November 2022 CSQ

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Table of Contents<br />

October <strong>2022</strong><br />

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

Community Corner: Bounce Back From Burnout………………..…….7<br />

Five Components of Customer Service……………………………….11<br />

Child Support Across Countries………………………………………..16<br />

NCSEA International Roundtable………………………………………22<br />

National Child Support Market Research Survey Launched ………..26<br />

Creating Safe Access to Child Support…...........................................31<br />

Introducing NCSEA U @ Policy Forum………………………………...35<br />

NCSEA U Alumni Spotlight………………………………………………37<br />

Leadership Symposium Wrap Up……………………………………….39

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Jim Fleming<br />

NCSEA President<br />

Hello, NCSEA! I am very excited to serve as NCSEA’s president this year,<br />

but I admit feeling challenged to match the success of our organization in<br />

the last year under Lori Bengston’s leadership. I have served with Lori on<br />

various NCSEA committees for the last ten years, and she has a rare talent<br />

for drawing out the best in the work of others toward a common goal.<br />

Thankfully, she will continue serving NCSEA as our Immediate Past<br />

President. As I begin my term, I would also like to acknowledge the<br />

examples set by the four NCSEA presidents with whom I served on the<br />

NCSEA Executive Committee as Treasurer: Lisa Skenandore, Tanguler<br />

Gray, Craig Burshem, and Diane Potts.<br />

NCSEA already has an exciting agenda for the next year. At its August<br />

<strong>2022</strong> meeting, the NCSEA Board of Directors endorsed continued<br />

development of a set of legislative proposals to Congress. In early <strong>2022</strong>, a<br />

member of NCSEA’s Policy and Government Relations (PGR) Committee<br />

suggested that NCSEA go beyond adopting resolutions or responding to<br />

legislative proposals and put together its own legislative proposals for<br />

modernizing child support. PGR members strongly supported that<br />

suggestion and broke into small groups to develop these proposals for<br />

presentation to the Board in August.<br />

Although the legislative proposals are still being refined and will need final<br />

approval by the NCSEA Board, it appears likely that NCSEA will propose<br />

revisions to the federal performance measures, creation of new or<br />

improved collection tools, financial incentives for states to forward<br />

collections to families instead of retaining those collections, and expansion<br />

of program activities eligible for federal financial participation. If you want to

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know more about these proposals, visit www.ncsea.org, open the link to<br />

Advocacy & Public Policy, and review NCSEA’s resolutions and policy<br />

statements.<br />

NCSEA’s legislative proposals will increase awareness of the many ways<br />

the child support program has matured over the last several decades.<br />

Hopefully, we will be able to maintain Congress’ historic bi-partisan support<br />

of child support as a vital program for serving America’s families and<br />

promoting parental responsibility.<br />

The evolving services offered by the child support program have also<br />

motivated a second NCSEA initiative. In August, the NCSEA Board of<br />

Directors committed to moving forward with a plan to change the name of<br />

our organization to the National Child Support Engagement Association.<br />

Enforcement, along with establishment of paternity and child support<br />

obligations, will always be at the core of the child support program. But<br />

singling out enforcement in our corporate title detracts from the multitude of<br />

other services offered by today’s child support programs. I congratulate<br />

WICSEC for recently updating its corporate name and look forward to<br />

NCSEA doing the same.<br />

In addition to the legislative package and name change, we can also look<br />

forward to a new offering in conjunction with the 2023 Policy Forum.<br />

NCSEAU @ Policy Forum is a new educational opportunity for child<br />

support professionals to hone their skills in advocating for the program. The<br />

NCSEAU @ Policy Forum professors need no introduction to most: Margot<br />

Bean and Lisa Skenandore! For more details, I encourage you to read the<br />

article in this issue of <strong>CSQ</strong> from our instructors.<br />

One reason I support using the word “engagement” in our new corporate<br />

name is that it fits how NCSEA tries to meet the professional development<br />

and education needs of its members. I strongly dislike social media, so you<br />

won’t see this dinosaur on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. When<br />

PodMaster Tim Lightner first asked me to join him for an NCSEA On<br />

Location podcast episode, I was tempted to schedule a root canal instead.<br />

But I am now a convert and look forward to these engaging conversations<br />

on trending child support topics. I encourage all of you to do what I do:<br />

save the weekly Rapid Read as a reminder to listen to the week’s new<br />

podcast while you enjoy that first cup of coffee and clear up the morning e-<br />

mail. And while you’re reading the Rapid Read, make sure to note

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NCSEA’s Corporate Partners, whose innovation and expertise are<br />

instrumental to NCSEA’s success.<br />

I encourage you to engage with other NCSEA members through the many<br />

NCSEA educational opportunities. In addition to our podcasts, our Web-<br />

Talks and the Child Support CommuniQue are free with membership.<br />

NCSEA Connects offers several chances to engage with NCSEA members<br />

who share similar interests. And at the end of the NCSEA membership<br />

year, we look forward to engaging at the Leadership Symposium in<br />

Anaheim, California.<br />

A consistent theme for new NCSEA presidents is the responsibility of<br />

selecting committee chairs and appointing members of the many NCSEA<br />

committees. I am so grateful to the NCSEA Board members and other<br />

leaders who have agreed to serve as committee and subcommittee chairs.<br />

Once again this year, NCSEA is blessed with a strong spirit of<br />

volunteerism, and every committee had more volunteers than we could<br />

accommodate.<br />

In addition to our many volunteers, I would like to express my sincere<br />

thanks to NCSEA’s outstanding team of Ann Marie Ruskin and Katie<br />

Kenney and extend a welcome to our new team member Amalia Paul.<br />

Thank you for making child support your calling.<br />

I’m not a big one for quotes, but there is one that has stuck with me since I<br />

was a kid visiting the site of Teddy Roosevelt’s cattle ranch in Medora,<br />

North Dakota: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the<br />

chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Whether you work in the public<br />

or private sector, this quote describes so well the satisfaction we all can<br />

draw from working in the child support program and taking advantage of<br />

NCSEA’s professional development opportunities.<br />

My theme for the next year has two parts that can be found in the quote.<br />

Work hard: let’s all continue to develop and improve our skills, both in<br />

terms of innovations in delivery of family-friendly services and in our more<br />

traditional enforcement and establishment work. Work worth doing: let’s not<br />

lose sight that we provide our services to improve the quality of life for<br />

America’s children and we should continually monitor the impact of our<br />

services on those families.

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I look forward to the year ahead as we engage with NCSEA members and<br />

other partners to shape the future of child support. With your participation, I<br />

know it will be a great year.<br />

Jim<br />

_________________________________________<br />

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

Department of Health and Human Services, President of the National Child Support<br />

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

Intergovernmental Child Support Engagement Council (WICSEC), and former President<br />

of the National Council of Child Support Directors (NCCSD). Jim is a member and<br />

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

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

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

Collaboration Committee. Jim was named the <strong>2022</strong> recipient of the American Payroll<br />

Association’s Government Partner Award. He has also received the 2009 Family<br />

Support Council Program Awareness Award and the 2004 Freedom Award from the<br />

North Dakota Newspaper Association.<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 28 years, following a<br />

clerkship with the North Dakota Supreme Court. Jim and his wife Terri are the proud<br />

parents of four daughters and were recently blessed with a perfect granddaughter.

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Bounce Back from Burnout<br />

by Mary Johnson, YoungWilliams<br />

In 2021, I was asked to participate on a panel to remind managers to take care<br />

of themselves. Since then, I have presented to groups of managers, entire<br />

government departments, and for attorneys as part of continuing legal education<br />

programs. I am not a burnout expert, but I believe it’s a problem and needs to be<br />

addressed. In fact, I’m sure some of you have read articles about the Great<br />

Resignation and more recently, quiet quitting. Burnout factors into both.<br />


In 2019, the World Health Organization classified burnout as an occupational<br />

phenomenon in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Burnout is<br />

a syndrome caused by chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully<br />

managed. It is characterized by:<br />

• “[F]eelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;<br />

• increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or<br />

cynicism related to one's job; and<br />

• a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.” 1<br />


As employers, we should care a lot. Burnout costs billions in healthcare 2 and<br />

leads to disengaged employees and turnover 3 . As humans, we should care<br />

because our people are hurting–their health, well-being, finances, and family<br />

relationships.<br />

Gallup devotes an entire section of its website to burnout 4 , which I would<br />

strongly encourage you to review, including Gallup's Perspectives on Employee<br />

Burnout: Causes and Cures (2020) report, which I highly recommend. Gallup<br />

does a great job of breaking topics into easily digestible chunks of information.<br />

For instance, 76% of employees experience burnout at work at least sometimes.<br />

Remember, burnout is more than “I’m stressed out about this project.” It’s about<br />

being totally exhausted, having negative feelings about your work, or feeling a<br />

lack of fulfillment/accomplishment.

