October 2021 CSQ

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Table of Contents

October 2021

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

Community Corner: Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder….........................5

NCSEA Responds to Strengthing Families for Success Legislation………........8

Collaboration is Key……………………………………..………….……………….14

Tribal Child Support Legislation Moves Through the Senate …………………..17

Workplace Tools for Responding to a Mental Health Crisis…………………….21

Evolving Child Support Awareness into the Future………………………………28

2021 Leadership Symposium Wrap-Up…………………….….………………….31

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

Lori Bengston

NCSEA President

Greetings! It is an honor and a privilege to serve as this

year’s NCSEA president! To say I have big shoes to fill is

an understatement, following my friend Lisa Skenandore.

Lisa not only handled the business of NCSEA with passion

and energy, but also had the extra challenge of navigating

us through a pandemic. I hoped navigating the pandemic would not carry

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

With the passing of the gavel, Lisa assured me she will continue to support

NCSEA and me as we move into a new program year.

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

committee calls, and learned so much from those encounters. One of the

key takeaways was that we all come from various backgrounds and

experiences, and how we move forward impacts each of our programs in a

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

everyone agrees, in the end all views are considered, and we come away

with a direction that benefits the child support program as a whole. I believe

in our vision that NCSEA is the voice of the child support community, and I

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

listen to the voices of others to promote the best outcomes for the families

we serve. My goal this year is to embrace those differences to make us a

stronger organization and ultimately, a stronger program.

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

the NCSEA president is selecting committee chairs. The response to the

call for volunteers was outstanding. Every time I reached out for committee

assignments, I received a warm and enthusiastic “YES”! The volunteer

spirit is alive and well in this organization and it is truly amazing to see all of

the work done at the committee level each year. This year will be no

exception. The Policy and Government Relations Committee (PGR) will

continue monitoring new and pending legislation and advocating for

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

they stay abreast of what is happening legislatively. The finalization of

NCSEA’s strategic plan will set the stage for the work of all committees

going forward. The final steps include charging the appropriate committees

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

as we kick off committee meetings, I am confident we have the right people

in place to get the job done!

I am especially excited to announce that we plan to move forward with two

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

and the Leadership Symposium August 7-10 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Work is already underway for the Policy Forum under the leadership of cochairs

Margot Bean and Connie Chesnik. The theme for this year’s Policy

Forum is “Focusing on our Vision – Recognizing our Various Perspectives”

and will offer an abundance of interesting, timely and thought-provoking

topics. Watch for registration information in late October. Please be

assured that NCSEA will continue to monitor all safety protocols to ensure

the well-being of those who attend and will communicate every step of the


I hope you will take advantage of as many learning opportunities as you

can this year. In addition to our conferences, NCSEA provides Web-Talks,

Idea Exchanges, and NCSEA Connects, as well as the quarterly Child

Support CommuniQué (CSQ) journal and weekly Rapid Read. If you would

like to receive more information, please reach out to me or to NCSEA staff,

Ann Marie Ruskin or Gillyn Croog.

I look forward to the year ahead as we work together to promote and

influence child support policy, as well as to educate, connect, and inspire

those who work in the child support program.

Print article here


In addition to serving as NCSEA President, Lori Bengston is a Project Manager for

Young Williams and has been active in the child support enforcement program for over

16 years. She has direct supervision of the Nebraska Child Support Call Center,

including the Early Intervention Project. Lori has been a speaker at many child support

conferences on the topics of customer service, call centers, and early intervention. Lori

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

2013. She is a Past President of the Western Intergovernmental Child Support

Engagement Council (WICSEC) and the Nebraska Child Support Enforcement

Association Board of Directors.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

by James C. Fleming, North Dakota DHS/CSE

528 days. That is how long it had been from the end of the

last in-person national child support conference (NCSEA

Policy Forum 2020) to the opening of the 2021 annual

meeting and conference of the National Council of Child

Support Directors (NCCSD) on July 20. For a group used to

getting together five or six times a year, 528 days is a LONG

time to wait to see such good friends and colleagues.

Many attendees mentioned that the NCCSD conference felt like a family

reunion, except with folks you LIKE to spend time with. That would

probably be true regardless of the conference location, but it didn’t hurt the

mood of the conference that it was held in such a relaxed and scenic

location as Medora, North Dakota in the summertime. And with an equally

relaxed dress code.

The relief of returning to in-person conferences was not just about a break

in the monotony of telework and virtual meetings. It was also confirmation

of the good will and common interest that is shared by child support leaders

in both the government and private sectors. Turnout was smaller among

federal and state participants due to travel restrictions, but there was

unprecedented attendance from the private sector in terms of the total

number attending and the number of companies represented. How exciting

to see new interest in child support service delivery!

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

new challenge faced by NCCSD was coming up with a way to support

virtual presenters and attendees. NCCSD was very lucky to find a local

audio-video company who made the transition from on-site to virtual

presenters look nearly seamless. Video conferencing sure seems to have

come a long way since the beginning of the pandemic. The option of

presenting virtually also helped a lot in recruiting speakers for a given topic.

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

training conferences are needed the most. The pandemic continues to

prompt the child support community to re-evaluate nearly everything we do,

even things like distribution that may have been dormant since enactment

of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. The discussion at NCCSD and other

similar conferences is extremely valuable when considering how we

change the program moving forward.

One of the frequent discussion

topics for the “Rushmore” group

of association presidents is the

future of virtual attendance at

national conferences. On one

hand, a virtual option greatly

expands the number of child

support professionals who can

participate, which is one of the

main reasons we exist as organizations. Attending virtually is a lot cheaper

in the long run than traveling to attend in person. On the other hand, as

with the increased use of telework in our company or agency, collaborating

remotely lacks an aspect of human connection. Virtual meetings are fine to

a point, but are not a complete substitute for sitting face to face with a new

friend and colleague from another company or agency and brainstorming

how we can do things better. What kind of in-person attendance can we

expect in the future if virtual attendance becomes a permanent option?

Unfortunately, the prevalence of the Delta variant of COVID-19 may once

again cause conferences to change to virtual only, and the 2021 meeting in

Medora may be a brief window in time to see each other in person for a few

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

each other again, but at least we had Medora.

