January 2023 CSQ

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Table of Contents<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Executive Director’s Message……………………………………………3<br />

Community Corner: Thank you, dear friend. You will be missed……..5<br />

Taking a New Look at Appropriate Medicaid Referrals to Child<br />

Support…………………………………………………………………….10<br />

Self-Assessments and Data Reliability Audits…….…………………..15<br />

Intergovernmental Hot Topics Part 2…………………………………...21<br />

Teleworking Tips…………………………………………………………..27<br />

Policy Forum Preview…......................................................................32<br />

NCSEA U Alumni Spotlight……………………………………………….36

Ann Marie Ruskin<br />

NCSEA Executive Director<br />

In September of 2010, I received an email in response to a job application I<br />

submitted. It was from the Executive Director of the National Child Support<br />

Enforcement Association, and she wanted to interview me for an open<br />

position. I had never heard of the National Child Support Enforcement<br />

Association, and my only knowledge of child support was supporting a<br />

good friend trying to collect ordered child support from an absent father and<br />

ex-husband. But, that day I started on a journey that has brought me not<br />

only tremendous professional satisfaction, but wonderful friends and<br />

colleagues and a true appreciation for the child support community, and the<br />

critically important work they do.<br />

One of the first things I learned after joining NCSEA is that the IV-D<br />

program is . . . complicated! Just when I thought I understood the program<br />

administration or process, I discovered a new complexity. To this day, I am<br />

constantly learning about the program and trying to understand its many<br />

details and nuances.<br />

Directing NCSEA’s professional development programs from 2010 to 2015,<br />

I worked with knowledgeable, dedicated volunteers and proudly introduced<br />

NCSEA U and Leadership Symposium to the child support community.<br />

With a background in government relations, I was eager to work with the<br />

Policy & Government Relations committee and subcommittees, and<br />

enjoyed the opportunity to promote legislation to improve the IV-D program<br />

and make positive changes to help families.<br />

From February 2016 to February 2018, I worked on two other MCI USA<br />

(our association management company) clients. While the work brought me<br />

satisfaction and it was nice meeting and working with new people,<br />

something was missing. The something was the organizations’ mission, a<br />

commitment to the greater good. And so, when the opportunity came to

eturn to NCSEA, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I missed the people, I<br />

missed the work, and most of all I missed NCSEA’s mission impacting<br />

policy and supporting children and families. I felt I was “home” again.<br />

Since February 2018, I have had the privilege to lead NCSEA, working with<br />

an incredible staff including Katie, Gillyn, Kate, LaTrese, Sierra, and<br />

Amalia, as well as wonderful officers, board members, and committee<br />

leads and members. It’s been an adventure for sure—breaking attendance<br />

records for both the Policy Forum and the Leadership Symposium,<br />

establishing strong financial performance, increased engagement on<br />

Capitol Hill with policy-makers, and managing the topsy-turvy world of the<br />

pandemic! We were faced with new challenges, and I feel we rose to the<br />

occasion each time. And I knew I always had the support and backing of<br />

the NCSEA leadership.<br />

So, as I approach retirement, I want to say thank you . . . to the NCSEA<br />

officers, board members, committee chairs, and committee members (all<br />

past and present), for supporting me and encouraging me, for lots of laughs<br />

and good times. NCSEA will continue to flourish because volunteers are<br />

the heart of the organization—the dedication of its members and their<br />

passion for helping children and families is amazing! I’m constantly in awe<br />

of you who work tirelessly to lift children out of poverty, and improve the<br />

lives of children and families. It is an honor to refer to you all as friends and<br />

colleagues.<br />

I look forward to retirement and spending quality time with family and<br />

friends. But I will miss all of you, as well as the work we do. Good luck and<br />

best wishes for success to each and every one of you as you continue to<br />

advance the important mission of NCSEA well into the future!<br />

With warm wishes,

Ann Marie with two of her four treasured grandchildren—Maximus and Blair<br />

Thank you, dear friend. You will be missed<br />

by Jim Fleming, NCSEA President<br />

Most of us have experienced that dreaded moment when a colleague you<br />

really like announces her retirement. You simultaneously want to shout “no”<br />

and “hurray for you!” You will badly miss the retiree, yet you really can’t<br />

fault someone who says “I want to spend more time golfing and playing<br />

with my grandchildren.” All you can do is face the reality of “all good things<br />

