for the families<br />

we serve. My goal this year is to embrace those differences to make us a<br />

stronger organization and ultimately, a stronger program.<br />

As I begin my new role, one of the first and arguably most important jobs of<br />

the NCSEA president is selecting committee chairs. The response to the<br />

call for volunteers was outstanding. Every time I reached out for committee<br />

assignments, I received a warm and enthusiastic “YES”! The volunteer<br />

spirit is alive and well in this organization and it is truly amazing to see all of<br />

the work done at the committee level each year. This year will be no<br />

exception. The Policy and Government Relations Committee (PGR) will<br />

continue monitoring new and pending legislation and advocating for<br />

effective program policy. There is a lot happening right now and the PGR


committee work never really stops but flows from one year to the next as<br />

they stay abreast of what is happening legislatively. The finalization of<br />

NCSEA’s strategic plan will set the stage for the work of all committees<br />

going forward. The final steps include charging the appropriate committees<br />

with carrying out the initiatives in the plan. It will be another busy year, and<br />

as we kick off committee meetings, I am confident we have the right people<br />

in place to get the job done!<br />

I am especially excited to announce that we plan to move forward with two<br />

in-person conferences: the Policy Forum February 3-5 in Washington, D.C.,<br />

and the Leadership Symposium August 7-10 in Charlotte, North Carolina.<br />

Work is already underway for the Policy Forum under the leadership of cochairs<br />

Margot Bean and Connie Chesnik. The theme for this year’s Policy<br />

Forum is “Focusing on our Vision – Recognizing our Various Perspectives”<br />

and will offer an abundance of interesting, timely and thought-provoking<br />

topics. Watch for registration information in late <strong>October</strong>. Please be<br />

assured that NCSEA will continue to monitor all safety protocols to ensure<br />

the well-being of those who attend and will communicate every step of the<br />

way.<br />

I hope you will take advantage of as many learning opportunities as you<br />

can this year. In addition to our conferences, NCSEA provides Web-Talks,<br />

Idea Exchanges, and NCSEA Connects, as well as the quarterly Child<br />

Support CommuniQué (<strong>CSQ</strong>) journal and weekly Rapid Read. If you would<br />

like to receive more information, please reach out to me or to NCSEA staff,<br />

Ann Marie Ruskin or Gillyn Croog.<br />

I look forward to the year ahead as we work together to promote and<br />

influence child support policy, as well as to educate, connect, and inspire<br />

those who work in the child support program.<br />

Print article here<br />

_________________________________________<br />

In addition to serving as NCSEA President, Lori Bengston is a Project Manager for<br />

Young Williams and has been active in the child support enforcement program for over<br />

16 years. She has direct supervision of the Nebraska Child Support Call Center,<br />

including the Early Intervention Project. Lori has been a speaker at many child support<br />

conferences on the topics of customer service, call centers, and early intervention. Lori<br />

has been active in NCSEA for many years, previously serving on the Board from 2007-<br />

2013. She is a Past President of the Western Intergovernmental Child Support<br />

Engagement Council (WICSEC) and the Nebraska Child Support Enforcement<br />

Association Board of Directors.


Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder<br />

by James C. Fleming, North Dakota DHS/CSE<br />

528 days. That is how long it had been from the end of the<br />

last in-person national child support conference (NCSEA<br />

Policy Forum 2020) to the opening of the <strong>2021</strong> annual<br />

meeting and conference of the National Council of Child<br />

Support Directors (NCCSD) on July 20. For a group used to<br />

getting together five or six times a year, 528 days is a LONG<br />

time to wait to see such good friends and colleagues.<br />

Many attendees mentioned that the NCCSD conference felt like a family<br />

reunion, except with folks you LIKE to spend time with. That would<br />

probably be true regardless of the conference location, but it didn’t hurt the<br />

mood of the conference that it was held in such a relaxed and scenic<br />

location as Medora, North Dakota in the summertime. And with an equally<br />

relaxed dress code.<br />

The relief of returning to in-person conferences was not just about a break<br />

in the monotony of telework and virtual meetings. It was also confirmation<br />

of the good will and common interest that is shared by child support leaders<br />

in both the government and private sectors. Turnout was smaller among<br />

federal and state participants due to travel restrictions, but there was<br />

unprecedented attendance from the private sector in terms of the total<br />

number attending and the number of companies represented. How exciting<br />

to see new interest in child support service delivery!<br />

With over half of the state directors not able to attend or send a designee, a<br />

new challenge faced by NCCSD was coming up with a way to support<br />

virtual presenters and attendees. NCCSD was very lucky to find a local<br />

audio-video company who made the transition from on-site to virtual<br />

presenters look nearly seamless. Video conferencing sure seems to have


come a long way since the beginning of the pandemic. The option of<br />

presenting virtually also helped a lot in recruiting speakers for a given topic.<br />

It is ironic that we are having difficulty meeting in person at a time when our<br />

training conferences are needed the most. The pandemic continues to<br />

prompt the child support community to re-evaluate nearly everything we do,<br />

even things like distribution that may have been dormant since enactment<br />

of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. The discussion at NCCSD and other<br />

similar conferences is extremely valuable when considering how we<br />

change the program moving forward.<br />

One of the frequent discussion<br />

topics for the “Rushmore” group<br />

of association presidents is the<br />

future of virtual attendance at<br />

national conferences. On one<br />

hand, a virtual option greatly<br />

expands the number of child<br />

support professionals who can<br />

participate, which is one of the<br />

main reasons we exist as organizations. Attending virtually is a lot cheaper<br />

in the long run than traveling to attend in person. On the other hand, as<br />

with the increased use of telework in our company or agency, collaborating<br />

remotely lacks an aspect of human connection. Virtual meetings are fine to<br />

a point, but are not a complete substitute for sitting face to face with a new<br />

friend and colleague from another company or agency and brainstorming<br />

how we can do things better. What kind of in-person attendance can we<br />

expect in the future if virtual attendance becomes a permanent option?<br />

Unfortunately, the prevalence of the Delta variant of COVID-19 may once<br />

again cause conferences to change to virtual only, and the <strong>2021</strong> meeting in<br />

Medora may be a brief window in time to see each other in person for a few<br />

more months. I hope we don’t have to wait another year or more to see<br />

each other again, but at least we had Medora.<br />

James C. Fleming is the director of the Child Support Division of the North Dakota<br />

Department of Human Services, Immediate Past President of the National Council of


Child Support Directors (NCCSD), President-Elect of the National Child Support<br />

Enforcement Association (NCSEA), and member of the Board of Directors for the<br />

Western Intergovernmental Child Support Engagement Council (WICSEC). Jim is a<br />

member and former co-chair of NCSEA’s Policy and Government Relations Committee<br />

and NCCSD’s Policy and Practice Committee, and a member of the editorial committee<br />

for the NCSEA Child Support CommuniQue. Jim also chairs NCCSD’s Employer<br />

Collaboration Workgroup.<br />

A second-generation attorney, Jim earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the<br />

University of North Dakota and his Juris Doctorate from Notre Dame Law School. He<br />

has been an assistant attorney general for North Dakota for 27 years, following a<br />

clerkship with the North Dakota Supreme Court.<br />

Print article here<br />

Save the Date – Registration opens soon!