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SO, WHAT DO WE DO?<br />

The following are five tips to avoid (or bounce back from) burnout 5 :<br />

1. Tell yourself the truth.<br />

Self-awareness is KEY. The better you know yourself, the better you’ll be able to<br />

identify your workplace stress triggers. It’ll take time and work on your part. The<br />

following are some suggested exercises with linked resources to get you started.<br />

These are by no means all-inclusive, and if you have other suggestions, please<br />

share.<br />

• Create a personal mission<br />

statement.<br />

How To Write A Personal Mission<br />

Statement (With Examples)<br />

• Think about a motto or mantra you<br />

say or check out these articles.<br />

Famous Mottos: 10 ways short life<br />

quotes can help you succeed or 32<br />

Career Mantras That Will Inspire You<br />

at Any State of Your Career<br />

• Take a free personality type<br />

assessment.<br />

16 Personalities<br />

• Identify your strengths.<br />

Gallup - CliftonStrengths<br />

• Determine how you communicate.<br />

Which of These 4 Communication<br />

https://olgaphoenix.com/self-care-wheel/<br />

Styles Are You?<br />

• Understand what you value and make decisions based on your values.<br />

My Self Values Exercise or How To Discover Your Personal Core Values<br />

(And Why You Must!)<br />

• Use the Self-Care Wheel to identify different areas of your life. Choose a<br />

couple of options on the list and try them.

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2. Be Assertive.<br />

It is important to set boundaries and the Assertive Bill of Rights can help you get<br />

started. Choose one or two actions from the Bill to try out. Personally, saying<br />

“no” without feeling guilty was hard at first but VERY freeing.<br />

3. Figure out what makes you happy.<br />

Think about your favorite moments at work. For me, it’s all about relationships,<br />

helping people, and connecting with colleagues. This can be as easy as thinking<br />

about my favorite football team (the Wyoming Cowboys), one of my favorite<br />

series (Star Wars . . . not Star Trek), and my absolute love for Michael Scott.<br />

4. Identify energy vampires.<br />

Energy vampires are everywhere. These vampires don’t take responsibility, are<br />

involved in office drama, diminish your problems and play up their own, criticize,<br />

and often try to intimidate. When dealing with an energy vampire, set<br />

boundaries, adjust your expectations (lower them), don’t overreact, say no,<br />

delegate, avoid contact, or postpone a meeting until you have the energy or plan<br />

on how to respond.

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5. Participate in the world at large.<br />

There is so much out there. I’d suggest these: (1) find your work-life balance; (2)<br />

try something new; and (3) be spontaneous. As a planner, this last one is hard<br />

for me, but over the years, my husband has pushed me into spontaneity. I’ve<br />

enjoyed more than 50% of those times.<br />

If you want any specific resources for attorneys or have a burning desire to see<br />

how burnout affects our ethical obligations, let me know. If you have any<br />

questions or other ideas, please contact me. I’d love to chat!<br />

_________________________________________<br />

As Vice President of Special Projects for YoungWilliams, Mary Johnson supports or directly<br />

manages proposal writing, company branding, professional development for managers and<br />

attorneys, training development, social media, and YoungWilliams’ internal and external<br />

portal. Mary has been a part of the child support program since 1995 when she started as a<br />

staff attorney in a local office. Her passion for making a difference and desire to help others<br />

learn and grow determines where she spends her time. Besides volunteering within the child<br />

support program, she volunteers closer to home for organizations such as Equal Justice<br />

Wyoming, the University of Wyoming Alumni Association, the Wyoming Bar – Diversity, Equity<br />

& Inclusion Section, and more.<br />

Both her undergraduate and law degrees are from the University of Wyoming.<br />

1<br />

https://icd.who.int/browse11/l-m/en#/http://id.who.int/icd/entity/129180281<br />

2<br />

https://hbr.org/2017/04/employee-burnout-is-a-problem-with-the-company-not-the-person<br />

3<br />

https://www.forbes.com/sites/karlynborysenko/2019/05/29/burnout-is-now-an-officially-diagnosable-conditionheres-what-you-need-to-know-about-it/?sh=50ebb6632b99<br />

4<br />

https://www.gallup.com/topic/burnout.aspx<br />

5<br />

In collaboration with Jonell Sullivan, Child Support Operations Administrator (AZ), and Karen Winkler, Director<br />

of Bucks County Domestic Relations (PA) – they are the BEST.

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The Five Components of Customer<br />

Service: A Journey in Washington<br />

by Mary Cooper, Washington DCS<br />

The Washington State Division of Child Support (DCS) embraces the value<br />

of providing great customer service. One of our most recent developments<br />

has been what we call the Five Components of Customer Service. This<br />

article describes how we developed these components and how we’re<br />

deploying the concepts to staff.<br />

Our Customer Service History<br />

Before we get to the five components, it’s helpful to look back at some of<br />

the steps in Washington DCS’ customer service evolution. An early step<br />

was to survey customers and consider their feedback. DCS also formed an<br />

employee workgroup called the Customer First Workgroup. This workgroup<br />

assessed our current state of customer service, identified areas of growth,<br />

and researched available customer service training. Former DCS Director<br />

Wally McClure then visited each field office with his Customer Service<br />

Road Show. His message? Providing excellent customer service is more<br />

than collecting child support; it benefits the agency and the families we<br />

serve. From that groundwork, current DCS Director Sharon Redmond<br />

offered a new customer service promise: “We provide respect and<br />

resources to every person every day.”<br />

While those were positive steps, agency leadership recognized some<br />

inconsistencies between customer service expectations and statewide<br />

procedures. Sometimes these inconsistencies hurt our ability to meet<br />

customers’ needs. Other times, inconsistencies hurt our staff’s ability to<br />

understand their expectations. It was clear that we needed to specifically<br />

define what good customer service looked like. The end goal was to<br />

provide better service while also increasing our collections.<br />

Our Journey – Developing the Five Components of Customer Service<br />

In early 2018, we formed the Commitment to Service Workgroup to support<br />

two DCS strategic plan goals:<br />

(1) Deliver services adapted to individual customer needs and<br />

circumstances; and<br />

(2) Continually improve DCS operations and performance.

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To be inclusive, the project team invited staff from across the state to<br />

participate. Program managers identified employees who would serve as<br />

change agents for their individual offices. Because the group’s work would<br />

likely lead to more culture shift for the organization, project leads<br />

incorporated change management from the beginning.<br />

During an in-person kick-off meeting, the group talked about the current<br />

state and the future of customer service. Each member of the group<br />

completed pre-work that included describing what customer service looked,<br />

felt, and sounded like. Then the team participated in a card-sorting activity<br />

to identify the top Five Components of Excellent Customer Service:<br />

• Accessibility<br />

• Good communication<br />

• Honesty and integrity<br />

• Owning the customer service experience<br />

• Respect<br />

Identifying these components was a milestone,<br />

but the team recognized that staff across the<br />

organization might still have different ideas of<br />

what respect or accessibility look like. The group<br />

divided into subgroups to develop detailed definitions of each component.<br />

Members of the project team initially used a Lean tool called the “Voice of<br />

the Customer” to gather input from employees. This encouraged agencywide<br />

participation in the process and generated buy-in from staff.<br />

Workgroup representatives attempted to engage every employee in their<br />

office by forming focus groups and attending team meetings where they<br />

asked the following questions:<br />

• If you could change one thing about the component, what would it<br />

be?<br />

• What is unclear about this component?<br />

• How can we measure the positive impact of the component?<br />

• What is the most important component?<br />

• What questions do you have for the project team?<br />

The feedback from those meetings played a big part in developing detailed<br />

definitions for each component. Those definitions described the behavior of<br />

the component as it might appear to both internal and external customers.<br />

For instance, the definition of good communication is “the ability to

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communicate effectively to others while using active listening skills,<br />