James C. Fleming is the director of the Child Support Division of the North Dakota

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

Child Support Directors (NCCSD), President-Elect of the National Child Support

Enforcement Association (NCSEA), and member of the Board of Directors for the

Western Intergovernmental Child Support Engagement Council (WICSEC). Jim is a

member and former co-chair of NCSEA’s Policy and Government Relations Committee

and NCCSD’s Policy and Practice Committee, and a member of the editorial committee

for the NCSEA Child Support CommuniQue. Jim also chairs NCCSD’s Employer

Collaboration Workgroup.

A second-generation attorney, Jim earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the

University of North Dakota and his Juris Doctorate from Notre Dame Law School. He

has been an assistant attorney general for North Dakota for 27 years, following a

clerkship with the North Dakota Supreme Court.

Print article here

Save the Date – Registration opens soon!

NCSEA’s Congressional Letter to

Improve the Strengthening Families for

Success Act

by Diane Potts, Public Knowledge

NCSEA PGR Committee Co-chair

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

the Strengthening Families for Success Act (SFSA 2020) proposed

sweeping changes to the child support program. The most significant

change would phase out Title IV-A cost recovery and require states to

pass-through all collected current support and arrearage payments to

families who currently and formerly received TANF. In addition, SFSA 2020

would have required states to disregard current support collected in

determining a family’s TANF eligibility and benefit levels. Other sections of

SFSA 2020 proposed further impactful changes to the child support and

foster care programs.

Work by the Policy & Government Relations Committee

Immediately after SFSA 2020 was introduced, NCSEA’s Policy and

Government Relations Committee (PGR) began its work to examine and

understand all the key provisions and their impact. PGR divided the work,

with one group focusing on the changes to TANF cost recovery and

another studying the Title IV-E foster care provisions. The last group looked

at SFSA 2020’s ban on the recovery of Medicaid costs for births.

Each group developed a paper with key information that informed PGR’s

extensive discussions on recommendations. After months of work, PGR

presented its preliminary recommendations to the NCSEA Board and the

Directors provided their feedback. On August 1, 2021, the Board approved

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

for many of the provisions, NCSEA urged the sponsors of SFSA 2020

(Senators Wyden and Van Hollen and Representative Davis) to make key

changes before reintroducing the legislation later this year.

Title IV-A Cost Recovery

SFSA 2020 proposed that, effective October 1, 2023, states would be

required to pay all of the current support and arrearage payments collected

by the state on behalf of a TANF family to the TANF family. In addition,

states would be required to disregard the current support amount for

purposes of determining Title IV-A eligibility and the amount and type of

assistance. For former TANF families, states would be required effective

October 1, 2025, to pay all of the current support and arrearage payments

collected by the state to the former TANF family and to treat the amounts

collected pursuant to an assignment as if the amounts had never been

assigned. Recognizing that states will need to undergo significant system

changes to effectuate these requirements, SFSA 2020 provided for 90%

federal financial participation (FFP) for expenditures related to the planning,

design, development, installation, or enhancement of a system for federal

fiscal years 2022 and 2023.

In addressing these monumental proposed changes to the child support

program, NCSEA first acknowledged the benefit of expanded state passthrough

and disregard

policies to families and

programs. Passed-through

support helps families

become economically selfsufficient

more quickly and

“However, states should have the option,

as opposed to a mandate, to eliminate

TANF cost recovery from their programs”

permanently. State child support programs benefit from pass-through and

distribution policies that are more closely aligned with the mission of

promoting familial self-sufficiency, and eliminating cost recovery would

vastly simplify program administration.

However, states should have the option, as opposed to a mandate, to

eliminate TANF cost recovery from their programs. NCSEA explained that

a federal mandate would have widely varying impacts across states given

the diversity of their child support program funding structures as well as

TANF and child support policies. Because many states use retained

collections as a source of state funding for their child support program and

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

program and the millions of families it serves.

NCSEA also pointed out that there is wide variation in the extent to which

states have acted on existing pass-through and disregard options currently

in federal law. As of May 2020, half of states, as well as the District of

Columbia and Puerto Rico, pass through some or all child support without

reducing the family’s cash assistance grant.

And under the TANF block grant, states have

wide latitude to set TANF income criteria and

benefits levels. A state option allows states

discretion to develop a pass-through and

disregard policy that is congruent with its TANF


NCSEA urged additional funding to support those states choosing to pass

through all collected current support and arrearage payments. Although

SFSA did contain some fiscal relief to states, namely 1) forgoing the federal

share of retained collections and 2) temporarily increasing to 90 percent

FFP on states’ costs to adapt their systems for the changes in distribution,

more financial incentives will allow most states to move forward out of cost

recovery. The incentives could include:

• Backfilling the loss of state IV-A recoveries to help states manage

the negative revenue impact on state child support programs and

state services

• Increasing federal child support performance incentive funding

• Allowing states to pilot expanded pass-through and disregard

policies and to defray the loss of state-retained collections with

Section 1115 waivers

• Expanding allowable IV-D program expenditures to include

employment services for parents who owe support

Finally, NCSEA asked that states have the option to maintain distribution

provided by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity

Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA distribution). In SFSA 2020, states

were required to distribute support in accordance with the Deficit Reduction

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

territories that currently use PRWORA distribution would have had to

implement a new distribution method. While DRA distribution is more

advantageous to families because federal income tax refund intercepts go

to the family instead of state assigned arrears, NCSEA urged that the

method of distribution under PRWORA remain a state option due to the

enormous impact the change would have on almost every state.

Foster Care Referrals

SFSA 2020 also contained proposed changes to cost recovery for foster

care. Instead of using current support collected to reimburse the cost of

foster care, the support would either be paid to the foster parent or kinship

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

future needs in the event of reunification with the family, including

reunification services. Collections on arrears would be deposited into a

savings account for the child’s future needs.

NCSEA expressed support for the inclusion of foster care provisions and

asked that they be expanded to align with NCSEA’s recent resolution on

foster care referrals. That resolution recognized that some studies have

found that child support orders may actually prolong the period of time a

child spends in a foster care placement and add to, rather than recoup,

program costs. NCSEA also explained that many foster care referrals are

not cost effective, particularly against a struggling intact family or a former

custodial parent (“removal parent”) with whom reunification is planned.