NCSEA’s Congressional Letter to<br />

Improve the Strengthening Families for<br />

Success Act<br />

by Diane Potts, Public Knowledge<br />

NCSEA PGR Committee Co-chair<br />

Introduced last year in both the Senate (S. 4844) and House (H.R. 8704),<br />

the Strengthening Families for Success Act (SFSA 2020) proposed<br />

sweeping changes to the child support program. The most significant<br />

change would phase out Title IV-A cost recovery and require states to<br />

pass-through all collected current support and arrearage payments to<br />

families who currently and formerly received TANF. In addition, SFSA 2020<br />

would have required states to disregard current support collected in<br />

determining a family’s TANF eligibility and benefit levels. Other sections of<br />

SFSA 2020 proposed further impactful changes to the child support and<br />

foster care programs.<br />

Work by the Policy & Government Relations Committee<br />

Immediately after SFSA 2020 was introduced, NCSEA’s Policy and<br />

Government Relations Committee (PGR) began its work to examine and<br />

understand all the key provisions and their impact. PGR divided the work,<br />

with one group focusing on the changes to TANF cost recovery and<br />

another studying the Title IV-E foster care provisions. The last group looked<br />

at SFSA 2020’s ban on the recovery of Medicaid costs for births.<br />

Each group developed a paper with key information that informed PGR’s<br />

extensive discussions on recommendations. After months of work, PGR<br />

presented its preliminary recommendations to the NCSEA Board and the<br />

Directors provided their feedback. On August 1, <strong>2021</strong>, the Board approved<br />

the letter to Congress on SFSA 2020 [found here]. While it voiced support<br />

for many of the provisions, NCSEA urged the sponsors of SFSA 2020<br />

(Senators Wyden and Van Hollen and Representative Davis) to make key<br />

changes before reintroducing the legislation later this year.


Title IV-A Cost Recovery<br />

SFSA 2020 proposed that, effective <strong>October</strong> 1, 2023, states would be<br />

required to pay all of the current support and arrearage payments collected<br />

by the state on behalf of a TANF family to the TANF family. In addition,<br />

states would be required to disregard the current support amount for<br />

purposes of determining Title IV-A eligibility and the amount and type of<br />

assistance. For former TANF families, states would be required effective<br />

<strong>October</strong> 1, 2025, to pay all of the current support and arrearage payments<br />

collected by the state to the former TANF family and to treat the amounts<br />

collected pursuant to an assignment as if the amounts had never been<br />

assigned. Recognizing that states will need to undergo significant system<br />

changes to effectuate these requirements, SFSA 2020 provided for 90%<br />

federal financial participation (FFP) for expenditures related to the planning,<br />

design, development, installation, or enhancement of a system for federal<br />

fiscal years 2022 and 2023.<br />

In addressing these monumental proposed changes to the child support<br />

program, NCSEA first acknowledged the benefit of expanded state passthrough<br />

and disregard<br />

policies to families and<br />

programs. Passed-through<br />

support helps families<br />

become economically selfsufficient<br />

more quickly and<br />

“However, states should have the option,<br />

as opposed to a mandate, to eliminate<br />

TANF cost recovery from their programs”<br />

permanently. State child support programs benefit from pass-through and<br />

distribution policies that are more closely aligned with the mission of<br />

promoting familial self-sufficiency, and eliminating cost recovery would<br />

vastly simplify program administration.<br />

However, states should have the option, as opposed to a mandate, to<br />

eliminate TANF cost recovery from their programs. NCSEA explained that<br />

a federal mandate would have widely varying impacts across states given<br />

the diversity of their child support program funding structures as well as<br />

TANF and child support policies. Because many states use retained<br />

collections as a source of state funding for their child support program and<br />

draw federal matching funds that triple the value of the recoveries, there is


a significant fiscal impact at stake that could harm the child support<br />

program and the millions of families it serves.<br />

NCSEA also pointed out that there is wide variation in the extent to which<br />

states have acted on existing pass-through and disregard options currently<br />

in federal law. As of May 2020, half of states, as well as the District of<br />

Columbia and Puerto Rico, pass through some or all child support without<br />

reducing the family’s cash assistance grant.<br />

And under the TANF block grant, states have<br />

wide latitude to set TANF income criteria and<br />

benefits levels. A state option allows states<br />

discretion to develop a pass-through and<br />

disregard policy that is congruent with its TANF<br />

program.<br />

NCSEA urged additional funding to support those states choosing to pass<br />

through all collected current support and arrearage payments. Although<br />

SFSA did contain some fiscal relief to states, namely 1) forgoing the federal<br />

share of retained collections and 2) temporarily increasing to 90 percent<br />

FFP on states’ costs to adapt their systems for the changes in distribution,<br />

more financial incentives will allow most states to move forward out of cost<br />

recovery. The incentives could include:<br />

• Backfilling the loss of state IV-A recoveries to help states manage<br />

the negative revenue impact on state child support programs and<br />

state services<br />

• Increasing federal child support performance incentive funding<br />

• Allowing states to pilot expanded pass-through and disregard<br />

policies and to defray the loss of state-retained collections with<br />

Section 1115 waivers<br />

• Expanding allowable IV-D program expenditures to include<br />

employment services for parents who owe support<br />

Finally, NCSEA asked that states have the option to maintain distribution<br />

provided by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity<br />

Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA distribution). In SFSA 2020, states<br />

were required to distribute support in accordance with the Deficit Reduction<br />

Act (DRA) of 2005, which would mean that 49 of the 54 states and<br />

territories that currently use PRWORA distribution would have had to<br />

implement a new distribution method. While DRA distribution is more<br />

advantageous to families because federal income tax refund intercepts go


to the family instead of state assigned arrears, NCSEA urged that the<br />

method of distribution under PRWORA remain a state option due to the<br />

enormous impact the change would have on almost every state.<br />

Foster Care Referrals<br />

SFSA 2020 also contained proposed changes to cost recovery for foster<br />

care. Instead of using current support collected to reimburse the cost of<br />

foster care, the support would either be paid to the foster parent or kinship<br />

caregiver, or deposited into a savings account to be used for the child’s<br />

future needs in the event of reunification with the family, including<br />

reunification services. Collections on arrears would be deposited into a<br />

savings account for the child’s future needs.<br />

NCSEA expressed support for the inclusion of foster care provisions and<br />

asked that they be expanded to align with NCSEA’s recent resolution on<br />

foster care referrals. That resolution recognized that some studies have<br />

found that child support orders may actually prolong the period of time a<br />

child spends in a foster care placement and add to, rather than recoup,<br />

program costs. NCSEA also explained that many foster care referrals are<br />

not cost effective, particularly against a struggling intact family or a former<br />

custodial parent (“removal parent”) with whom reunification is planned.<br />

Eliminating referrals from removal parents seeking reunification helps to<br />

keep financial resources in the home and is consistent with the draft<br />

legislation’s aim to reduce the recovery mission of the child support<br />

program.<br />

NCSEA urged the bill sponsors to provide in the<br />

reintroduced legislation that foster care referrals<br />

from the Title IV-E program to the Title IV-D child<br />

support program be guided by the best interests<br />

of the child. Under that standard, there will be<br />

fewer referrals or closure of cases against<br />

removal parents or in cases where both parents<br />

reside together.<br />

Although the authority to make referrals selectively already exists at the<br />

state level, it would benefit programs and families to include this authority in<br />

the new legislation. If reunification stops becoming a realistic goal for the<br />

family, the child welfare agency can consider referring the case to the child<br />

support program.