showing empathy, and giving your undivided attention to ensure that the<br />

person you are speaking with feels important and comfortable.”<br />

The Commitment to Service Workgroup brought these Five Components of<br />

Excellent Customer Service before the statewide leadership team for<br />

approval in January 2019. The leadership team approved implementation<br />

of the Five Components of Customer Service in June 2019.<br />

Our Journey – Deploying the Five Components of Customer Service<br />

The project team used the ADKAR (awareness, desire, knowledge, ability,<br />

and reinforcement) model of change management to guide them in<br />

incorporating the five components into DCS’ values and culture. Using a<br />

coordinated, cascading communication plan over the next several months,<br />

the workgroup started with agency leaders, then managers across the<br />

state, followed by front-line supervisors across the state. Supervisor<br />

support was instrumental to successful implementation. At this point, we<br />

paused and gave supervisors an opportunity to ask questions before rolling<br />

out the five components to front-line staff. Supervisors expressed that they<br />

felt they did not yet have enough information to discuss the five<br />

components with their staff. It was clear that we needed more support to<br />

prepare for the change.<br />

Additional communication came from<br />

some key players. First, DCS Director<br />

Sharon Redmond sent a message to<br />

staff in which she stated, “When we<br />

focus on customer service we can<br />

positively impact more families and<br />

children because our customers have<br />

access to all the services we offer….<br />

Let’s build on our strengths and the work of the dedicated staff of the<br />

Commitment to Service Workgroup to create better relationships, improve<br />

our performance, and help more families and children.”<br />

For the next five weeks, each member of the Executive Leadership Team<br />

wrote an article that focused on one component to create a more concrete<br />

sense of what customer service meant as defined by the workgroup and<br />

supported by agency leadership. We then found ourselves in March 2020.<br />

With attention focused toward responding to the pandemic, we hit pause on<br />

our rollout plan.

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Our Journey – Post-Pandemic Re-deployment of the Five<br />

Components of Customer Service<br />

We came back to the plan in October 2020 when the project team and<br />

sponsors revisited implementation of the Five Components of Excellent<br />

Customer Service. Because we had lost momentum, we decided to<br />

backtrack and once again have agency leadership affirm the five<br />

components and express how they intersect with providing excellent<br />

customer service. We adjusted the communication plan to accommodate<br />

our new situation, a common occurrence during the implementation of the<br />

project.<br />

The first communication came from then Chief of Field Operations Andrew<br />

Chin, who produced a video for staff reintroducing the Commitment to<br />

Service Workgroup and the five components. As Andrew remarked during<br />

the video, the pandemic made the five components “increasingly relevant in<br />

society.” He encouraged staff to identify one tangible thing they could do to<br />

improve their customer service, emphasizing that “You’re important. Your<br />

actions matter. How you show up every day matters.”<br />

After this video, Sharon addressed supervisors statewide. She reiterated<br />

the value the agency places on providing excellent customer service.<br />

Integrating the five components would make the concept of customer<br />

service more tangible. We provided a one-page summary for supervisors to<br />

use as talking points with their teams as they resumed discussions.<br />

The next phase was to host workshops for every management team in the<br />

state. These workshops helped the office management teams develop<br />

culture change plans specifically for their staff. They also created an action<br />

plan for implementing the Five Components of Excellent Customer service<br />

in their offices.<br />

We equipped supervisors to support the five components by identifying<br />

current behaviors and beliefs that they wanted to keep as well as behaviors<br />

and beliefs they wanted to stop. To take the discussion one step further,<br />

supervisors identified behaviors and beliefs they wanted to create in place<br />

of the items they would like to stop. They then discussed ways to recognize<br />

staff that would reinforce and support these behaviors. These workshops<br />

resulted in concrete plans with specific action items local management

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teams could use to help encourage staff’s understanding of, and reliance<br />

on, the five components when providing internal and external customer<br />

service.<br />

Conclusion and Next Steps<br />

The process of integrating the Five Components of Excellent Customer<br />

Service is still evolving. Our leaders continue to<br />

stress the importance of providing excellent<br />

customer service and point to the five<br />

components as concrete ways staff can do so.<br />

We have added the five components to the<br />

agency’s strategic planning documents. The<br />

next steps will be to create an accountability<br />

mechanism by adding expectations for staff in the annual performance<br />

evaluation process.<br />

The Commitment to Service Workgroup first convened almost five years<br />

ago. Developing and implementing the Five Components of Excellent<br />

Customer Service has required a lot of flexibility. Of course some situations<br />

were beyond the workgroup’s control. But the workgroup also listened to<br />

managers and supervisors who would play a key role in the success of the<br />

initiative and adapted the plans to include their feedback.<br />

Collection of child support is the primary focus of child support agencies.<br />

However, this approach often doesn’t account for paying parents’ capacity<br />

to comply. Like many other child support agencies across the country, DCS<br />

is expanding the ways in which we fulfill our mission of providing excellent<br />

child support services to include considering the situation and needs of the<br />

whole family. A key factor of this holistic approach is providing excellent<br />

customer service that educates both parties about resources and options.<br />

Washington DCS’ Commitment to Service Workgroup provided a concerted<br />

effort to change our culture. Developing and defining the Five Components<br />

of Excellent Customer Service not only educated staff about the importance<br />

of providing excellent customer service, it also showed them how to do it,<br />

and then recognized their efforts and accomplishments.<br />

Mary Cooper is a Child Support Program Manager for the Washington State Division of<br />

Child Support. She began her child support career in 1992 for the State of Montana<br />

before joining Washington in 1994. In addition to countless other responsibilities and<br />

projects over her career, Mary served as a co-lead for the Commitment to Service<br />

Workgroup. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the University of Great<br />

Falls and a Master’s Degree in Theology from Whitworth University. She lives in<br />

Spokane, Washington, with her husband of 38 years. She has two adult children and<br />

one spoiled cat.

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Child Support Policy Around the World:<br />

Similar Problems, Different Approaches<br />

by Mia Hakovirta, Department of Social Research, University of<br />

Turku, Finland; Laura Cuesta, Rutgers, The State University of<br />

New Jersey; Mari Haapanen, Department of Social Research,<br />

University of Turku; Daniel R. Meyer, University of Wisconsin–<br />

Madison.<br />

Globally, single mothers are among the most likely to live in poverty, even<br />

in wealthy countries. Not only is the proportion of single-mother-headed<br />

households increasing in many countries, but single mothers often face a<br />

triple bind of inadequate household resources, limited job opportunities,<br />

and social policies offering limited support (Nieuwenhuis & Maldonado,<br />

2018).<br />

Child support programs have multiple<br />

purposes, including alleviating financial<br />

precarity for single parents. Child support,<br />

in its most general sense, is an effort to<br />

fairly distribute the financial demands of<br />

childrearing. While all high-income<br />

countries have child support policies, their<br />

systems vary.<br />

Below, we compare child support policies across several high-income<br />

countries. Our sample includes mostly European countries but also<br />

Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, the United States, and Uruguay. In<br />

nations where child support policy varies by jurisdiction, such as Canada,<br />

Spain, and the United States, a unit within each country was selected (i.e.,<br />

Ontario, Catalonia, and Wisconsin, respectively). Because most singleparent<br />

households are headed by women, our focus is primarily on singlemother<br />

families and the nonresident fathers of their children.<br />

Of the countries examined in our article (see Hakovirta, et al., <strong>2022</strong>), three<br />

types of institutional systems are primarily involved in determining child<br />

support orders: court-based; agency-based; and hybrid models, in which a<br />

combination of courts and agencies determine child support obligations.

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Courts are primarily responsible for determining obligations in Austria,<br />

Belgium, Canada (Ontario), Chile, Estonia, France, Germany, Spain<br />

(Catalonia), and Uruguay. Governmental agencies are primarily<br />

responsible in Australia, Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, and the UK.<br />

Both courts and agencies are involved in Finland, Iceland, Netherlands,<br />

Sweden, and the United States (Wisconsin).<br />

Court and agency-led systems have different affordances and constraints.<br />

Due to judicial discretion, court arrangements sometimes consider<br />

individual factors in a deliberative process. This can lead to similar cases<br />

being treated differently, however, and some view courts as more<br />

adversarial than cooperative. In contrast, agencies often apply formulaic<br />

determinations. This may increase the efficiency of processing cases, but<br />

deviations based on important individual family circumstances may be less<br />

likely. In some countries, parents can also develop their own agreements,<br />

often in cooperation with an agency or other institutional support. Parents<br />

determining their own child support arrangements can result in more<br />

realistic orders and, as such, may be more likely to be paid.<br />

Agencies can also be used to collect and distribute support, monitor<br />

payments, or institute enforcement actions if payments do not occur. Courtbased<br />

systems, however, do not generally collect or distribute support.<br />

Parents tend to make their own arrangements for cash transfers, and<br />

responsibility for alerting the court in cases of nonpayment falls to the<br />

custodial parent.<br />

Child Support Obligations<br />

While no universal methods exist for calculating child support, and<br />

determinations range from full discretion to formulaic, there are four general<br />

factors used to determine support: resources of the noncustodial parent<br />

and/or custodial parent; children’s needs and age; considerations for other<br />

children of the parent(s); and the distribution of time a child spends with<br />

each parent (Skinner, et al., 2007). An extant model in many countries is to<br />

try to match the contributions each parent would have made had they lived<br />

together in a household (see Cancian & Meyer, 2018). In most countries<br />

the resources of both parents are counted. In others, only the non-custodial<br />

parent’s income is explicitly considered; these include Iceland,<br />

Netherlands, the UK, New Zealand, and Canada as well as a minority of<br />

U.S. American states (including Wisconsin in some cases).