Eliminating referrals from removal parents seeking reunification helps to

keep financial resources in the home and is consistent with the draft

legislation’s aim to reduce the recovery mission of the child support


NCSEA urged the bill sponsors to provide in the

reintroduced legislation that foster care referrals

from the Title IV-E program to the Title IV-D child

support program be guided by the best interests

of the child. Under that standard, there will be

fewer referrals or closure of cases against

removal parents or in cases where both parents

reside together.

Although the authority to make referrals selectively already exists at the

state level, it would benefit programs and families to include this authority in

the new legislation. If reunification stops becoming a realistic goal for the

family, the child welfare agency can consider referring the case to the child

support program.

NCSEA also weighed in on SFSA 2020’s proposal for a foster care study

and report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and suggested

that the study would be more productive if conducted by a joint federalstate

workgroup of representatives from the IV-E and IV-D programs. This

joint federal-state workgroup of subject matter experts could develop badly

needed recommendations on referral criteria (in more depth than

addressed here), the desirability and feasibility of child savings accounts,

data sharing, and other issues concerning the most effective means of

coordinating between the IV-D and IV-E programs. Such an approach

would still yield an informative and much-needed policy- and procedurallyoriented

report, but would also leverage the existing expertise of program

professionals at the federal and state levels. After recommendations are

implemented, it may be desirable at that point to have a GAO study to

assess the implementation status and effectiveness of the recommended


Finally, NCSEA also suggests that consideration of child saving accounts

be assigned to the workgroup for further analysis. As with TANF cost

recovery, NCSEA strongly supports states examining retained collections in

foster care cases. However, while depositing collected child support into a

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

also creates several challenges. These include ownership of the account,

accrual of interest, income tax responsibilities for the account holder or

child, and potential implications of turning over potentially large sums of

money to a child at the age of 18. If the workgroup looks at and addresses

those issues and recommends child savings accounts for collected support,

the creation and management of these savings accounts for children

receiving services should be placed with the IV-E program and not the IV-D


Medicaid Birth Costs

Current law allows states to recover birth

expenses paid by Medicaid through child

support obligations, which reduces the support

provided to children and families. SFSA 2020

would ban Medicaid-cost recovery for births

beginning in federal fiscal year 2026 and would

provide an option for states to implement


Although NCSEA typically does not support mandates on state child

support programs, it supported SFSA 2020’s ban on the recovery of

Medicaid costs for births. Forty-eight states have shifted away from and no

longer recover Medicaid birth costs through the IV-D program, while the

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

since 2011. In these two states, eliminating the practice will have negative

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

child support program. However, the amount recovered by the child support

program is a small fraction of the millions paid out by Medicaid in birth

costs each year.

NCSEA recognizes that recovery of Medicaid costs associated with the

birth of a child disproportionally affects low-income families and takes

money away from the children in those families. Instead of recouping

government costs, the primary purpose of the child support program should

be to work towards reliable, consistent financial support for children.


The bill’s sponsors have indicated that a bill similar to SFSA 2020 will be

reintroduced in 2021. NCSEA is hopeful that its advocacy efforts will result

in better legislation for the child support program and families. Many thanks

to the 2020-2021 PGR Committee for their work on the letter and PGR:

Tish Keahna Kruzan, Lara Webb Fors, Paul Gehm, Michele Ahern,

Elizabeth Morgan, Jane Venohr, Jolie Sheppick, Kate Cooper Richardson,

Amy Roehrenbeck, Connie Chesnik, Jim Fleming, Mary Johnson, Lisa

Skenandore, Margot Bean, Nicholas Palos, Kay Farley, Erin Frisch, Robbie

Endris, and Lori Bengston.


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

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

Support of Families (CSF), a Division of SLI Government Solutions. Diane is a Past-

President of NCSEA, its past Secretary, and an Honorary Lifetime Member. She served

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

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

Relations Committee and a frequent presenter for NCSEA at both its Policy Forum and

Leadership Symposium, as well as NCSEA webinars and Idea Exchanges.

Print article here

Collaboration is Key!

by Corrinne Flores, ADP, Inc.

Collaboration is key when stakeholders work together to make a program

or process a success! The National Council of Child Support Directors

(NCCSD) Employer Collaboration Workgroup is a great example of

collaboration and partnership between the employer community and the

child support program. NCCSD established the first workgroup in 2018 to

improve lump sum reporting and withholding. Workgroup members

included state child support agency directors or their designees, members

of the American Payroll Association, representatives from many of the

nation’s largest employers, and the federal Office of Child Support

Enforcement’s (OCSE) Employer Services Team. The workgroup

successfully drafted model legislation that states can adopt to address

lump sum reporting and withholding and addressed standardizing

timeframes for employer reporting and state responses. In states with

existing mandatory lump sum reporting laws, provisions in the model

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

Drafting the model legislation resulted in both employers and child support

agencies seeing the process from a different perspective, including

identifying challenges and recommending solutions.

In addition to drafting model legislation, the workgroup recommended

enhancements to OCSE’s portal for lump sum reporting. OCSE acted on

these recommendations, and now employers receive a match notification

when they report employees who are eligible to receive a lump sum

payment. In the fall of 2021, Communication Center will be available on the

OCSE portal to facilitate secure message and document exchange

between employers and child support agencies and OCSE staff.

Based on the success of the Employer Lump Sum Collaboration

Workgroup, attendees of the 2019 Employer Symposium recommended

establishing another workgroup to address ways to improve overall

processes between child support agencies and employers. In December

2019, NCCSD established the Employer Collaboration Workgroup to

identify tasks and develop a strategy to accomplish those tasks, to improve

shared employer and child support agency processes to establish and

enforce child support orders. Since 2020, workgroup activities include:

• discussing potential changes to the Income Withholding for Support

Order form to be considered during the next Office of Management and

Budget (OMB) renewal in 2023, such as reducing the number of identifiers

on the form

• reviewing mock-ups for the upcoming Communication Center on

OCSE’s portal

• gathering information about automating the electronic National

Medical Support Notice (e-NMSN) and providing periodic updates

• developing a standard response to verification of employment (VOE)


• conceptualizing a national employer database

The workgroup spent a significant amount of

time on improving the VOE process by working

together to develop a standard response to

child support agency requests. While

recognizing that states have some different

VOE response requirements, the workgroup’s

first step was to identify the information that

states need to establish and modify orders.