NCSEA also weighed in on SFSA 2020’s proposal for a foster care study<br />

and report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and suggested<br />

that the study would be more productive if conducted by a joint federalstate<br />

workgroup of representatives from the IV-E and IV-D programs. This<br />

joint federal-state workgroup of subject matter experts could develop badly<br />

needed recommendations on referral criteria (in more depth than<br />

addressed here), the desirability and feasibility of child savings accounts,<br />

data sharing, and other issues concerning the most effective means of<br />

coordinating between the IV-D and IV-E programs. Such an approach<br />

would still yield an informative and much-needed policy- and procedurallyoriented<br />

report, but would also leverage the existing expertise of program<br />

professionals at the federal and state levels. After recommendations are<br />

implemented, it may be desirable at that point to have a GAO study to<br />

assess the implementation status and effectiveness of the recommended<br />

changes.<br />

Finally, NCSEA also suggests that consideration of child saving accounts<br />

be assigned to the workgroup for further analysis. As with TANF cost<br />

recovery, NCSEA strongly supports states examining retained collections in<br />

foster care cases. However, while depositing collected child support into a<br />

savings account for a child in foster care could benefit the child long-term, it<br />

also creates several challenges. These include ownership of the account,<br />

accrual of interest, income tax responsibilities for the account holder or<br />

child, and potential implications of turning over potentially large sums of<br />

money to a child at the age of 18. If the workgroup looks at and addresses<br />

those issues and recommends child savings accounts for collected support,<br />

the creation and management of these savings accounts for children<br />

receiving services should be placed with the IV-E program and not the IV-D<br />

program.<br />

Medicaid Birth Costs<br />

Current law allows states to recover birth<br />

expenses paid by Medicaid through child<br />

support obligations, which reduces the support<br />

provided to children and families. SFSA 2020<br />

would ban Medicaid-cost recovery for births<br />

beginning in federal fiscal year 2026 and would<br />

provide an option for states to implement<br />

earlier.


Although NCSEA typically does not support mandates on state child<br />

support programs, it supported SFSA 2020’s ban on the recovery of<br />

Medicaid costs for births. Forty-eight states have shifted away from and no<br />

longer recover Medicaid birth costs through the IV-D program, while the<br />

two that still do have seen a 35%-38% decline in the amount of recovery<br />

since 2011. In these two states, eliminating the practice will have negative<br />

budget impacts to both the Medicaid program ($12-$14M annually) and the<br />

child support program. However, the amount recovered by the child support<br />

program is a small fraction of the millions paid out by Medicaid in birth<br />

costs each year.<br />

NCSEA recognizes that recovery of Medicaid costs associated with the<br />

birth of a child disproportionally affects low-income families and takes<br />

money away from the children in those families. Instead of recouping<br />

government costs, the primary purpose of the child support program should<br />

be to work towards reliable, consistent financial support for children.<br />

Conclusion<br />

The bill’s sponsors have indicated that a bill similar to SFSA 2020 will be<br />

reintroduced in <strong>2021</strong>. NCSEA is hopeful that its advocacy efforts will result<br />

in better legislation for the child support program and families. Many thanks<br />

to the 2020-<strong>2021</strong> PGR Committee for their work on the letter and PGR:<br />

Tish Keahna Kruzan, Lara Webb Fors, Paul Gehm, Michele Ahern,<br />

Elizabeth Morgan, Jane Venohr, Jolie Sheppick, Kate Cooper Richardson,<br />

Amy Roehrenbeck, Connie Chesnik, Jim Fleming, Mary Johnson, Lisa<br />

Skenandore, Margot Bean, Nicholas Palos, Kay Farley, Erin Frisch, Robbie<br />

Endris, and Lori Bengston.<br />

_______________________________________<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 is a Past-<br />

President of NCSEA, its past Secretary, and an Honorary Lifetime Member. She served<br />

on NCSEA’s Board of Directors from 2013-2019, and as co-chair of the Policy Forum in<br />

2015, 2016, and 2019. She currently is the co-chair of the Policy and Government<br />

Relations Committee and a frequent presenter for NCSEA at both its Policy Forum and<br />

Leadership Symposium, as well as NCSEA webinars and Idea Exchanges.<br />

Print article here


Collaboration is Key!<br />

by Corrinne Flores, ADP, Inc.<br />

Collaboration is key when stakeholders work together to make a program<br />

or process a success! The National Council of Child Support Directors<br />

(NCCSD) Employer Collaboration Workgroup is a great example of<br />

collaboration and partnership between the employer community and the<br />

child support program. NCCSD established the first workgroup in 2018 to<br />

improve lump sum reporting and withholding. Workgroup members<br />

included state child support agency directors or their designees, members<br />

of the American Payroll Association, representatives from many of the<br />

nation’s largest employers, and the federal Office of Child Support<br />

Enforcement’s (OCSE) Employer Services Team. The workgroup<br />

successfully drafted model legislation that states can adopt to address<br />

lump sum reporting and withholding and addressed standardizing<br />

timeframes for employer reporting and state responses. In states with<br />

existing mandatory lump sum reporting laws, provisions in the model<br />

legislation may be used to create or update regulations and/or guidelines.<br />

Drafting the model legislation resulted in both employers and child support<br />

agencies seeing the process from a different perspective, including<br />

identifying challenges and recommending solutions.<br />

In addition to drafting model legislation, the workgroup recommended<br />

enhancements to OCSE’s portal for lump sum reporting. OCSE acted on<br />

these recommendations, and now employers receive a match notification<br />

when they report employees who are eligible to receive a lump sum<br />

payment. In the fall of <strong>2021</strong>, Communication Center will be available on the<br />

OCSE portal to facilitate secure message and document exchange<br />

between employers and child support agencies and OCSE staff.<br />

Based on the success of the Employer Lump Sum Collaboration<br />

Workgroup, attendees of the 2019 Employer Symposium recommended<br />

establishing another workgroup to address ways to improve overall<br />

processes between child support agencies and employers. In December


2019, NCCSD established the Employer Collaboration Workgroup to<br />

identify tasks and develop a strategy to accomplish those tasks, to improve<br />

shared employer and child support agency processes to establish and<br />

enforce child support orders. Since 2020, workgroup activities include:<br />

• discussing potential changes to the Income Withholding for Support<br />

Order form to be considered during the next Office of Management and<br />

Budget (OMB) renewal in 2023, such as reducing the number of identifiers<br />

on the form<br />

• reviewing mock-ups for the upcoming Communication Center on<br />

OCSE’s portal<br />

• gathering information about automating the electronic National<br />

Medical Support Notice (e-NMSN) and providing periodic updates<br />

• developing a standard response to verification of employment (VOE)<br />

requests<br />

• conceptualizing a national employer database<br />

The workgroup spent a significant amount of<br />

time on improving the VOE process by working<br />

together to develop a standard response to<br />

child support agency requests. While<br />

recognizing that states have some different<br />

VOE response requirements, the workgroup’s<br />

first step was to identify the information that<br />

states need to establish and modify orders.<br />

Nearly all child support agencies have agreed to accept the standard VOE<br />

response developed by the workgroup. This means when employers<br />

receive a VOE request, they can return the standard VOE response.<br />

Employers’ ability to provide a standard VOE allows for automation in<br />

responding to the requests, resulting in states receiving timely responses at<br />

higher volumes.<br />

These are all examples of employers working with the child support<br />

community to understand different perspectives, capabilities, and<br />

limitations, and using that information to create efficiencies and processes<br />

that benefit all stakeholders and ultimately ensure children and families<br />

receive child support.<br />

Corri Flores is the Director of Government Affairs for ADP, LLC. Corri manages the<br />

relationships between ADP and Wage Garnishments agencies to gather information<br />

and cultivate positive relationships. She has been with ADP for over twenty-six years


and has spent much of her career within the Agency Relations organization. She has<br />

participated on the American Payroll Association’s Government Relations Task Force<br />

(GRTF) for Child Support and Wage Garnishments workgroups for the past eight years<br />

and is the current Chair of both the GRTF Child Support and Garnishment workgroups.<br />