Child support in US$ppp/month<br />

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We used a vignette method to gather data on the amount expected in child<br />

support. Country-level experts were identified and offered hypothetical<br />

family scenarios to evaluate. Given each vignette, these experts reported<br />

on what typical child support orders might be, given existing policies. See<br />

Hakovirta and Haapanen (2020) for further details on this method. Figure 1<br />

shows the order amounts determined by country informants given two<br />

hypothetical median-income family vignettes each, across 13 countries.<br />

1200<br />

1100<br />

1000<br />

900<br />

800<br />

700<br />

600<br />

500<br />

400<br />

300<br />

200<br />

100<br />

0<br />

Separated parents with one child<br />

Separated parents with two children<br />

FIGURE 1: Amount of child support due in median-income families,<br />

2017.<br />

In the one-child scenario, order amounts differ dramatically despite<br />

noncustodial parents being expected to pay child support in all countries.<br />

Child support orders tend to be lowest in Sweden, Denmark, and France<br />

while Estonia, the USA, and Spain have the highest expected order<br />

amounts for both one-child and two-children scenarios. In Sweden, Iceland,<br />

Belgium, and Estonia, order amounts per child for two-child families are<br />

about twice that of one-child family scenarios; in other countries orders<br />

consider economies of scale.<br />

Shared physical custody (the proportions of time spent with each parent)<br />

strongly influences order determinations, yet can create challenges for<br />

policy implementation (Claessens & Mortelmans, 2018). Among the 13<br />

countries examined here, shared custody is often met with reduced child<br />

support order amounts. In vignettes from Estonia and Iceland, however, no<br />

reduction was made in the case of shared custody and in Denmark,

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France, Sweden, and the UK, no support was required in the two-child<br />

shared-custody arrangements (Hakovirta, et al., 2021).<br />

Contingent challenges also arise when parents re-partner and start other<br />

families. If all children are to be treated equally, multi-child parents<br />

navigating multi-partner relationships (current or former) offer challenges<br />

for courts or agencies to determine orders that are affordable, operationally<br />

feasible, and do not disadvantage older children (Claessens & Mortelmans,<br />

2018; Meyer, et al., 2011).<br />

Other challenges include noncustodial parents with low income, particularly<br />

if the custodial parent also has low-income. Alternate formulas for lowincome<br />

cases, which may include allowing noncustodial parents to maintain<br />

a higher level of net income for their own living expenses before child<br />

support is assessed, are among the possible approaches for such cases<br />

(Hodges & Vogel, 2020).<br />

Child Support Payments and Noncompliance<br />

Noncompliance with the ordered amount is an issue across countries. For a<br />

fuller accounting of whether child support is received, and its level, see<br />

Harkovirta, et al. (<strong>2022</strong>). When parents do not pay the amount ordered, in<br />

many countries the amount of child support can be withheld from<br />

paychecks, credit bureau referrals can occur, and passports or drivers’<br />

licenses can be suspended. Although there is similarity across countries in<br />

the possible types of actions taken, very little research has considered how<br />

often this actually occurs in different countries.<br />

An alternative approach when nonpayment occurs in some countries is a<br />

minimum public guarantee of support. In this type of program, the<br />

government will pay up to the guaranteed amount if the noncustodial parent<br />

does not. This gives custodial parents more certainty in their monthly<br />

budget. Programs of guaranteed child support, when they exist, vary<br />

widely. For example, individual circumstances are accounted for in<br />

Norway’s guarantee, and include the custodial parent’s income, number<br />

and age of children, and whether the eligible parent is otherwise partnered.<br />

Other countries follow a more standard schedule. Figure 2 compares<br />

typical orders for a median-income, one-child couple to the amount of the<br />

guarantee; in most countries, the public guarantee is less than the amount<br />

ordered for these couples. In Spain and Estonia, for example, the public

Amount in US$ppp/month<br />

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guarantee is less than half the amount due from the other parent. In<br />

Norway, Finland, and France, the public guarantee is about 50% to 70% of<br />

the order for a typical couple. In Denmark, Iceland, and Belgium,<br />

guaranteed child support is about the same as the order for a typical couple<br />

(over 85%). In Sweden, the public guarantee is actually higher than a<br />

typical order.<br />

900<br />

800<br />

700<br />

600<br />

500<br />

400<br />

300<br />

200<br />

100<br />

0<br />

Child support<br />

Guaranteed child support<br />

Figure 2: Child support due for one child for a median-income family<br />

compared to the amount of public guaranteed child support, 2017.<br />

What can countries with no guaranteed child support (like the United<br />

States) learn from these examples? Two central lessons are the<br />

importance of clear goals and the benefits of broad support programs. A<br />

goal of increasing economic security could be met by a program that<br />

guaranteed all or part of the amount ordered. However, if the goal is also to<br />

decrease poverty, then the program may need to not just guarantee the<br />

amount of the order, but “top up” the order to a minimum level. This would<br />

provide support to children even if the order is low because the<br />

noncustodial parent has low income.<br />

Most countries provide some guaranteed child support for families who are<br />

not low income, which can simplify program administration and allow the<br />

program to function as poverty prevention, rather than only poverty<br />

alleviation. Focusing too much on income-testing often results in less<br />

generous support, which also limits the potential for anti-poverty<br />

effectiveness (Aerts, et al. <strong>2022</strong>). Child support amounts guaranteed by<br />

other wealthy countries (outside of the UK, USA, Australia, and New<br />

Zealand) typically range from about $100 to $200 per month. The U.S.

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National Academies (2019) has proposed a guarantee at this level as an<br />

important component of a package of reforms designed to cut the child<br />

poverty rate in half (Cancian and Meyer, 2018).<br />


Aerts, E., Marx, I. & Parolin, Z. <strong>2022</strong>. Income Support Policies for Single Parents in Europe and<br />

the U.S.: What works best? The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social<br />

Science. Special volume on Single-Parent Families and Public Policy, (forthcoming <strong>November</strong><br />

<strong>2022</strong>).<br />

Cancian, M. & Meyer, D. R. 2018. Reforming policy for single-parent families to reduce child<br />

poverty. The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 4(2): 91-112.<br />

Claessens. E. & Mortelmans, D. 2018. Challenges for child support schemes: Accounting for<br />

shared care and complex families. Journal of European Social Policy, 28(3): 211-223.<br />

Hakovirta, M, Cuesta, L., Haapanen, M. & Meyer, D. <strong>2022</strong>. Child Support Policy Across High-<br />

Income Countries: Similar Problems, Different Approaches. The ANNALS of the American<br />

Academy of Political and Social Science. Special volume on Single-Parent Families and Public<br />

Policy, (forthcoming <strong>November</strong> <strong>2022</strong>).<br />

Hakovirta M. & Haapanen M. (2020, Feb 25). Vignette data in a comparative child maintenance<br />

study. Turku: University of Turku. Invest Working Paper 2.<br />

https://www.utupub.fi/handle/10024/148975<br />

Hakovirta, M., Meyer, D. R., Skinner, C. 2021. Child support in shared care cases: Do child<br />

support policies in 13 countries reflect family policy models? Social Policy and Society,<br />

1-30. DOI: 10.1017/S14747464210003000.<br />

Hodges, L. & Vogel, L. K. 2020. Too much, too little, or just right? Recent changes to state child<br />

support guidelines for low-income noncustodial parents. Journal of Policy Practice and<br />

Research, 2(3): 146-177.<br />

Meyer, D. R., Skinner, C., & Davidson, J. 2011. Complex families and equality in child support<br />

obligations: A comparative policy analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 33:<br />

1804-1812.<br />

Nieuwenhuis, R. & Maldonado, L. 2018. The Triple Bind of Single-Parent Families: Resources,<br />

Employment, and Policies to Improve Well-Being. Bristol: Policy Press.<br />

Skinner, C. B., Bradshaw, J, & Davidson, J. 2007. Child Support Policy: An International<br />