Nearly all child support agencies have agreed to accept the standard VOE

response developed by the workgroup. This means when employers

receive a VOE request, they can return the standard VOE response.

Employers’ ability to provide a standard VOE allows for automation in

responding to the requests, resulting in states receiving timely responses at

higher volumes.

These are all examples of employers working with the child support

community to understand different perspectives, capabilities, and

limitations, and using that information to create efficiencies and processes

that benefit all stakeholders and ultimately ensure children and families

receive child support.

Corri Flores is the Director of Government Affairs for ADP, LLC. Corri manages the

relationships between ADP and Wage Garnishments agencies to gather information

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

participated on the American Payroll Association’s Government Relations Task Force

(GRTF) for Child Support and Wage Garnishments workgroups for the past eight years

and is the current Chair of both the GRTF Child Support and Garnishment workgroups.

She is a member of the National Child Support Enforcement Association and currently

serves on its Board of Directors.

Print article here

A Decade in the Making: Tribal Child

Support Legislation Moves Through

the Senate

The Tribal Child Support Enforcement Act passed the Senate on

July 13th, 2021 by unanimous consent

by Lisa Skenandore, Vice President, SMI

After more than a decade of hard work and consistent advocacy by the

tribal child support community, critical legislation for the tribal child support

program has been passed unanimously by the United States Senate. This

legislation—perhaps most importantly—grants the tribal child support

program access to the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program (FTROP).

When the tribal child support program was first authorized by the passage

of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of

1996, tribes were not given access to the Offset Program. In that same

year, existing state child support programs were authorized to use FTROP

by the Debt Collection Improvement Act and Executive Order 13019,

neither of which provided FTROP access to the tribes. These missed

opportunities to include the tribes in an effective collection program created

a significant service barrier for the tribes.

The journey to change this issue began in 2010 when I was then president

of the National Association of Tribal Child Support Directors. During one of

our biannual meetings, staff from both the Office of Child Support

Enforcement (OCSE) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of

Safeguards were present and shared the work and discussions, explaining

how we came to this point. Ultimately, they encouraged us to take a strong

advocacy position and work on the needed fix. Both agencies

acknowledged that they could not in their capacity assist us with advocacy,

and in order for the tribes to access the offset program or data share with

our state counterparts, a change in legislation was necessary. This should

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

more complicated because a legislative change would affect both the

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

door to other unanticipated changes in either the Act or the Code.

Despite these challenges, we knew we had to persevere. Seeking the

legislative change would not only provide parity to the tribes in enforcement

resources, but also remedy another issue concerning the tribes’ use of

state child support case management systems. Many of the tribal

programs, including my own, use the states’ automated systems. During

the states’ triennial IRS audits, it was determined that tribal child support

programs were not permitted access to IRS data, although they were (and

still are) subject to the same rules and regulations of IRS Publication 1075.

As a result of that audit, states were issued findings related to tribal access

to their state systems.

Fortunately, most findings were

held in abeyance, as the IRS

recognized that a larger solution

was needed, and ultimately the

states were not at fault. As a

temporary fix, the Office of

Safeguards started performing

in-person audits at tribal offices,

and the tribes themselves very

Despite these challenges, we knew we

had to persevere. Seeking the legislative

change would not only provide parity to

the tribes in enforcement resources, but

also remedy another issue concerning

the tribes’ use of state child support case

management systems.

rarely had findings. More recently in order to address the problem, the

states’ tribal agreements were required to contain language specifying that

the tribes are state contractors. Again, a temporary fix to a perpetual

problem that needed to be changed.

After meeting with OCSE and IRS staff at the directors’ meeting, a small

team consisting of four tribal directors and one tribal agency attorney took

up the challenge. We organized ourselves with little to no idea of how we

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

we all got to know each other better after spending countless hours working

together on such an important project. We were fortunate that our team’s

attorney had numerous connections in Washington D.C. who helped us

forge a path forward. These connections provided much-needed advice

and guidance to our team of unknowing yet passionate child support

professionals. We truly were learning as we went. We knew we supported

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

One of our earliest connections was made in the House of Representatives

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

Human Resource Subcommittee. This subcommittee had jurisdiction over

the child support program (it still does to this day, although it has been

renamed the Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support). Thankfully,

this staffer found commonality with us, being from the same home state,

and bought into our mission so much so that she took it upon herself to

draft legislative language for us. This was just one of the many kindnesses

we were lucky to receive early on from those we contacted on the Hill.

We were advised to garner support for our issue from across the entire

child support community as we were often asked what our state

counterparts thought about tribes having direct access to FTROP. As a

result, we sought letters of support from the National Council of Child

Support Directors (NCCSD), as well as countless support letters from tribal

leaders, state IV-D directors, and other state leaders. We also focused on

gathering support from the child support associations and found that

ERICSA and NCSEA were very quick to sign on. ERICSA was kind enough

to do a white paper in support of the effort, and NCSEA engaged the

services of its advocate.

We then found ourselves meeting

with both houses of Congress,

including staff from committees with

jurisdiction over child support and

taxation. Along the way we met

many wonderful staff who guided

and assisted us wherever possible.

They often provided names of

offices we should visit, and

suggestions on how to approach the conversation with others. A personal

highlight for me was bumping into Senator John McCain after I exited the

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

where he hung out to meet people. Through all the countless visits and

knocking on doors, we grew in knowledge and were blessed to meet many

fascinating people.

Full speed ahead and countless hours later, we were fortunate to gain

support from Senator John Thune in South Dakota, who agreed to sponsor

our legislation. We reached across the aisle and asked a colleague in

Oregon, IV-D Director Kate Cooper-Richardson, to assist us in obtaining

support from then Ranking Chairman, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. Many

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

cosponsor the important legislation. During these conversations, we

included NCCSD President Jim Fleming to assist with some of the more

complicated questions that we could not answer merely because we did not

have access to, or experience with, the offset program.