She is a member of the National Child Support Enforcement Association and currently<br />

serves on its Board of Directors.<br />

Print article here


A Decade in the Making: Tribal Child<br />

Support Legislation Moves Through<br />

the Senate<br />

The Tribal Child Support Enforcement Act passed the Senate on<br />

July 13th, <strong>2021</strong> by unanimous consent<br />

by Lisa Skenandore, Vice President, SMI<br />

After more than a decade of hard work and consistent advocacy by the<br />

tribal child support community, critical legislation for the tribal child support<br />

program has been passed unanimously by the United States Senate. This<br />

legislation—perhaps most importantly—grants the tribal child support<br />

program access to the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program (FTROP).<br />

When the tribal child support program was first authorized by the passage<br />

of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of<br />

1996, tribes were not given access to the Offset Program. In that same<br />

year, existing state child support programs were authorized to use FTROP<br />

by the Debt Collection Improvement Act and Executive Order 13019,<br />

neither of which provided FTROP access to the tribes. These missed<br />

opportunities to include the tribes in an effective collection program created<br />

a significant service barrier for the tribes.<br />

The journey to change this issue began in 2010 when I was then president<br />

of the National Association of Tribal Child Support Directors. During one of<br />

our biannual meetings, staff from both the Office of Child Support<br />

Enforcement (OCSE) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of<br />

Safeguards were present and shared the work and discussions, explaining<br />

how we came to this point. Ultimately, they encouraged us to take a strong<br />

advocacy position and work on the needed fix. Both agencies<br />

acknowledged that they could not in their capacity assist us with advocacy,<br />

and in order for the tribes to access the offset program or data share with<br />

our state counterparts, a change in legislation was necessary. This should<br />

be simple, right? One would think so; however, we soon found that it was<br />

more complicated because a legislative change would affect both the<br />

Social Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code. This was a double-


edged sword that most did not want to tackle for fear that it could open the<br />

door to other unanticipated changes in either the Act or the Code.<br />

Despite these challenges, we knew we had to persevere. Seeking the<br />

legislative change would not only provide parity to the tribes in enforcement<br />

resources, but also remedy another issue concerning the tribes’ use of<br />

state child support case management systems. Many of the tribal<br />

programs, including my own, use the states’ automated systems. During<br />

the states’ triennial IRS audits, it was determined that tribal child support<br />

programs were not permitted access to IRS data, although they were (and<br />

still are) subject to the same rules and regulations of IRS Publication 1075.<br />

As a result of that audit, states were issued findings related to tribal access<br />

to their state systems.<br />

Fortunately, most findings were<br />

held in abeyance, as the IRS<br />

recognized that a larger solution<br />

was needed, and ultimately the<br />

states were not at fault. As a<br />

temporary fix, the Office of<br />

Safeguards started performing<br />

in-person audits at tribal offices,<br />

and the tribes themselves very<br />

Despite these challenges, we knew we<br />

had to persevere. Seeking the legislative<br />

change would not only provide parity to<br />

the tribes in enforcement resources, but<br />

also remedy another issue concerning<br />

the tribes’ use of state child support case<br />

management systems.<br />

rarely had findings. More recently in order to address the problem, the<br />

states’ tribal agreements were required to contain language specifying that<br />

the tribes are state contractors. Again, a temporary fix to a perpetual<br />

problem that needed to be changed.<br />

After meeting with OCSE and IRS staff at the directors’ meeting, a small<br />

team consisting of four tribal directors and one tribal agency attorney took<br />

up the challenge. We organized ourselves with little to no idea of how we<br />

would proceed or what advocacy truly meant. It was a blessing of sorts, as<br />

we all got to know each other better after spending countless hours working<br />

together on such an important project. We were fortunate that our team’s<br />

attorney had numerous connections in Washington D.C. who helped us<br />

forge a path forward. These connections provided much-needed advice<br />

and guidance to our team of unknowing yet passionate child support<br />

professionals. We truly were learning as we went. We knew we supported<br />

the cause, but we did not know how to proceed and make change happen.<br />

One of our earliest connections was made in the House of Representatives<br />

through the Ways and Means Committee with a majority staffer from the


Human Resource Subcommittee. This subcommittee had jurisdiction over<br />

the child support program (it still does to this day, although it has been<br />

renamed the Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support). Thankfully,<br />

this staffer found commonality with us, being from the same home state,<br />

and bought into our mission so much so that she took it upon herself to<br />

draft legislative language for us. This was just one of the many kindnesses<br />

we were lucky to receive early on from those we contacted on the Hill.<br />

We were advised to garner support for our issue from across the entire<br />

child support community as we were often asked what our state<br />

counterparts thought about tribes having direct access to FTROP. As a<br />

result, we sought letters of support from the National Council of Child<br />

Support Directors (NCCSD), as well as countless support letters from tribal<br />

leaders, state IV-D directors, and other state leaders. We also focused on<br />

gathering support from the child support associations and found that<br />

ERICSA and NCSEA were very quick to sign on. ERICSA was kind enough<br />

to do a white paper in support of the effort, and NCSEA engaged the<br />

services of its advocate.<br />

We then found ourselves meeting<br />

with both houses of Congress,<br />

including staff from committees with<br />

jurisdiction over child support and<br />

taxation. Along the way we met<br />

many wonderful staff who guided<br />

and assisted us wherever possible.<br />

They often provided names of<br />

offices we should visit, and<br />

suggestions on how to approach the conversation with others. A personal<br />

highlight for me was bumping into Senator John McCain after I exited the<br />

ladies’ room while on the Hill. He joked with us and said that was usually<br />

where he hung out to meet people. Through all the countless visits and<br />

knocking on doors, we grew in knowledge and were blessed to meet many<br />

fascinating people.<br />

Full speed ahead and countless hours later, we were fortunate to gain<br />

support from Senator John Thune in South Dakota, who agreed to sponsor<br />

our legislation. We reached across the aisle and asked a colleague in<br />

Oregon, IV-D Director Kate Cooper-Richardson, to assist us in obtaining<br />

support from then Ranking Chairman, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. Many<br />

meetings and hours later, we did receive his support and agreement to


cosponsor the important legislation. During these conversations, we<br />

included NCCSD President Jim Fleming to assist with some of the more<br />

complicated questions that we could not answer merely because we did not<br />

have access to, or experience with, the offset program.<br />

This collaborative effort also provided an opportunity to make a legislative<br />

change benefitting all child support agencies, not just the tribes. Under<br />

current law, agents of a child support agency--including private contractors<br />

and other government agencies--may receive only a taxpayer’s address,<br />

social security number, and amount of offset. The Tribal Child Support<br />

Enforcement Act removes this artificial barrier for all entities and allows all<br />

Federal Tax Information to be shared with agents of the child support<br />

agency, as long as the information remains protected and is used only for<br />

purposes of establishing and enforcing child support.<br />

The legislation was first introduced in the 116 th Congress in 2020 and then<br />

again in the 117 th Congress, where it successfully passed the Senate on<br />

July 13 th , <strong>2021</strong>, by unanimous consent. Now we must circle back and carry<br />

our message and legislation forward to the House, where we hope to<br />

encounter the same great collaboration we received in the Senate. This will<br />

ultimately lead to full passage of the Act and, as a result, a new age of<br />

service in our program.<br />

View the full bill here: Tribal Child Support Enforcement Act<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 April of 2008. She is Immediate Past President of NCSEA, serving<br />

as President 2020-<strong>2021</strong>. Along with child support she has also led other human service<br />

programming in the areas of child welfare, domestic violence, prevention and foster<br />