Perspective. Leeds: Corporate Document Services.<br />

U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. A Roadmap to<br />

Reducing Child Poverty. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.<br />

Mia Hakovirta is a senior research fellow at the Invest Flagship, Department of Social<br />

Research, University of Turku, Finland.<br />

Laura Cuesta is an assistant professor of social work at Rutgers, The State University<br />

of New Jersey.<br />

Mari Haapanen is a doctoral student at Invest doctoral program, Department of Social<br />

Research, University of Turku.<br />

Daniel R. Meyer is a professor emeritus of social work at the University of Wisconsin–<br />


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NCSEA International Roundtable <strong>2022</strong><br />

by Chris Beresford, Former Director of Maintenance<br />

Enforcement for the Province of British Columbia,<br />

Canada<br />

In years past, NCSEA has supported international roundtables at both its<br />

annual Leadership Symposium and Policy Forum conferences. The 2018<br />

and 2019 roundtable meetings were hosted in Washington, D.C., at the<br />

Swiss and German embassies, respectively, with the strongest turnout of<br />

international participants ever. In 2021, the meeting was conducted in a<br />

virtual format with great success, following a pause in 2020 because of the<br />

COVID-19 pandemic. Well over 100 participants joined the meeting,<br />

conducted in three-hour segments over several days. The stage was set for<br />

a return in <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

For five days, representatives from 24 countries and the European Union<br />

met virtually in March <strong>2022</strong>. The number of participants, and the breadth of<br />

participating countries, reflect the importance of this annual event.<br />

The focus of the international roundtable has been country updates, at both<br />

the in-person and virtual meetings. This year the updates were bookended<br />

by two plenary sessions, starting with an update on the implementation of<br />

the 2007 Convention (on the International Recovery of Child Support and<br />

Other Forms of Family Maintenance). i The presenters also gave a prelude<br />

to the upcoming Special Commission, hosted by the Permanent Bureau,<br />

which is the Secretariat of the Hague Conference. Following presentations<br />

from Mary Helen Carlson, Tracy Morrow, Vernon Drew, and Jean-Marc<br />

Pellet, the <strong>2022</strong> Roundtable saw and heard 25 state, country, and regional<br />

updates.<br />

The country updates were delivered over the course of four three-hour<br />

sessions. From Australia through Uruguay, the impacts of COVID-19 and<br />

the challenges of managing international cases were highlighted. Many<br />

countries are now operating under the 2007 Hague Convention, and<br />

related implementation issues were discussed. From the United States,<br />

presentations from California, Colorado, Michigan, Texas, and Washington

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State familiarized the participants with service delivery structures, as well<br />

as the challenges and successes that have been experienced over the past<br />

year. Summary notes and<br />

various presentations were<br />

circulated to the participants<br />

following the sessions. The<br />

breadth and depth of the<br />

presentations cannot be<br />

So, what are the benefits to participants<br />

who attend the NCSEA International<br />

Roundtable? There are at least three.<br />

adequately summarized in this article, and it is strongly recommended that<br />

the circulated summary be obtained by those who have not yet had the<br />

benefit of reviewing it.<br />

The final plenary session was one of the most thought-provoking. Kay<br />

Cook is a professor at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.<br />

Kay is well known in the international community. Kay’s research has<br />

culminated in her book The Failure of Child Support. Well supported by a<br />

variety of sources from around the world, the research sets out the<br />

shortcomings of current processes from establishing support obligations<br />

through the collection and disbursement of support. The picture that results<br />

is not what we collectively want it to be, and challenges many of the<br />

approaches that we have taken over the past 30 years. This should be<br />

essential reading to all those responsible for making policy and procedures<br />

to serve child support customers. Kay’s book is commercially available<br />

through several sources.<br />

In addition to the informative presentations, a fifth day was set aside for<br />

bilateral meetings between countries. These meetings were a hallmark of<br />

the in-person meetings in Washington D.C., and it is a great credit to the<br />

organizers that they were both included and expanded at the virtual<br />

meetings in 2021 and this year. Discussions ranged from policy to<br />

individual case examples, often resulting in better understanding and the<br />

removal of service impediments.<br />

So, what are the benefits to participants who attend the NCSEA<br />

International Roundtable? There are at least three.<br />

First, participants obtain a picture of how services are delivered around the<br />

world. This helps at the case management level, as we have a better<br />

understanding of how programs operate and what various countries can<br />

and cannot do with respect to the establishment, variation, or modification

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of support amounts and the enforcement components. International cases<br />

can be amongst the most challenging for our case workers, not least<br />

because access to both parents is not possible due to geography,<br />

jurisdiction, and, in some cases, language. Having the opportunity to hear<br />

from our colleagues around the world, or to meet directly through bilateral<br />

meetings, breaks down barriers and provides important contact resources<br />

for us all.<br />

This knowledge also helps us as we develop our services. While it is not<br />

always the case that what works in one country will<br />

work in another, the detailed presentations and<br />

discussions help us understand the challenges and<br />

the remedies that have been put in place to<br />

address those challenges. Although we have great<br />

variation in our legal structures and social supports,<br />

the dynamics of assisting parents as they go<br />

through separation and divorce have more in<br />

common than not. In short, we can and do learn<br />

from each other for the betterment of our programs.<br />

Beyond the benefits at the case level and the<br />

program level, the NCSEA International Roundtable provides the<br />

opportunity to expand our research into what works and what doesn’t work.<br />

We all strive for research-based or data-driven solutions. Research on<br />

international cases can help us manage some of the more difficult cases<br />

efficiently and effectively. At the 2013 Heidelberg Conference, research on<br />

payment rates clearly showed that cases fell into two categories–they were<br />

either fully paid or never paid. This was apparent from the graph showing<br />

relatively few cases in the partially paid category. We now have access to<br />

more data from around the world and that means greater opportunities to<br />

conduct research.<br />

The number of participants at both the 2021 and <strong>2022</strong> International<br />

Roundtable and the quality of the presentations delivered went beyond<br />

initial expectations. Such success is due to a number of factors including<br />

the technology used. The collaborative tool, Remo, provides the means to<br />

feature speakers while also facilitating small group chats during the times<br />

set aside for such discussions. Remo is simply a better solution for a large<br />

group gathering than some of the other online collaboration solutions.<br />

Efforts are being made to see if Remo can be used again in the future.

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As with any successful event, there are several people to thank. First and<br />

foremost, all of the presenters produced excellent, informative<br />

presentations and were the collective stars of the show. It is not easy to<br />

step forward and present, especially in a language that may be your<br />

second or third.<br />

Many behind-the-scenes people ensured that the technology and logistics<br />

worked for all. Katie Kenney, NCSEA’s Senior Manager, Professional<br />

Development, managed the Remo application very skillfully while also<br />

working on the overall coordination before and during the meetings. Meg<br />

Haynes, who attended the Special Commission on behalf of NCSEA, and<br />

Dr. Thomas Meysen, NCSEA’s International Commissioner, performed<br />

their usual magic as planners and facilitators. Hannah Roots, NCSEA’s<br />

Director of International Reciprocity, oversaw the coordination of the entire<br />

program that made everything work as planned. The behind-the-scenes<br />

team worked hard to ensure that the “in front of the camera” scenes went<br />

smoothly.<br />

The <strong>2022</strong> International Roundtable also marked a bit of a change in the<br />

international child support community. Donna Hengeveld planned,<br />

managed, and hosted in her wonderful style while on the eve of her<br />

retirement from OCSE. The participants and broader national and<br />

international community wished Donna the very best in the times to come<br />

and are most pleased to know that she will remain an integral part of the<br />

NCSEA International Subcommittee and the extended NCSEA family.<br />

NCSEA’s past and ongoing support for the international child support<br />

community is greatly appreciated. Through that support, the standards<br />

have now been established by the 2021 and <strong>2022</strong> Roundtables. Further<br />

information on the next event will be shared in early 2023.<br />

Chris Beresford is the former Director of Maintenance Enforcement for the Province of<br />

British Columbia in Canada. Chris chaired the Canadian Maintenance Enforcement<br />

Director’s Committee for several years and has been an NCSEA conference presenter<br />

and a member of the NCSEA Board of Directors. He received an honorary lifetime<br />

membership in NCSEA, one of his most cherished professional awards. Chris makes<br />

his home in Victoria, British Columbia, and remains a member of the NCSEA<br />

International Subcommittee.<br />

i<br />

The full text of the Convention is available at: https://www.hcch.net/en/instruments/conventions/fulltext/?cid=131)