This collaborative effort also provided an opportunity to make a legislative

change benefitting all child support agencies, not just the tribes. Under

current law, agents of a child support agency--including private contractors

and other government agencies--may receive only a taxpayer’s address,

social security number, and amount of offset. The Tribal Child Support

Enforcement Act removes this artificial barrier for all entities and allows all

Federal Tax Information to be shared with agents of the child support

agency, as long as the information remains protected and is used only for

purposes of establishing and enforcing child support.

The legislation was first introduced in the 116 th Congress in 2020 and then

again in the 117 th Congress, where it successfully passed the Senate on

July 13 th , 2021, by unanimous consent. Now we must circle back and carry

our message and legislation forward to the House, where we hope to

encounter the same great collaboration we received in the Senate. This will

ultimately lead to full passage of the Act and, as a result, a new age of

service in our program.

View the full bill here: Tribal Child Support Enforcement Act


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

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

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

support program in April of 2008. She is Immediate Past President of NCSEA, serving

as President 2020-2021. Along with child support she has also led other human service

programming in the areas of child welfare, domestic violence, prevention and foster

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

National Association of Tribal Child Support Directors. She holds a Bachelor of Science

degree in Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay.

Print article here

Workplace Tools for Responding to a

Mental Health Crisis

by Dr Wendy Anson, Engaged CTC LLC

Mental health of U.S. workers has steadily declined since the onset of the

COVID-19 pandemic. A 2020 article by McKinsey suggests an estimated

35 million people could develop a new behavioral health condition as a

result of the pandemic. A study by Lyra Health found 40% of workers

surveyed in early 2020 reported they are dealing with an acute mental

health condition, up 20.6% from pre-pandemic numbers. Acute mental

health conditions were described as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic

stress disorder. Less acute mental health conditions such as stress,

burnout, and relationships issues also increased. Burnout, officially

recognized by the World Health Organization in 2019 as an occupational

phenomenon, has consistently been reported at higher levels for caring

professionals, such as caseworkers. Despite the headlines and reports,

research has provided insights into how we can supportively respond to the

mental health crisis in the workplace. Please note that this information is

not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice,

diagnosis, or treatment.

Social Support

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

2021); as a protective factor in terms of mental health (Szkody & McKinney,

2019); and as a contributor to a) emotional resilience, b) a mechanism that

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

2021). Social support consists of feelings of being cared for, the ability to

attain assistance from others, and being part of a supportive network.

Creating meaningful opportunities for social support in the midst of a

pandemic is challenging but not impossible.

Social support comes in different shapes and sizes. It may include a brief

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

work in a virtual environment. Or it may mean creatively working out an

alternative work schedule with the single parent who is struggling to find

daycare. When the type of support needed is unclear, ask, “What support

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

needed so the recipient of the question is more likely to provide a


Process Loss is a term used to define time spent by group members on

tasks unrelated to team goals or accomplishments. Process Loss supports

group maintenance functions such as conflict resolution and, more

importantly for purposes of this article, social activities. Social activities

such as team building may be viewed as unnecessary or costly. However,

social activities among team members strengthen feelings of social

support. Team building in the midst of COVID-19 has presented a

challenge for many. Creative leaders have implemented time for social

interaction using technology for virtual meetings, lunches, happy hours,

book clubs, or even virtual fitness sessions. One company initiated virtual

networking events for new hires to meet existing employees on a monthly

basis throughout the pandemic. These types of events are most successful

when they are voluntary and are offered during normal working hours.

In-person social activities may still be a possibility for teams in warmer

climates or locations that permit social distancing and other COVID-19

mitigation efforts. Meet up with colleagues in the park for a team lunch or

socially distanced meeting. Go old school by sending a co-worker a

handwritten note at home.

Destigmatize Mental Health

Destigmatizing mental health in the workplace has become so critical that

the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) introduced a new

Workplace Mental Health Ally Certification program in September of this

year. Social stigma may result in individuals not seeking needed help

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

study found that 42% of workers are not comfortable talking about their

mental health with a manager and 36% were uncomfortable discussing

their mental health with a peer. One way we can cultivate a safe

environment for colleagues and peers is to be vulnerable about our own

mental health challenges. A second Lyra Health study suggests that

displaying empathy, promoting casual wellness check-ins, and reminding

employees of available resources are all key to preventing burnout.

Athletes like Michael Phelps, Naomi Osaka, and Simone Biles received an

outpouring of support when they discussed their challenges with mental

health issues. It’s important to provide support to individuals who speak up

about their challenges with burnout, depression, or other mental health


Tools for Responding

There are many tools we can utilize to help ourselves when dealing with

mental health challenges. The Anxiety & Depression Association of

America (ADAA) provides a helpful infographic with several reminders and

insights on how to deal with stress and anxiety. Cognitive restructuring is a

useful framework for challenging negative automatic thoughts (NATs).

Cognitive restructuring includes identifying, disputing, and rebutting NATs.

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

model from meQuilibrium. Trap the emotion, Map its origin, and Zap it by

testing its validity.

Developing resilience is another useful way to respond to the ongoing

challenges that spark stress, burnout, and other mental health challenges.

Resilience incorporates various mental processes that help an individual

bounce back from harmful stressors. These mental processes include life

satisfaction, optimism, positive affect, self-efficacy, self-esteem, and social


• Life Satisfaction: Gratitude is a powerful means of cultivating life

satisfaction and well-being. Link the practice of gratitude to an

existing daily routine like waiting for your morning coffee to brew or

brushing your teeth. (For more on habit stacking, check out Atomic

Habits by James Clear.)

• Optimism: Reframing our view of our goals or identity can help us

shift to a more optimistic mindset. Rather than saying “I need to read

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

an existing habit or routine. For example, place a book on your pillow

after making your bed in the morning to help you remember to read a

few minutes each night. (Of course, making your bed in the morning

is already part of your routine!)