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

National Association of Tribal Child Support Directors. She holds a Bachelor of Science<br />

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

Print article here


Workplace Tools for Responding to a<br />

Mental Health Crisis<br />

by Dr Wendy Anson, Engaged CTC LLC<br />

Mental health of U.S. workers has steadily declined since the onset of the<br />

COVID-19 pandemic. A 2020 article by McKinsey suggests an estimated<br />

35 million people could develop a new behavioral health condition as a<br />

result of the pandemic. A study by Lyra Health found 40% of workers<br />

surveyed in early 2020 reported they are dealing with an acute mental<br />

health condition, up 20.6% from pre-pandemic numbers. Acute mental<br />

health conditions were described as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic<br />

stress disorder. Less acute mental health conditions such as stress,<br />

burnout, and relationships issues also increased. Burnout, officially<br />

recognized by the World Health Organization in 2019 as an occupational<br />

phenomenon, has consistently been reported at higher levels for caring<br />

professionals, such as caseworkers. Despite the headlines and reports,<br />

research has provided insights into how we can supportively respond to the<br />

mental health crisis in the workplace. Please note that this information is<br />

not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice,<br />

diagnosis, or treatment.<br />

Social Support<br />

Social support has been linked to lower degrees of burnout (Ye et al.,<br />

<strong>2021</strong>); as a protective factor in terms of mental health (Szkody & McKinney,<br />

2019); and as a contributor to a) emotional resilience, b) a mechanism that<br />

may decrease loneliness, and c) increased hope (Bareket-Bojmel et al.,<br />

<strong>2021</strong>). Social support consists of feelings of being cared for, the ability to<br />

attain assistance from others, and being part of a supportive network.<br />

Creating meaningful opportunities for social support in the midst of a<br />

pandemic is challenging but not impossible.<br />

Social support comes in different shapes and sizes. It may include a brief<br />

check-in call with a colleague on a weekly basis. It may be confirming


emote workers have the necessary tools and resources to perform their<br />

work in a virtual environment. Or it may mean creatively working out an<br />

alternative work schedule with the single parent who is struggling to find<br />

daycare. When the type of support needed is unclear, ask, “What support<br />

can I provide?” Using a “what” question conveys an assumption that help is<br />

needed so the recipient of the question is more likely to provide a<br />

response.<br />

Process Loss is a term used to define time spent by group members on<br />

tasks unrelated to team goals or accomplishments. Process Loss supports<br />

group maintenance functions such as conflict resolution and, more<br />

importantly for purposes of this article, social activities. Social activities<br />

such as team building may be viewed as unnecessary or costly. However,<br />

social activities among team members strengthen feelings of social<br />

support. Team building in the midst of COVID-19 has presented a<br />

challenge for many. Creative leaders have implemented time for social<br />

interaction using technology for virtual meetings, lunches, happy hours,<br />

book clubs, or even virtual fitness sessions. One company initiated virtual<br />

networking events for new hires to meet existing employees on a monthly<br />

basis throughout the pandemic. These types of events are most successful<br />

when they are voluntary and are offered during normal working hours.<br />

In-person social activities may still be a possibility for teams in warmer<br />

climates or locations that permit social distancing and other COVID-19<br />

mitigation efforts. Meet up with colleagues in the park for a team lunch or<br />

socially distanced meeting. Go old school by sending a co-worker a<br />

handwritten note at home.<br />

Destigmatize Mental Health<br />

Destigmatizing mental health in the workplace has become so critical that<br />

the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) introduced a new<br />

Workplace Mental Health Ally Certification program in September of this<br />

year. Social stigma may result in individuals not seeking needed help<br />

(Bharadwaj, 2017). Talking about mental health isn’t easy. A Lyra Health<br />

study found that 42% of workers are not comfortable talking about their<br />

mental health with a manager and 36% were uncomfortable discussing<br />

their mental health with a peer. One way we can cultivate a safe<br />

environment for colleagues and peers is to be vulnerable about our own<br />

mental health challenges. A second Lyra Health study suggests that<br />

displaying empathy, promoting casual wellness check-ins, and reminding<br />

employees of available resources are all key to preventing burnout.


Athletes like Michael Phelps, Naomi Osaka, and Simone Biles received an<br />

outpouring of support when they discussed their challenges with mental<br />

health issues. It’s important to provide support to individuals who speak up<br />

about their challenges with burnout, depression, or other mental health<br />

challenges.<br />

Tools for Responding<br />

There are many tools we can utilize to help ourselves when dealing with<br />

mental health challenges. The Anxiety & Depression Association of<br />

America (ADAA) provides a helpful infographic with several reminders and<br />

insights on how to deal with stress and anxiety. Cognitive restructuring is a<br />

useful framework for challenging negative automatic thoughts (NATs).<br />

Cognitive restructuring includes identifying, disputing, and rebutting NATs.<br />

A quick way to recall these steps is the use of the Trap It, Map It, Zap It<br />

model from meQuilibrium. Trap the emotion, Map its origin, and Zap it by<br />

testing its validity.<br />

Developing resilience is another useful way to respond to the ongoing<br />

challenges that spark stress, burnout, and other mental health challenges.<br />

Resilience incorporates various mental processes that help an individual<br />

bounce back from harmful stressors. These mental processes include life<br />

satisfaction, optimism, positive affect, self-efficacy, self-esteem, and social<br />

support.<br />

• Life Satisfaction: Gratitude is a powerful means of cultivating life<br />

satisfaction and well-being. Link the practice of gratitude to an<br />

existing daily routine like waiting for your morning coffee to brew or<br />

brushing your teeth. (For more on habit stacking, check out Atomic<br />

Habits by James Clear.)<br />

• Optimism: Reframing our view of our goals or identity can help us<br />

shift to a more optimistic mindset. Rather than saying “I need to read<br />

more,” try “I am a reader.” Again, if this is a new activity, anchor it to<br />

an existing habit or routine. For example, place a book on your pillow<br />

after making your bed in the morning to help you remember to read a<br />

few minutes each night. (Of course, making your bed in the morning<br />

is already part of your routine!)<br />

• Positive affect: Positive affect refers to a person’s propensity to<br />

experience positive emotions and interact with others and with life’s<br />

challenges in a positive way. While we have a strong bias towards a<br />

negative affect, it is possible to shift our perspective towards a more


positive affect. Identify a positive mentor, someone that consistently<br />

focuses upon the positive. Follow that person’s example. Begin<br />

intently looking for and relishing experiences of joy, hope, pride,<br />

inspiration, awe, and love (Frederickson, 2010).<br />

• Self-efficacy: Reflect upon and list the skills you developed to achieve<br />

former accomplishments and successes.<br />

• Self-esteem: Leary and Baumeister (2000) found that recognizing<br />

and living in congruence with core values is essential in appraising<br />

your value. Another way to build self-esteem is to cultivate a growth<br />

mindset. Instead of telling yourself, “I’m not good at XY or Z,” tell<br />

yourself, “I am learning XY or Z and I’ll figure it out!”<br />

• Social support: In addition to cultivating social support at work, build<br />

and nurture close friendships. Being intentional about our<br />

relationships, investing in others, and volunteering are all ways to<br />

cultivate social support.<br />

Final Thoughts<br />

For many, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided time for reflection and<br />

reassessment of what is important in life (Bussien et al., 2020). For others,<br />

it has exacerbated feelings of loneliness and isolation (Bussien et al.).<br />

Individual experiences and responses to the pandemic are just that—<br />

individual. There is no one way to respond to the unique and complex<br />

experiences individuals have faced as a result of the pandemic.<br />

For those struggling with a mental health challenge, suggesting they look<br />

on the bright side is not helpful. Reappraisal, the process of reconstruing a<br />