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National Child Support Market<br />

Research Survey Launched<br />

by Nicole Darracq, California Child Support<br />

Services<br />

In September 2021, the Digital Media Marketing Grant cycles funded by the<br />

federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) drew to a close, with<br />

mixed results across the grantees. While everyone testing digital<br />

advertising found that there are successful channels to reach potential non-<br />

IV-D case participants, the majority of the contacts did not result in<br />

increased case openings—meaning that target audiences saw or heard the<br />

ads and many clicked, but very few took the next step and opened a case.<br />

The messaging the grantees hoped was compelling was not sufficient to<br />

inspire action.<br />

So, how to inspire action? As child support caseloads decline across the<br />

nation, what are single parents doing? The average length of a marriage in<br />

the United States is 8.2 years, and divorce rates are declining but only<br />

because fewer couples marry in the first place. 1 In 2020, 25% of all children<br />

in the United States were living in single-parent families, the world’s highest<br />

rate and three times the worldwide level of 7%. 2 It is logical to surmise that<br />

at least some of these single parents could benefit from child support<br />

services, yet they do not open cases.<br />

Why aren’t more single parents opening child support cases? The NCSEA<br />

Public Relations Committee would like to answer that question. Who are<br />

these parents? Where are they? Are co-parents working out child support<br />

issues for themselves? Is that successful? If not, what do they do then—go<br />

without? Why avoid child support services when they are virtually free?<br />

Market research performed in 2017 by the California Department of Child<br />

Support Services (CA DCSS) and Ogilvy Public Relations discovered that<br />

chief among the reasons why parents don’t open cases are: lack of<br />

knowledge of the services offered; the complexity of the process; and<br />

negative perceptions of the program based on the legacy of heavy<br />

enforcement. However, those insights were garnered using current case

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participants. To reach non-IV-D customers, researchers needed more<br />

information. But how would they ask non-IV-D customers what they do and<br />

what they want if they aren’t walking through the door?<br />

Over the summer, NCSEA Public Relations Committee members Amy<br />

Lindholm of Michigan, Bruce Erickson of Minnesota, and Nicole Darracq of<br />

California led the effort to develop the National Child Support Market<br />

Research Survey, a simple, short, anonymous survey, informed by humancentered<br />

design, to learn the following:<br />

• What do you know about child support?<br />

• Where did you learn it?<br />

• Do you have a child support arrangement? With a court?<br />

Between the co-parents? How do you pay? (Venmo, check,<br />

cash, in-kind supplies, etc.)<br />

• Are you aware of the following services (A,B,C,D, etc.)?<br />

• Do you think you would use these? If not, why not? If yes,<br />

which ones?<br />

• What services not currently offered would you find helpful?<br />

Wordsmithing went back and forth for several months, with every<br />

committee member weighing in to consider the questions being asked, their<br />

tone and sensitivity, and other possible impacts. It’s important to note that<br />

the survey is designed for non-caseparticipants,<br />

and the anonymous nature of<br />

responses is deliberate to encourage honesty.<br />

With the questions decided, the Program<br />

Innovation Team at CA DCSS built the survey<br />

in both English and Spanish for distribution in a<br />

mobile-responsive online software program<br />

accessed from a simple hyperlink that can be<br />

shared nationally. Data collected can be exported by state, analyzed by<br />

various criteria, and mined for geographic trends, and will also be<br />

evaluated in the aggregate to identify themes to inform better, more<br />

effective messaging. These insights can also serve to identify and support<br />

future program changes that will make child support services more<br />

attractive. Along with these primary questions are some intended to identify<br />

respondents with experience in the system, and some to elicit demographic<br />


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A core team of states—California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts,<br />

Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, Utah, and Virginia—volunteered to conduct<br />

the survey as a unit, standardizing dissemination and promotion to<br />

establish an “apples to apples” data set. A professional research team<br />

funded through the generosity of Michigan IV-D Director Erin Frisch and<br />

her team will analyze the findings. This information will be combined with all<br />

the data from the online survey and any paper survey compilations, and<br />

analyzed again for trends and standout data points. Results will be shared<br />

and with any luck will provide much-improved direction for messaging that<br />

will resonate with parents, educate them on the benefits of child support<br />

services, and stimulate new case openings. Insights into what our potential<br />

customers actually want and need can also inform policy changes at the<br />

state and national levels.<br />

Information about the survey was shared with all state directors in late July.<br />

Efforts to disseminate the survey and collect information begin on<br />

<strong>November</strong> 1, <strong>2022</strong>, and will run through April 30, 2023, to catch the months<br />

of the year in which divorce filings are highest.<br />

States not in the core team are encouraged to participate as well. There<br />

are many ways to get a survey like this into the hands of the general public;<br />

however, distributing it to existing case participants, although easiest, is not<br />

the best route. Case participants are not “the general public,” and this<br />

survey seeks to learn about those who are not using child support services.<br />

Those who are using our services possess first-hand program knowledge<br />

and will provide responses regarding program awareness that will skew the<br />

data (although even with this audience, the results could be eye-opening).<br />

A good place to start is customers of health and human services agencies<br />

that serve economically disadvantaged customers without referral to child<br />

support, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),<br />

Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges, early child development<br />

programs, and many non-governmental anti-poverty organizations who can<br />

share the link with their customer base. Parentage or paternity<br />

establishment partners can help too by distributing the link to their<br />

customers. Services like PeachJar can provide the link to teachers and<br />

students, email and address lists can be purchased through market<br />

research companies for mass mailings of e-flyers and postcards, a vendor<br />

can assist, and local universities or community college systems may be

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able to partner with a IV-D program. Utility companies may be willing to<br />

insert a flyer with a QR code into their monthly billing statements. Banks,<br />

local businesses, and grocery stores may allow posters to be displayed.<br />

When possible, the “official sender” should be a trusted source or NCSEA<br />

rather than the child support agency itself to encourage better response<br />

rates and support more candid answers. The target audience is single<br />

parents, ages 18-45, with children under 18. States should include income<br />

level criteria appropriate for their area to target the populations possibly in<br />

need of financial assistance.<br />

A toolkit with suggestions on how to disseminate the survey, as well as<br />

promotional materials in both English and Spanish for social media and<br />

digital advertising—including postcards; social media posts formatted for<br />

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; flyers; and digital advertising artwork<br />

and copy—is available from Public Relations committee members. NCSEA<br />

encourages all states<br />

and stakeholders to<br />

participate in collecting<br />

this crucial information.<br />

In addition to those<br />

mentioned above, kudos<br />

for this potentially<br />

groundbreaking effort are due to all Public Relations committee members:<br />

NCSEA Executive Director Ann Marie Ruskin; Kimberly Curtis, Tanya<br />

Johnson, James Murray, and Crystal Peeler with the Administration for<br />

Children and Families; Trisha Thomas, Statewide Director of the Texas<br />

Department of Family and Protective Services’ Office of Community-Based<br />

Care Transition; Annette Quintero, Director of Communication and Program<br />

Innovation with the Texas Office of the Attorney General; James Fleming,<br />

North Dakota IV-D Director; Kristie Arneson, Wyoming IV-D Director;<br />

Kimberly Butzner, Program Communications and Education Manager at the<br />

Oregon Department of Justice; Christine Towles, Bureau Chief of Illinois<br />

Child Support Services, Administrative Operations; Lori Bengston of Young<br />

Williams; Alisha Griffin of Alisha Griffin Wks; and Wally McClure with<br />

Ravenwings Consulting.<br />

For more information about the National Child Support Market Research<br />

survey, how to use and promote it, and how findings will be shared, please<br />

contact Nicole Darracq or Amy Lindholm.