• Positive affect: Positive affect refers to a person’s propensity to

experience positive emotions and interact with others and with life’s

challenges in a positive way. While we have a strong bias towards a

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

positive affect. Identify a positive mentor, someone that consistently

focuses upon the positive. Follow that person’s example. Begin

intently looking for and relishing experiences of joy, hope, pride,

inspiration, awe, and love (Frederickson, 2010).

• Self-efficacy: Reflect upon and list the skills you developed to achieve

former accomplishments and successes.

• Self-esteem: Leary and Baumeister (2000) found that recognizing

and living in congruence with core values is essential in appraising

your value. Another way to build self-esteem is to cultivate a growth

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

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

• Social support: In addition to cultivating social support at work, build

and nurture close friendships. Being intentional about our

relationships, investing in others, and volunteering are all ways to

cultivate social support.

Final Thoughts

For many, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided time for reflection and

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

it has exacerbated feelings of loneliness and isolation (Bussien et al.).

Individual experiences and responses to the pandemic are just that—

individual. There is no one way to respond to the unique and complex

experiences individuals have faced as a result of the pandemic.

For those struggling with a mental health challenge, suggesting they look

on the bright side is not helpful. Reappraisal, the process of reconstruing a

minor setback into an opportunity, works well at times; at others, it can be

viewed as toxic positivity. Reappraising the inconvenience of a broken

escalator as an opportunity to use the stairs and get some exercise may

help one respond to an inconvenience. The pandemic has not been a

minor inconvenience; for many it has resulted in life-altering circumstances

and challenges.

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

pandemic is the ready availability of telehealth providers. The American

Psychological Association (APA) offers these suggestions for locating a

mental health provider:

• Ask your physician or health care professional for a referral

• Check with your local or state psychological association

• Check your local university or college department of psychology

• Ask friends and family for recommendations

• Check your area community health center

• Ask your church or synagogue

• Use the APA’s Psychologist Locator service

Many providers offer a complimentary intake meeting to ensure

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

• Are you a licensed psychologist? How many years have you been

practicing psychology?

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

problems (with my job, my marriage, eating, sleeping, etc.). What

experience do you have helping people with these types of


• What are your areas of expertise—for example, working with children

and families?

• What kinds of treatments do you use and have they been proven

effective for dealing with my kind of problem or issue?

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

minute session.) Do you have a sliding-scale fee policy?

• What types of insurance do you accept? Will you accept direct billing

to or payment from my insurance company? Are you affiliated with

any managed care organizations? Do you accept Medicare or

Medicaid insurance?

Providing resources and tools to support those struggling with stress,

burnout, or other mental health challenges may help reduce attrition and

costly turnover. Recognizing these challenges and offering support shows

that we value the contributions of caseworkers and team members who are

committed to the care and support of children and parents across the



American Psychological Association. (2019, October 17). How to choose a

psychologist. American Psychological Association.


Bareket-Bojmel, L., Shahar, G., Abu-Kaf, S. and Margalit, M. (2021). Perceived social

support, loneliness, and hope during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Testing a

mediating model in the UK, USA, and Israel. British Journal of Clinical

Psychology, 60, 133-148.


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

Letters, 159, 57-60.



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

specific attitudes, perceptions and behaviors during the Corona pandemic and

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


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

potential impact on US healthcare. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved September

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

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

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

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

Sociometer theory. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social

psychology (Vol. 32, pp. 1–62). Academic Press.

Lyra Health. (2021). The state of mental health at work 2021.


Lyra Health. (2021). A manager’s guide to preventing employee burnout in 2021.


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

69(3), 147–154.

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

theoretical integration and review. Research in Organizational Behavior, 30, 91-

127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.riob.2010.09.001

Society of Human Resource Management. (2021). Workplace mental health and

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

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

depressive problems: Perceived vs. received social support and moderation by

parental depressive problems. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28, 2209-

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

World Health Organization. (2019). Burn-out an "occupational phenomenon":

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


Ye, Y., Huang, X., & Liu, Y. (2021). Social Support and Academic Burnout Among

University Students: A Moderated Mediation Model. Psychology Research and

Behavior Management, 14, 335-344.



Dr. Wendy Anson is the owner of Engaged CTC LLC. Engaged CTC offers researchbased

techniques and documented best practices from the field of positive psychology

that have been demonstrated to help clients achieve their unique goals. Engaged CTC

provides consulting, training, and coaching in the areas of strategic alignment,

development, and talent optimization. Dr. Anson has a PhD in Industrial &

Organizational Psychology from Capella University and a Master’s in Education Human

Resource Development from George Washington University. She holds a Senior

Certified Professional (SPC) certification from the Society for Human Resource

Management and a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPRH) certification from

the Human Resource Certification Institute. Dr. Anson is a member of the International

Coaching Federation, the Society of Human Resource Management, and the World at


Print article here

“Don’t Stand Up if You Aren’t Wearing Pants”

Now that we have your attention, the CSQ is gathering tips and personal

experiences for video conferencing. Since most everyone has moved to

Zoom, GotoMeeting, MicrosoftTeams, GoogleMeet or other video

conferencing formats, the CSQ Team thought it would be a good time to

include some recommendations and best practices from child support

workers to ensure teleconferences are professional, effective, and

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

experiences, as well as experiences that taught you a valuable

lesson. Please respond by completing this survey.

Contributors will remain anonymous!

Evolving Child Support Awareness

into the Future…

by Gilbert M. Burgos

Arizona Division of Child Support Services

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

still picture a world filled with flying cars, robotic assistants, and artificial

intelligence constantly a step ahead of our everyday needs. However, how

many times do we stop and think if that evolving reality can affect our social

service programs? In 1975, the first federal child support enforcement

program was enacted and established as part of the Title IV-D of the Social

Security Act. This was done in an effort for federal and state programs to

help build a foundation for those parents who needed to be held

accountable and responsible for supporting their children. Because of the

original intention to enforce and drive accountability, the words “child

support” can create discomfort and feelings of fear, anger, and even

embarrassment for some parents. Most child support services aim to

establish a good foundation that many parents cannot provide or who might

not understand the importance of having a proper foundation. On August 5,

1995, President Clinton declared August to be national Child Support

Awareness month to highlight the importance of establishing a necessary

foundation for providing support and ensuring parents take responsibility for

their children.