minor setback into an opportunity, works well at times; at others, it can be<br />

viewed as toxic positivity. Reappraising the inconvenience of a broken<br />

escalator as an opportunity to use the stairs and get some exercise may<br />

help one respond to an inconvenience. The pandemic has not been a<br />

minor inconvenience; for many it has resulted in life-altering circumstances<br />

and challenges.<br />

If you or a loved one needs help, one positive outcome from the COVID-19<br />

pandemic is the ready availability of telehealth providers. The American<br />

Psychological Association (APA) offers these suggestions for locating a<br />

mental health provider:<br />

• Ask your physician or health care professional for a referral<br />

• Check with your local or state psychological association<br />

• Check your local university or college department of psychology


• Ask friends and family for recommendations<br />

• Check your area community health center<br />

• Ask your church or synagogue<br />

• Use the APA’s Psychologist Locator service<br />

Many providers offer a complimentary intake meeting to ensure<br />

provider/client fit. In addition, the APA suggests asking the following:<br />

• Are you a licensed psychologist? How many years have you been<br />

practicing psychology?<br />

• I have been feeling (anxious, tense, depressed, etc.) and I'm having<br />

problems (with my job, my marriage, eating, sleeping, etc.). What<br />

experience do you have helping people with these types of<br />

problems?<br />

• What are your areas of expertise—for example, working with children<br />

and families?<br />

• What kinds of treatments do you use and have they been proven<br />

effective for dealing with my kind of problem or issue?<br />

• What are your fees? (Fees are usually based on a 45-minute to 50-<br />

minute session.) Do you have a sliding-scale fee policy?<br />

• What types of insurance do you accept? Will you accept direct billing<br />

to or payment from my insurance company? Are you affiliated with<br />

any managed care organizations? Do you accept Medicare or<br />

Medicaid insurance?<br />

Providing resources and tools to support those struggling with stress,<br />

burnout, or other mental health challenges may help reduce attrition and<br />

costly turnover. Recognizing these challenges and offering support shows<br />

that we value the contributions of caseworkers and team members who are<br />

committed to the care and support of children and parents across the<br />

country.<br />

References<br />

American Psychological Association. (2019, <strong>October</strong> 17). How to choose a<br />

psychologist. American Psychological Association.<br />

https://www.apa.org/topics/psychotherapy/choose-therapist<br />

Bareket-Bojmel, L., Shahar, G., Abu-Kaf, S. and Margalit, M. (<strong>2021</strong>). Perceived social<br />

support, loneliness, and hope during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Testing a<br />

mediating model in the UK, USA, and Israel. British Journal of Clinical<br />

Psychology, 60, 133-148.<br />

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8013849/


Bharadwaj, P., Pai, M. M., & Suziedelyte, A. (2017). Mental health stigma. Economics<br />

Letters, 159, 57-60.<br />

https://edisciplinas.usp.br/pluginfile.php/5990611/mod_resource/content/1/el_me<br />

ntal_health_2017.pdf<br />

Büssing, A., Recchia, D. R., Hein, R., & Dienberg, T. (2020). Perceived changes of<br />

specific attitudes, perceptions and behaviors during the Corona pandemic and<br />

their relation to wellbeing. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 18, 1-17.<br />

https://hglo.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12955-020-01623-6<br />

Coe, E., Enomoto, K., & Finn, P. (2020). Understanding the hidden costs of COVID-19’s<br />

potential impact on US healthcare. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved September<br />

16, <strong>2021</strong>, from https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-andservices/our-insights/understanding-the-hidden-costs-of-covid-19s-potentialimpact-on-us-healthcare<br />

Fredrickson, B. L. (1998). What Good Are Positive Emotions? Review of General<br />

Psychology (3), 300-319. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.2.3.300.<br />

Leary, M. R., & Baumeister, R. F. (2000). The nature and function of self-esteem:<br />

Sociometer theory. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social<br />

psychology (Vol. 32, pp. 1–62). Academic Press.<br />

Lyra Health. (<strong>2021</strong>). The state of mental health at work <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

https://www.lyrahealth.com/resources/<br />

Lyra Health. (<strong>2021</strong>). A manager’s guide to preventing employee burnout in <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

https://www.lyrahealth.com/resources/<br />

Ratliff, N. (1988). Stress and burnout in the helping professions. Social Casework,<br />

69(3), 147–154.<br />

Rosso, B. D., Dekas, K. H., & Wrzesniewski, A. (2010). On the meaning of work: A<br />

theoretical integration and review. Research in Organizational Behavior, 30, 91-<br />

127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.riob.2010.09.001<br />

Society of Human Resource Management. (<strong>2021</strong>). Workplace mental health and<br />

wellness initiative launched. https://www.shrm.org/about-shrm/news-aboutshrm/pages/workplace-mental-health-and-wellness-initiative-launched.aspx<br />

Szkody, E., & McKinney, C. (2019). Stress-buffering effects of social support on<br />

depressive problems: Perceived vs. received social support and moderation by<br />

parental depressive problems. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28, 2209-<br />

2219. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10826-019-01437-1<br />

World Health Organization. (2019). Burn-out an "occupational phenomenon":<br />

International Classification of Diseases. https://www.who.int/news/item/28-05-<br />

2019-burn-out-an-occupational-phenomenon-international-classification-ofdiseases


Ye, Y., Huang, X., & Liu, Y. (<strong>2021</strong>). Social Support and Academic Burnout Among<br />

University Students: A Moderated Mediation Model. Psychology Research and<br />

Behavior Management, 14, 335-344.<br />

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7987309/<br />

_________________________________________<br />

Dr. Wendy Anson is the owner of Engaged CTC LLC. Engaged CTC offers researchbased<br />

techniques and documented best practices from the field of positive psychology<br />

that have been demonstrated to help clients achieve their unique goals. Engaged CTC<br />

provides consulting, training, and coaching in the areas of strategic alignment,<br />

development, and talent optimization. Dr. Anson has a PhD in Industrial &<br />

Organizational Psychology from Capella University and a Master’s in Education Human<br />

Resource Development from George Washington University. She holds a Senior<br />

Certified Professional (SPC) certification from the Society for Human Resource<br />

Management and a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPRH) certification from<br />

the Human Resource Certification Institute. Dr. Anson is a member of the International<br />

Coaching Federation, the Society of Human Resource Management, and the World at<br />

Work.<br />

Print article here<br />

“Don’t Stand Up if You Aren’t Wearing Pants”<br />

Now that we have your attention, the <strong>CSQ</strong> is gathering tips and personal<br />

experiences for video conferencing. Since most everyone has moved to<br />

Zoom, GotoMeeting, MicrosoftTeams, GoogleMeet or other video<br />

conferencing formats, the <strong>CSQ</strong> Team thought it would be a good time to<br />

include some recommendations and best practices from child support<br />

workers to ensure teleconferences are professional, effective, and<br />

engaging. Just for fun, we’d also like to hear about humorous or bizarre<br />

experiences, as well as experiences that taught you a valuable<br />

lesson. Please respond by completing this survey.<br />

Contributors will remain anonymous!