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Raised in Sacramento, California, Nicole Darracq graduated Phi Beta Kappa and<br />

Summa Cum Laude from the University of California at Davis. She began her career at<br />

Beringer Vineyards in California’s Napa Valley, directing marketing and sales efforts for<br />

several smaller wineries. She joined state service at the Delta Protection Commission,<br />

assisting with creating the Delta Regional Foundation, whose work resulted in Congress<br />

designating the Delta as California’s first National Heritage Area. She moved to<br />

California Child Support Services to lead the Department’s rebranding project and was<br />

appointed Assistant Director in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs in 2019.<br />

Her accomplishments include expanding digital outreach, implementing behavioral<br />

science, extending social media services to local child support agencies statewide, and<br />

introducing website and social media metrics to inform strategic planning.<br />

1<br />

Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2016 (census.gov)<br />

2<br />

U.S. has world's highest rate of children living in single-parent households | Pew Research Center

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Creating Safe Access to Child<br />

Support—You Don’t Have to Do It on<br />

Your Own<br />

by Samantha Hinchey, Arizona Coalition to End<br />

Sexual and Domestic Violence<br />

Making connections and building relationships are the<br />

backbone of the work being done to build and improve safety and services<br />

for domestic violence survivors. Through these relationships come change,<br />

open communication, and a willingness to learn from each other. This is<br />

what our experience has been in Arizona between the Department of Child<br />

Support Services (DCSS) and the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and<br />

Domestic Violence (ACESDV).<br />

When tragedy happens, there is usually a recognition of a system failure or<br />

gap, but over time the concern fades away. In Arizona, a domestic violence<br />

tragedy involving a child support customer served as the impetus for DCSS<br />

to reach out to ACESDV. Instead of just a one-time request for information,<br />

however, that initial contact formed the foundation of what has evolved over<br />

years into a genuine partnership. In response to the tragedy, DCSS rallied<br />

and asked ACESDV to assist in educating DCSS employees about<br />

domestic violence and to provide support to the team while they were<br />

dealing with the incident, including support to several DCSS staff who were<br />

directly involved.<br />

A few years later DCSS received the Procedural Justice Alternatives to<br />

Contempt (PJAC) grant. One of the grant requirements was to review the<br />

process for child support cases with a family violence indicator. In a<br />

wonderful twist of fate, on a flight home from Washington, D.C., the DCSS<br />

Project Manager, Jonell Sullivan, received the name of Arizona’s Domestic<br />

Violence Response Team (DVRT) Manager, Doreen Nicholas. One call<br />

and the initial meeting was set! A true partnership was born from that<br />

recommendation because of the two agencies’ mutual desire to educate

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advocates about child support and to help child support professionals<br />

recognize, respond, and refer individuals affected by domestic violence.<br />

Doreen brought in her team<br />

and they went to work. While<br />

government agencies do not<br />

typically enjoy a reputation for<br />

welcoming system changes,<br />

Doreen and her team found<br />

that almost everyone with<br />

whom they came into contact at DCSS wanted to learn about domestic<br />

violence, how it impacted their work, and how they could help survivors<br />

safely attain financial freedom. That initial energy that we encountered at<br />

DCSS has never faded.<br />

ACESDV collaborated with the DCSS team to adopt best practices. One<br />

important focus area was—and still is—building relationships based on<br />

transparency and trust. We met about training being developed for all<br />

employees, shared opinions and perspectives without judgment or fear of<br />

saying the wrong thing, and explained acronyms so we were not drowning<br />

in “alphabet soup” and trying to figure out what the other agency was<br />

talking about.<br />

DCSS developed a scope of work detailing what they needed from<br />

ACESDV, and we signed a contract to provide technical assistance and<br />

training. Our agreement also provided that DCSS would deliver basic child<br />

support training to the partners we support who work with survivors. As we<br />

participated in the development of DCSS’s training, it became apparent that<br />

hearing survivors’ voices was vital to case managers’ education. Hearing<br />

from survivors really impacted the DCSS case managers, heightening their<br />

awareness that anyone can be a domestic violence survivor. As a result,<br />

DCSS implemented changes to ensure case managers screen each<br />

customer in their caseloads for domestic violence.<br />

In addition to cross training, DCSS invited ACESDV to help develop<br />

protocol and procedures. While DCSS learned from ACESDV how to help<br />

survivors safely access child support services, DCSS also taught Arizona’s<br />

domestic violence advocates about child support services and how DCSS<br />

could help survivors. For example, recognizing that office visits might be

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too dangerous, the DCSS team has visited local domestic violence shelters<br />

to help survivors complete child support forms. Our partnership is so strong<br />

that when we need assistance for<br />

a survivor, we have a direct DCSS<br />

contact who can reach out to the<br />

survivor and provide IV-D services.<br />

The DVRT was asked to present<br />

on different topics four times per<br />

year during the life of the PJAC<br />

Hearing from survivors really impacted<br />

the DCSS case managers, heightening<br />

their awareness that anyone can be a<br />

domestic violence survivor.<br />

grant ranging from the Dynamics of Domestic Violence to Technology<br />

Misuse, to the Intersection of Pets and Domestic Violence. Throughout this<br />

time, we focused on safety and the issues and concerns a case manager<br />

could easily hear about when completing a family violence safety<br />

questionnaire with a parent.<br />

ACESDV partnered with DCSS to develop the safety questionnaire, and<br />

then collaboratively delivered training. Once the DCSS team received their<br />

initial domestic violence training, ACESDV went with DCSS to each office<br />

to walk case managers through the safety questionnaire. By doing this with<br />

DCSS, ACESDV was able to answer questions from the DCSS team and<br />

help alleviate case managers’ apprehension that they did not have the<br />

skills needed to do this work. We explained that DCSS case managers<br />

would not be advocates, but would focus on recognizing, responding, and<br />

referring when working with domestic violence survivors. The safety<br />

questionnaire has been in place for some time now and is used by all<br />

DCSS case managers working with someone seeking child support.<br />

ACESDV also assists DCSS by providing an up-to-date link to supportive<br />

services for those who may need it in a specific county or city. Prior to the<br />

contract with ACESDV, DCSS case managers did not have a<br />

comprehensive resource guide for domestic violence services and instead<br />

relied upon word-of-mouth referrals. Case managers now have at their<br />

fingertips direct information for shelter and other domestic violence<br />

services, organized by geographical area.<br />

Having an effective system of response, collaboration, and improved<br />

services for parents is the result of the work we have done with DCSS over

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the last six years. Our work is constantly evolving, and we continue to<br />

revise and improve our response to domestic violence.<br />

If you would like more information on how to connect with your local<br />

coalition to end sexual and domestic violence, please contact Samantha<br />

Hinchey at samantha@acesdv.org.<br />

Samantha Hinchey is Manager of Domestic Violence Initiatives at the Arizona Coalition<br />

to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. She joined the organization as an intern in 2017<br />

while attending Arizona State University, where she obtained a bachelor's degree in<br />

nonprofit leadership and management. She received her master’s degree in victim<br />

service management from Sam Houston State University in Texas. Samantha has been<br />

working with the Department of Child Support Services providing technical assistance<br />

and training for more than five years. She has developed specific trainings on topics<br />

such as reproductive coercion, animal cruelty, technology misuse, the roots of violence,<br />

perpetrator treatment in Arizona, and male survivors. Samantha is particularly interested<br />

in the intersection of pets and domestic violence. She has two rescue animals and loves<br />

all things Disney. She has one daughter who married recently and left the nest.

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NCSEA U at the Policy Forum<br />

The NCSEA U program is the premier educational<br />

offering for leaders and emerging leaders in child<br />

support and has been offered to qualifying applicants<br />

since 2014. Traditionally offered in conjunction with<br />

the Annual August Leadership Symposium, each<br />

NCSEA U participant is provided the opportunity to build key knowledge<br />

and skills essential for child support leaders.<br />

In February 2023, NCSEA U is offering a new course just before the Policy<br />

Forum, focused on effective advocacy. It is not a course on lobbying, but<br />

rather focuses on policy development and effective outreach to internal and<br />

external stakeholders, and also touches on the federal legislative process.<br />

Included in NCSEA U at Policy Forum are a pre-conference Get<br />

Acquainted webinar, four on-site sessions on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, a<br />

visit to Congress on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, and one post-event<br />

webinar. Read the full curriculum here.<br />

NCSEA U Instructors, Margot Bean and Lisa Skenandore<br />

Covered topics will include the attributes of successful advocacy, making<br />

and implementing an advocacy plan for both internal and external<br />

stakeholders, advocacy within the context of the legislative process and<br />

lawmakers, effective message delivery methods, and a review of NCSEA’s<br />

policy positions. Participants will experience a visit to the Hill that will focus<br />

on the legislative process and provide an overview of how NCSEA interests<br />

are messaged to stakeholders.