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

that’s an excellent question, particularly for the child support community.

Not sure if many of you have realized how many states have walked away

from carrying the name “Enforcement” in their programs’ titles and have

adopted the word “Services” instead? Our child support programs have

continued to evolve over the years, from being a zero-tolerance

enforcement program where accountability drove many actions, to what

has recently become a less punitive service that provides education and

guidance to parents. As generations have evolved, so have the child

support programs to provide more education, support, and mediation. Many

may say that the program has become soft and lenient and that the focus

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

good parenting skill, the more you push your children, the further they may

walk astray. That same logic has become the new understanding for many

child support programs. I have countless memories of courtroom judges

stating that an incarcerated parent does not benefit the children and, if

anything, it interferes with the parent-to-child relationship.

What does this mean for the future of child support programs? How do you

target awareness for future generations? Of course, these are heavily

loaded questions, but it is something that we must consider in the times to

come. Across the states, caseloads have been changing and dropping; the

question remains, why? Is there some type of generational gap? As a

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

support services, would I seek the assistance? My immediate answer

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

working in state government for

So, how do you target a generation that

believes it is self-reliant and relies highly

on online reviews?

16+ years, you would think I

would immediately say, YES!

However, that’s not the case,

and that’s not because of my

understanding of how child support programs work, but because I come

from a generation that believes all knowledge comes from the good grace

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

need the assistance, and I could manage it independently. The ability to

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

has even helped us determine what life decisions to make next.

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

highly on online reviews? I think those two key ingredients are simplicity

and sincerity—simplicity in understanding the benefits of having a

functional, mediated relationship between parents, and the sincerity that

child support programs are genuinely focused on building a healthy

relationship between parents, providing the understanding that child

support is a financial foundation and a gateway to creating the necessary

connection between parent and child. With the shift in mindsets of child

support programs to adapt to a new generation, the constant change needs

to continue to focus on providing more self-driven services, low complexity,

and a less bureaucratic approach. If we pay attention to what new

generations seek, the need for instant gratification is primary. Our services

need to be concise and self-selecting, yet educational and as simple as a

Google search. Programs such as Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives

to Contempt (PJAC) and other forward-thinking initiatives are paving the

way to close that missing link within those newer generational gaps. The

more we continue to pivot our approach to provide services such as a

private entity would, the more responses and family success gaps will be


As we modernize and update our systems and processes, keep in mind

who our future target audience will be and remain mindful of how we speak

to those new families that are walking through our doors. Are we having

heartfelt, caring, and sincere conversations? Or are we simply processing

another application? The future is exciting for all child support programs,

and this is only the start. To my fellow comrades in the child support

community, continue to be proud of the daily services and hard work you

deliver. Your countless dedicated hours and well-intended efforts to help

others do not go unnoticed!


Gilbert Burgos is Acting Business Development Manager with the Arizona Division of

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

since 2006. He has served in different capacities within the agency, including Field

Liaison to the Director of DES, but mostly tenured with the Child Support Services

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

Development Manager for DCSS. Before that, Gilbert has served in numerous roles,

such as the acting administrator for the Specialized Operations Administration and Debt

Program Manager within the child support division. Gilbert has a Bachelor of Science in

Communications from the Arizona State University and is a Knight of Magistral Grace

with the Western Association of the Order of Malta - Knights of Malta.

Print article here

Have you listened to an NCSEA Podcast today?

NCSEA’s 2021 Innovative Partnership / Collaboration Award (20:03)

NCSEA’s 2021 Program Awareness Award (16:29)

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

Continuing the Leadership: An interview with NCSEA Presidents—Lisa

Skenandore and Lori Bengston (27:40)

An Engaging Conversation with ERICSA’s Presidents (36:30)

Getting In on Incentives: Perspectives on Performance Measures (35:56)

See the full list of NCSEA Podcasts here

NCSEA’S 2021 Leadership Symposium

“Lead Forward”

by Ashley Dexter and Charles Smith

Co-chairs, Leadership Symposium

After a year and a half of uncertainty, NCSEA’s annual Leadership

Symposium was the in-person summer destination for child support

professionals August 1-4, 2021! Over 500 practitioners met at the

Downtown Marriott Hotel in Austin, Texas for plenaries and sessions

focused on leadership and professional development. Every plenary and

session provided stimulating and provocative content, along with invaluable

networking opportunities. Conference sessions focused on various

challenges child support leaders and those served by the child support

program face, lessons learned, and best practices to lead forward postpandemic.

Because of the pandemic, NCSEA took every precaution to ensure

attendees had a safe and memorable conference experience. Each

attendee received in their welcome bag facemasks and color-coded

buttons to wear on their lapel or lanyard indicating their comfort level with

social distancing or contact. To facilitate social distancing, attendees

enjoyed longer breaks and the benefit of a larger exhibit hall with kiosks.

Sponsors also had the option to host corporate partner showcases during

the breaks.

The Leadership Symposium opened Sunday evening by welcoming

attendees to a reception in the exhibit hall. Attendees were able to network

with friends and colleagues while discovering symposium offerings and

gathering up swag from the generous vendor community.

On Monday morning, David Daniels delivered a heartwarming plenary on

what it means to lead with compassion and to have a heart that cares. The

conference continued with sessions from this year’s tracks including

Connecting with Health and Human Service Partners, Providing Data

Insights for Leaders at all Levels, Leading with the Brain in Mind, and A

Conversation in Leadership Development.

Historically, the Leadership Symposium has one plenary per day. This year

we shifted to provide two plenaries each day. Monday’s second plenary

featured Diane Potts interviewing Dr. Wendy Anson about the emotional

and mental health challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic. The

afternoon continued with workshops and learning labs that covered the

topics of Empathizing with Purpose, Leading in Ambiguity, and Leading in

the Big City (Urban Jurisdiction Challenges).

Monday evening conference goers were

invited to the President’s reception for further

networking and interaction with exhibitors.