Evolving Child Support Awareness<br />

into the Future…<br />

by Gilbert M. Burgos<br />

Arizona Division of Child Support Services<br />

Like any good sci-fi fanatic, I like to think of the future as ever evolving. I<br />

still picture a world filled with flying cars, robotic assistants, and artificial<br />

intelligence constantly a step ahead of our everyday needs. However, how<br />

many times do we stop and think if that evolving reality can affect our social<br />

service programs? In 1975, the first federal child support enforcement<br />

program was enacted and established as part of the Title IV-D of the Social<br />

Security Act. This was done in an effort for federal and state programs to<br />

help build a foundation for those parents who needed to be held<br />

accountable and responsible for supporting their children. Because of the<br />

original intention to enforce and drive accountability, the words “child<br />

support” can create discomfort and feelings of fear, anger, and even<br />

embarrassment for some parents. Most child support services aim to<br />

establish a good foundation that many parents cannot provide or who might<br />

not understand the importance of having a proper foundation. On August 5,<br />

1995, President Clinton declared August to be national Child Support<br />

Awareness month to highlight the importance of establishing a necessary<br />

foundation for providing support and ensuring parents take responsibility for<br />

their children.<br />

At this point, you might be asking yourself, “Why the history lesson?” Well,<br />

that’s an excellent question, particularly for the child support community.<br />

Not sure if many of you have realized how many states have walked away<br />

from carrying the name “Enforcement” in their programs’ titles and have<br />

adopted the word “Services” instead? Our child support programs have<br />

continued to evolve over the years, from being a zero-tolerance<br />

enforcement program where accountability drove many actions, to what<br />

has recently become a less punitive service that provides education and<br />

guidance to parents. As generations have evolved, so have the child<br />

support programs to provide more education, support, and mediation. Many<br />

may say that the program has become soft and lenient and that the focus<br />

of collecting child support is no longer the goal, but the fact is that child


support enforcement remains high on the priority list. However, like any<br />

good parenting skill, the more you push your children, the further they may<br />

walk astray. That same logic has become the new understanding for many<br />

child support programs. I have countless memories of courtroom judges<br />

stating that an incarcerated parent does not benefit the children and, if<br />

anything, it interferes with the parent-to-child relationship.<br />

What does this mean for the future of child support programs? How do you<br />

target awareness for future generations? Of course, these are heavily<br />

loaded questions, but it is something that we must consider in the times to<br />

come. Across the states, caseloads have been changing and dropping; the<br />

question remains, why? Is there some type of generational gap? As a<br />

thirty-plus-year-old myself, if you were to ask me if I ever needed child<br />

support services, would I seek the assistance? My immediate answer<br />

would be no. As a member of the child support community, and even after<br />

working in state government for<br />

So, how do you target a generation that<br />

believes it is self-reliant and relies highly<br />

on online reviews?<br />

16+ years, you would think I<br />

would immediately say, YES!<br />

However, that’s not the case,<br />

and that’s not because of my<br />

understanding of how child support programs work, but because I come<br />

from a generation that believes all knowledge comes from the good grace<br />

of the almighty “Google” search engine! Frankly put, I don’t feel I would<br />

need the assistance, and I could manage it independently. The ability to<br />

find things online has made our lives a lot easier. For newer generations, it<br />

has even helped us determine what life decisions to make next.<br />

So, how do you target a generation that believes it is self-reliant and relies<br />

highly on online reviews? I think those two key ingredients are simplicity<br />

and sincerity—simplicity in understanding the benefits of having a<br />

functional, mediated relationship between parents, and the sincerity that<br />

child support programs are genuinely focused on building a healthy<br />

relationship between parents, providing the understanding that child<br />

support is a financial foundation and a gateway to creating the necessary<br />

connection between parent and child. With the shift in mindsets of child<br />

support programs to adapt to a new generation, the constant change needs<br />

to continue to focus on providing more self-driven services, low complexity,<br />

and a less bureaucratic approach. If we pay attention to what new<br />

generations seek, the need for instant gratification is primary. Our services<br />

need to be concise and self-selecting, yet educational and as simple as a<br />

Google search. Programs such as Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives


to Contempt (PJAC) and other forward-thinking initiatives are paving the<br />

way to close that missing link within those newer generational gaps. The<br />

more we continue to pivot our approach to provide services such as a<br />

private entity would, the more responses and family success gaps will be<br />

closed.<br />

As we modernize and update our systems and processes, keep in mind<br />

who our future target audience will be and remain mindful of how we speak<br />

to those new families that are walking through our doors. Are we having<br />

heartfelt, caring, and sincere conversations? Or are we simply processing<br />

another application? The future is exciting for all child support programs,<br />

and this is only the start. To my fellow comrades in the child support<br />

community, continue to be proud of the daily services and hard work you<br />

deliver. Your countless dedicated hours and well-intended efforts to help<br />

others do not go unnoticed!<br />

_________________________________________<br />

Gilbert Burgos is Acting Business Development Manager with the Arizona Division of<br />

Child Support Services, and has been with the Department of Economic Security (DES)<br />

since 2006. He has served in different capacities within the agency, including Field<br />

Liaison to the Director of DES, but mostly tenured with the Child Support Services<br />

Division. Most recently, he is serving on a Special Assignment as the new Business<br />

Development Manager for DCSS. Before that, Gilbert has served in numerous roles,<br />

such as the acting administrator for the Specialized Operations Administration and Debt<br />

Program Manager within the child support division. Gilbert has a Bachelor of Science in<br />

Communications from the Arizona State University and is a Knight of Magistral Grace<br />

with the Western Association of the Order of Malta - Knights of Malta.<br />

Print article here<br />

Have you listened to an NCSEA Podcast today?<br />

NCSEA’s <strong>2021</strong> Innovative Partnership / Collaboration Award (20:03)<br />

NCSEA’s <strong>2021</strong> Program Awareness Award (16:29)<br />

A New Take on the Child Support Pass-Through Payment (45:37)<br />

Continuing the Leadership: An interview with NCSEA Presidents—Lisa<br />

Skenandore and Lori Bengston (27:40)<br />

An Engaging Conversation with ERICSA’s Presidents (36:30)<br />

Getting In on Incentives: Perspectives on Performance Measures (35:56)<br />

See the full list of NCSEA Podcasts here


NCSEA’S <strong>2021</strong> Leadership Symposium<br />

“Lead Forward”<br />

by Ashley Dexter and Charles Smith<br />

Co-chairs, Leadership Symposium<br />

After a year and a half of uncertainty, NCSEA’s annual Leadership<br />

Symposium was the in-person summer destination for child support<br />

professionals August 1-4, <strong>2021</strong>! Over 500 practitioners met at the<br />

Downtown Marriott Hotel in Austin, Texas for plenaries and sessions<br />

focused on leadership and professional development. Every plenary and<br />

session provided stimulating and provocative content, along with invaluable<br />

networking opportunities. Conference sessions focused on various<br />

challenges child support leaders and those served by the child support<br />

program face, lessons learned, and best practices to lead forward postpandemic.<br />

Because of the pandemic, NCSEA took every precaution to ensure<br />

attendees had a safe and memorable conference experience. Each<br />

attendee received in their welcome bag facemasks and color-coded<br />

buttons to wear on their lapel or lanyard indicating their comfort level with<br />

social distancing or contact. To facilitate social distancing, attendees<br />

enjoyed longer breaks and the benefit of a larger exhibit hall with kiosks.<br />

Sponsors also had the option to host corporate partner showcases during<br />

the breaks.<br />

The Leadership Symposium opened Sunday evening by welcoming<br />

attendees to a reception in the exhibit hall. Attendees were able to network<br />

with friends and colleagues while discovering symposium offerings and<br />

gathering up swag from the generous vendor community.