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The course concludes with a post-Policy Forum webinar that wraps up and<br />

reinforces the series content. Participants will discuss and provide<br />

feedback on what was learned during the course and share status of their<br />

action plans and goals. Not only will participants have gained a great<br />

foundation on effective advocacy, but they will also have built a network of<br />

peers with similar interests. This creates an opportunity for lasting<br />

relationships that can assist leaders with future policy and advocacy efforts.<br />

We look forward to this inaugural NCSEA U offering, and hope you join us!<br />

Applications are available at 2023 NCSEA U at Policy Forum.<br />

Meet Our Instructors<br />

Margot Bean is a Managing Director in Deloitte Consulting’s Human Services<br />

Transformation Practice, focusing on helping child support programs improve their<br />

outcomes by providing effective and efficient data driven customer-focused services.<br />

She helps child support programs develop human centered case management systems<br />

that streamline business processes, effectively analyze their caseloads, and allow case<br />

managers to execute case strategies based on customer needs.<br />

Margot’s wide variety of government experience prior to joining Deloitte provides her<br />

with deep understanding and insight: Commissioner of the federal Office of Child<br />

Support Enforcement, IV-D Director of the New York State Child Support program, IV-D<br />

Director of the Guam Child Support Program, and a child support attorney.<br />

A current member of the NCSEA Board of Directors, Margot co-chairs the Policy Forum<br />

Vendor Relations Committees and serves on the Policy and Government Relations<br />

Committee. An NCSEA Past President and Honorary Life Member, Margot is also a<br />

Past President and Honorary Board Member of the Eastern Regional Interstate Child<br />

Support Association (ERICSA) and serves as an advisor to the Western Interstate Child<br />

Support Enforcement Council (WICSEC).<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 spent twenty-five years with<br />

her tribe, the Oneida Nation, and most notably as the Child Support IV-D Director. She<br />

began her career in child support when her tribe received its start-up grant in 2005.<br />

During this tenure she began advocating for tribal child support and continues to do so<br />

today. Along with child support she has also led other human service programming in<br />

the areas of child welfare, domestic violence, prevention and foster care.<br />

She is an NCSEA Past President and Honorary Life Member, and is also a Past<br />

President of the National Tribal Child Support Association and National Association of<br />

Tribal Child Support Directors. Lisa is currently President-Elect of the Eastern Regional<br />

Interstate Child Support Association (ERICSA) and serves as an advisor to the Western<br />

Intergovernmental Child Support Engagement Council (WICSEC).

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<br />

NCSEA’s other educational initiatives and strategies.<br />

The program is taught by nationally recognized child<br />

support leaders, offering a variety of informative and<br />

strategic topics.<br />

NCSEA is pleased to announce that NCSEA U is expanding in 2023 with NCSEA U @<br />

Policy Forum. The curriculum is focused on policy and advocacy, policy development,<br />

outreach to stakeholders, and a little about the federal legislative process.<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<br />

for you.<br />

Meet Our NCSEA U Alumni<br />

Jen McFaggan - Class of <strong>2022</strong><br />

Lac Courte Oreilles Child Support Program<br />

Child Support Caseworker/Financials<br />

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

define leadership?<br />

I define leadership as someone who is understanding and knowledgeable, and can help others succeed in<br />

their personal and professional lives and careers.<br />

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

I do, there were some tips and topics that I hadn't thought of, and NCSEA U helped with being able to use<br />

those throughout my workday.<br />

Most valuable aspect of the NCSEA U experience?<br />

Networking, being able to meet so many others that share the same goal in different roles.<br />

What is a key leadership attribute that you appreciate in others?<br />

I would say the best is understanding and empathy.

Melissa Robinson - Class of <strong>2022</strong><br />

North Dakota DHS - CS<br />

Administrator, Intake and Locate Units<br />

What is a key leadership attribute that you appreciate in others? Why?<br />

Integrity because it encompasses honesty, character, morality, respectability, and taking full responsibility<br />

for one's own actions, which makes it easier to buy-in to the organization's vision and leader's goals to work<br />

toward that vision.<br />

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

To apply concepts learned at NCSEU to enhance my leadership skills. I find myself referring to the training<br />

materials because there were so many helpful ideas taught.<br />

Do you have a favorite quote that you refer to periodically?<br />

Yes, and it's by Erin Frisch. "A minute of thinking is more important than an hour of unplanned talking."<br />

Kirsten Thompson - Class of <strong>2022</strong><br />

Michigan Child Support<br />

Training and Application Support Services Manager<br />

What is the most valuable aspect of the NCSEA U experience?<br />

The advice from the instructors on how to activate people to achieve goals. We discussed engagement<br />

techniques at many levels, and received some great advice on managing up.<br />

What would you like others to know about NCSEA U?<br />

It is a great opportunity to meet other child support professionals and to take some deliberative thinking time<br />

while you are away from the office. You have goals, and this program gives you a blueprint to make them<br />

happen!<br />

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

leadership book? Why?<br />

One of my favorites is Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip and Dan Heath. First<br />

of all, it's an enjoyable read. And it provides some practical ways to address the emotional side of change.<br />

After all, leaders work with people, and you need to understand the whole person and their motivations.<br />

Why would you recommend NCSEA U to others?<br />

It was so nice to get to know some other professionals at a deeper level, and have some additional time to<br />

breathe and digest the intense learning from the Leadership Symposium together.

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NCSEA’S <strong>2022</strong> Leadership Symposium<br />

“Level-Up: Transforming Tomorrow’s Leaders”<br />

by Phyllis Nance, Linda Rhyne-McKinley, and Carla West<br />

NCSEA <strong>2022</strong> Leadership Symposium Co-Chairs<br />

NCSEA’s Leadership Symposium is the premiere event for child support<br />

professionals to gain a national perspective on the IV-D program and hone<br />

leadership skills. The symposium brings together the top leaders and rising<br />

stars from across the nation to share ideas, explore new perspectives, and<br />

discover new ways to promote and deliver child support services. This<br />

year’s event was held at The Westin Charlotte in historic downtown<br />

Charlotte, North Carolina and rose to the challenge of leveling up our skills<br />

to transform tomorrow’s leaders.<br />

This year’s symposium was kicked off by Team Synergy, where over 580<br />

attendees were able to meet new colleagues while catching up with old

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friends, get together to discuss relevant child support topics, and show off<br />

their talents and share their positive energy on the first ever NCSEA graffiti<br />

board.<br />

The symposium kicked off with a challenge to take every opportunity to<br />

build our leadership skills and each plenary, workshop,<br />

and learning lab worked together to help us level up<br />

and transform.<br />

We would like to thank the 88 impactful presenters, the<br />

18 amazing volunteers, the 581 attendees, the 16<br />

Corporate Partners, and the 30 Sponsors who made<br />

this symposium a success.<br />

The NCSEA Leadership Symposium would not be<br />

possible without the hard work and planning of the Leadership Symposium<br />

Planning Committee. Our sincere thanks to this team for their efforts to<br />

make this the best event possible.<br />

Phyllis Nance, Linda Rhyne-McKinley, and Carla West, Co-chairs<br />

Rieda Abrams-Miller<br />

Sandra Comer<br />

Jennifer Crudo Allen<br />

Ashley Dexter, Track Chair<br />

Natalie Dillon<br />

Jamie Doeseckle<br />

Robbie Endris<br />

Tanya Glenn<br />

Alisha Griffin<br />

Kara Hester<br />

Tanesha Howard<br />

John Hurst<br />

Daniel King<br />

Maureen Leif<br />

Tim Lightner<br />

Wally McClure, Track Chair<br />

Janice McDaniel<br />

Ethan McKinney, Track Chair<br />

Kelly Micka<br />

Jamie Murray<br />

Diane Potts, Track Chair<br />

Julie Prado, Track Chair<br />

Amy Rebideaux<br />

Jackie Scharping, Track Chair<br />

Trish Skophammer<br />

Kenneth Sleets<br />

Jeremy Smith<br />

Sophia Ticer<br />

Rob Velcoff

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We look forward to seeing you at next year’s Leadership Symposium<br />

August 6-9, 2023<br />

Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim, CA<br />

_________________________________________<br />

Phyllis Nance has 38 years of public service including 30 years in the child support<br />

program. She is currently the Director for the Alameda County Department of Child<br />

Support Services. She came to Alameda County in 2016 with 24 years of experience in<br />

the Kern County Department of Child Support Services, eight of which she served as<br />

the Director. Phyllis has an extensive knowledge of the child support program and broad<br />

leadership experience having served in multiple leadership roles.<br />

Linda Rhyne-McKinley has over 22 years in child support and is currently the Q&T<br />

Supervisor for Mecklenburg County Child Support Services, responsible for the training<br />

and professional development of 130+ staff members. Linda is currently on the NCSEA<br />

Board of Directors and has served as NCSEA U Co-chair.<br />

Carla West is Senior Director for Human Services and IV-D Director for the North<br />

Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. She is charged with integrating<br />

and improving access to person-centered services, helping individuals and families in<br />

North Carolina achieve self-sufficiency and improved well-being. Carla serves on the<br />

board of the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA).

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