Tuesday opened with a thought-provoking

plenary titled Perspectives Matter, where we

heard fathers and fatherhood advocates share their experiences interacting

with the child support program, and expressing their desire for more

inclusion. While many child support organizations are attempting to be

more open to father issues, the session helped underscore how small

gestures, like father pictures in lobbies, can go a long way toward creating

a father-friendly environment. The sessions following Perspectives Matter

covered the topics of Designing the Future State of Child Support, Case

Closure, Family-Centered Equitable Child Support Policies, and How to

Identify and Minimize Microaggression.

The second plenary on

Tuesday afternoon

included IV-D Directors

discussing “Pandemic

Decisions Impacting

Future Service Delivery.”

The afternoon

workshops included a

second discussion on

designing the future

state of child support, as

well as dynamic discussions entitled After the Pandemic: Court Lessons

Learned, Procedural Justice Alternatives, and Innovations Worth Keeping.

Tuesday was another day of dynamic discussions.

The Leadership Symposium ended Wednesday with two thought provoking

and information filled plenaries. In the first plenary, we heard from four child

support leaders who provided their perspectives on key elements of the

Strengthening Families for Success Act of 2020, and how it would impact

their state programs. The second plenary focused on the Future of Work,

discussing pre-, during, and post-pandemic work data and trends, and

examining what the future holds for the child support workforce.

From the post-conference surveys, the respondents unanimously

expressed satisfaction with the session content and speakers selected this

year. Don’t forget that attendees are still able to access the conference

materials and watch the plenary recordings through the conference app!

Ashley and Charles extend many thanks to all

of you who submitted session proposals and

suggested speakers. We also cannot thank

enough the tremendously talented and

accomplished child support professionals on

the Leadership Symposium Planning

Committee for all their hard work, from reading

every proposal submission, to transforming

them into an engaging professional

development and leadership conference, all

while working remotely. We also send a special thank you to NCSEA’s

Director of Professional Development, Gillyn Croog, for her dedication to

attendees’ health and safety, her keen attention to detail, her leadership,

and overall conference organization that resulted in an in-person

Leadership Symposium all could enjoy from their own comfort level. Finally,

a special thank you to Ruth Anne Thornton and the Texas Child Support

Program, and neighboring state and county programs, for your support and

help in making this year’s conference so successful.

We look forward to seeing all of you next year in Charlotte, North Carolina

August 7-10, 2022!

Ashley Dexter is a Specialist Senior with Deloitte Consulting LLP. Prior to joining

Deloitte, Ashley began her career over 19 years ago in the Kansas child support

program and served most recently as the Kansas Deputy IVD Director. Ashley served

as a member of NCSEA’s Board of Directors from 2018 to 2021 and served as the cochair

of the 2019 Leadership Symposium, 2020 Inspire Event, and 2021 Leadership

Symposium. She has spoken at several Leadership Symposiums and at other national

events, including annual conferences for WICSEC and ERICSA. As an NCSEA U

alumna, Ashley is excited to co-chair the 2021-2022 NCSEA U committee.

Charles Smith is President/CEO of Charles R. Smith Consulting, LLC. He started his

consulting practice after retiring from Texas state government in 2018. Charles has

more than 27 years of child support experience and previously served as the Texas IV-

D Director. Charles is a frequent speaker at state, regional and national conferences

and is a past instructor of NCSEA U. He is a member of NCSEA’s Board of Directors

and served as the co-chair of the 2021 Leadership Symposium. Charles is a WICSEC

past-President and Honorary Life Member.

Is NCSEA U For You?

NCSEA U was chartered in 2013 and currently has

more than 135 alumni. NCSEA U provides a unique

premier educational and professional development

opportunity. It is structured for learning leaders in the

child support community and it complements NCSEA’s

other educational initiatives and strategies. The

program is taught by nationally recognized child

support leaders, offering a variety of informative and

strategic topics. Classes are structured with an

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

with real-time work environment scenarios.

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

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

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

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


Meet Our NCSEA U Alumni

Sarah Hurst - Class 2015

Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support

Deputy Director of Administration

What was the most valuable aspect of the NCSEA U experience?

I had the pleasure of attending NCSEA U in both 2015 and 2018. I feel the most valuable aspect of the

experience was getting to hear about best practices utilized in other states, as well as challenges that other

child support leaders had been through and how they addressed them.

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

Since first attending NCSEA U in 2015, I have had the pleasure of serving in a variety of positions with the

Department of Human Services Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) in the GREAT State of Georgia,

including Region Manager, Business Resolution Team Lead and Deputy Director of Administration. In 2021,

I also started serving as a mentor with the University of Georgia Mentor Program (Go Dawgs!).

What is a key leadership attribute that you appreciate in others? Why? Responsiveness. Oftentimes,

as child support professionals, we are asked to respond quickly to various challenging situations with limited

information. Working with incredibly responsive team members, like the leaders in our organization, allows

us to get to the root of the problem and brainstorm solutions to resolve the issue.

Petrina Travers - Class 2019

Ramsey County Attorney's Office, Human Services Division

Child Support Supervisor

What was the most valuable aspect of the NCSEA U experience?

Making contacts with child support professionals across the state.

What would you like others to know about NCSEA U? It is a fantastic opportunity to gain insight from

leaders in the child support program, both in a professional and casual setting.

Why would you recommend NCSEA U to others? This is a great opportunity to stretch your leadership

qualities and learn from professionals across the nation.

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

I have had the opportunity to present at a number of national and state child support conferences since

attending NCSEA U.

What is a key leadership attribute that you appreciate in others? Why?

I appreciate honesty and straightforwardness in those that lead.

Linda Rhyne-Mckinley - Class of 2017

Mecklenburg County Child Support Services

Quality and Training Manager/Supervisor

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

define leadership? Leadership is influence, empowerment and inspiring others to be more and do more

than they thought was possible. Leadership is helping others look inward and find their passion that will

guide them to their purpose in life.

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

helped to streamline and define leadership (and that a title doesn't define leadership). You can

lead/influence from where you are now.

Do you have a favorite quote that you refer to periodically? I love quotes and have several. However,

just sharing a couple:

"Your eyes are useless, when your mind is blind". "Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is

about taking care of those in our charge." Simon Sinek

"The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision." Helen Keller

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