On Monday morning, David Daniels delivered a heartwarming plenary on<br />

what it means to lead with compassion and to have a heart that cares. The<br />

conference continued with sessions from this year’s tracks including<br />

Connecting with Health and Human Service Partners, Providing Data<br />

Insights for Leaders at all Levels, Leading with the Brain in Mind, and A<br />

Conversation in Leadership Development.<br />

Historically, the Leadership Symposium has one plenary per day. This year<br />

we shifted to provide two plenaries each day. Monday’s second plenary<br />

featured Diane Potts interviewing Dr. Wendy Anson about the emotional<br />

and mental health challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic. The<br />

afternoon continued with workshops and learning labs that covered the<br />

topics of Empathizing with Purpose, Leading in Ambiguity, and Leading in<br />

the Big City (Urban Jurisdiction Challenges).<br />

Monday evening conference goers were<br />

invited to the President’s reception for further<br />

networking and interaction with exhibitors.<br />

Tuesday opened with a thought-provoking<br />

plenary titled Perspectives Matter, where we<br />

heard fathers and fatherhood advocates share their experiences interacting<br />

with the child support program, and expressing their desire for more<br />

inclusion. While many child support organizations are attempting to be<br />

more open to father issues, the session helped underscore how small<br />

gestures, like father pictures in lobbies, can go a long way toward creating<br />

a father-friendly environment. The sessions following Perspectives Matter<br />

covered the topics of Designing the Future State of Child Support, Case<br />

Closure, Family-Centered Equitable Child Support Policies, and How to<br />

Identify and Minimize Microaggression.


The second plenary on<br />

Tuesday afternoon<br />

included IV-D Directors<br />

discussing “Pandemic<br />

Decisions Impacting<br />

Future Service Delivery.”<br />

The afternoon<br />

workshops included a<br />

second discussion on<br />

designing the future<br />

state of child support, as<br />

well as dynamic discussions entitled After the Pandemic: Court Lessons<br />

Learned, Procedural Justice Alternatives, and Innovations Worth Keeping.<br />

Tuesday was another day of dynamic discussions.<br />

The Leadership Symposium ended Wednesday with two thought provoking<br />

and information filled plenaries. In the first plenary, we heard from four child<br />

support leaders who provided their perspectives on key elements of the<br />

Strengthening Families for Success Act of 2020, and how it would impact<br />

their state programs. The second plenary focused on the Future of Work,<br />

discussing pre-, during, and post-pandemic work data and trends, and<br />

examining what the future holds for the child support workforce.<br />

From the post-conference surveys, the respondents unanimously<br />

expressed satisfaction with the session content and speakers selected this<br />

year. Don’t forget that attendees are still able to access the conference<br />

materials and watch the plenary recordings through the conference app!<br />

Ashley and Charles extend many thanks to all<br />

of you who submitted session proposals and<br />

suggested speakers. We also cannot thank<br />

enough the tremendously talented and<br />

accomplished child support professionals on<br />

the Leadership Symposium Planning<br />

Committee for all their hard work, from reading<br />

every proposal submission, to transforming<br />

them into an engaging professional<br />

development and leadership conference, all<br />

while working remotely. We also send a special thank you to NCSEA’s


Director of Professional Development, Gillyn Croog, for her dedication to<br />

attendees’ health and safety, her keen attention to detail, her leadership,<br />

and overall conference organization that resulted in an in-person<br />

Leadership Symposium all could enjoy from their own comfort level. Finally,<br />

a special thank you to Ruth Anne Thornton and the Texas Child Support<br />

Program, and neighboring state and county programs, for your support and<br />

help in making this year’s conference so successful.<br />

We look forward to seeing all of you next year in Charlotte, North Carolina<br />

August 7-10, 2022!<br />

Ashley Dexter is a Specialist Senior with Deloitte Consulting LLP. Prior to joining<br />

Deloitte, Ashley began her career over 19 years ago in the Kansas child support<br />

program and served most recently as the Kansas Deputy IVD Director. Ashley served<br />

as a member of NCSEA’s Board of Directors from 2018 to <strong>2021</strong> and served as the cochair<br />

of the 2019 Leadership Symposium, 2020 Inspire Event, and <strong>2021</strong> Leadership<br />

Symposium. She has spoken at several Leadership Symposiums and at other national<br />

events, including annual conferences for WICSEC and ERICSA. As an NCSEA U<br />

alumna, Ashley is excited to co-chair the <strong>2021</strong>-2022 NCSEA U committee.<br />

Charles Smith is President/CEO of Charles R. Smith Consulting, LLC. He started his<br />

consulting practice after retiring from Texas state government in 2018. Charles has<br />

more than 27 years of child support experience and previously served as the Texas IV-<br />

D Director. Charles is a frequent speaker at state, regional and national conferences<br />

and is a past instructor of NCSEA U. He is a member of NCSEA’s Board of Directors<br />

and served as the co-chair of the <strong>2021</strong> Leadership Symposium. Charles is a WICSEC<br />

past-President and Honorary Life Member.


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 />

Sarah Hurst - Class 2015<br />

Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support<br />

Deputy Director of Administration<br />

What was the most valuable aspect of the NCSEA U experience?<br />

I had the pleasure of attending NCSEA U in both 2015 and 2018. I feel the most valuable aspect of the<br />

experience was getting to hear about best practices utilized in other states, as well as challenges that other<br />

child support leaders had been through and how they addressed them.<br />

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

Since first attending NCSEA U in 2015, I have had the pleasure of serving in a variety of positions with the<br />

Department of Human Services Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) in the GREAT State of Georgia,<br />

including Region Manager, Business Resolution Team Lead and Deputy Director of Administration. In <strong>2021</strong>,<br />

I also started serving as a mentor with the University of Georgia Mentor Program (Go Dawgs!).<br />

What is a key leadership attribute that you appreciate in others? Why? Responsiveness. Oftentimes,<br />

as child support professionals, we are asked to respond quickly to various challenging situations with limited<br />

information. Working with incredibly responsive team members, like the leaders in our organization, allows<br />

us to get to the root of the problem and brainstorm solutions to resolve the issue.


Petrina Travers - Class 2019<br />

Ramsey County Attorney's Office, Human Services Division<br />

Child Support Supervisor<br />

What was the most valuable aspect of the NCSEA U experience?<br />

Making contacts with child support professionals across the state.<br />

What would you like others to know about NCSEA U? It is a fantastic opportunity to gain insight from<br />

leaders in the child support program, both in a professional and casual setting.<br />

Why would you recommend NCSEA U to others? This is a great opportunity to stretch your leadership<br />

qualities and learn from professionals across the nation.<br />

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

I have had the opportunity to present at a number of national and state child support conferences since<br />

attending NCSEA U.<br />

What is a key leadership attribute that you appreciate in others? Why?<br />

I appreciate honesty and straightforwardness in those that lead.<br />

Linda Rhyne-Mckinley - Class of 2017<br />

Mecklenburg County Child Support Services<br />

Quality and Training Manager/Supervisor<br />

NCSEA U @ Leadership Symposium focuses on the emerging and learning leader. How do you<br />

define leadership? Leadership is influence, empowerment and inspiring others to be more and do more<br />

than they thought was possible. Leadership is helping others look inward and find their passion that will<br />

guide them to their purpose in life.<br />

Do you believe that attending NCSEA U helped shaped this definition? How or how not? Yes. It<br />

helped to streamline and define leadership (and that a title doesn't define leadership). You can<br />

lead/influence from where you are now.<br />

Do you have a favorite quote that you refer to periodically? I love quotes and have several. However,<br />

just sharing a couple:<br />

"Your eyes are useless, when your mind is blind". "Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is<br />

about taking care of those in our charge." Simon Sinek<br />

"The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision." Helen Keller

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