must come to an end.”<br />

NCSEA Executive Director Ann Marie Ruskin will be retiring at the end of<br />

February <strong>2023</strong>. No matter how many months of advance notice she gives<br />

us, there is still no filling her shoes.<br />

Ann Marie started with NCSEA in September 2010 directing professional<br />

development and education. In her words, “Since then, I have had the<br />

privilege of working with the most passionate, dedicated group of people<br />

that comprise NCSEA.” After a brief hiatus from 2016–18, the NCSEA<br />

Board of Directors invited Ann Marie to rejoin NCSEA as Executive Director<br />

and we are very glad she said “yes.”<br />

Highlights of Ann Marie’s tenure include our<br />

robust Corporate Partner program and<br />

implementation of free webinars as a benefit of<br />

NCSEA membership. NCSEA is a thriving<br />

organization today in no small part due to the<br />

talent, commitment, and stewardship of Ann Marie<br />

Ruskin. Thank you so much, Ann Marie—your<br />

Ann Marie & husband, Glenn

husband, three children, and four grandchildren will be very lucky to enjoy<br />

more of your time. You will be missed!<br />

Here is a collection of some parting words from some of Ann Marie’s<br />

colleagues during her service as NCSEA Executive Director:<br />

• Tanguler Gray, NCSEA President 2019–2020: “I hate so much to see<br />

her go. I want her to know how much I respect and appreciate all she’s<br />

done for NCSEA, especially during my presidency when she said I was<br />

acting like a madwoman trying to educate people about our membership<br />

benefits. She’s always been in the right place at the right time to capture<br />

that perfect moment. Thank you and happy retirement!”<br />

• Katie Kenney, NCSEA Senior Manager for Professional Development:<br />

“Without exaggeration, Ann Marie is the most gracious person under<br />

whose direction I’ve ever had the pleasure of working. She has an<br />

innate ability to identify people’s strengths and empower them to act<br />

independently and confidently. I am so grateful for the opportunity to<br />

have worked with her and hope to continue the legacy of her dedication<br />

to NCSEA. She’s also an amazing resource for a mean cocktail recipe.”<br />

• Lori Bengston, NCSEA President 2020–2021: “I always valued Ann<br />

Marie as the NCSEA Executive Director, but it was not until I was<br />

NCSEA President that I fully realized the dedication she has to our<br />

organization. Ann Marie juggles so many priorities and always made<br />

sure I was ready for whatever was next as NCSEA President. I truly do<br />

not know what I would have done without her organization skills and<br />

ability to handle so many competing demands. I will always remember<br />

her as an exceptional leader and a true friend, and I wish her a long and<br />

happy retirement!”<br />

• Lisa Skenandore, NCSEA President 2019–2020: “My first experience<br />

with NCSEA was as an ex officio board member in my role as NTCSA<br />

president. Ann Marie consistently went out of her way to welcome me<br />

and always had a warm hug in greeting. I always felt comfortable in her<br />

presence. This warmth and hospitality has continued to this day. I will<br />

always be grateful for Ann Marie's kind and welcoming presence and<br />

most of all friendship. All the best.”

• Gillyn Croog, formerly NCSEA Director for Professional Development:<br />

“When I first joined NCSEA, Ann Marie told me, ‘You will get to work<br />

with the best people. They are good people, trying to do great things for<br />

kids. I really have missed them.’ If you are not aware, Ann Marie<br />

stepped away from NCSEA for a few years and worked on other<br />

projects. When the Executive Director’s job opened, the Board asked<br />

her to return. NCSEA needed seasoned leadership—someone familiar<br />

with the organization, fiercely protective of the mission, able to make<br />

hard decisions, and focused on NCSEA’s best interests—and she was<br />

the perfect partner, who happily reengaged whole heartedly. She had<br />

missed the mission and most of all the people. She worked tirelessly for<br />

the good of NCSEA and enjoyed every minute; I was lucky to have been<br />

there with her for part of her journey. She is a rare gem in every sense<br />

of the word. Looking back, when she said you get to work with the best<br />

people, she wasn’t talking about herself, but she absolutely is the best of<br />

the best. While she is off enjoying retirement—time with her kids,<br />

grandkids, and Glenn—she will miss you. You NCSEA people have a<br />

With daughter Kara and sons Bryan and Kyle<br />

habit of making a lasting impression on people. I know that from<br />

experience. But I want to let you in on a little secret: you will miss her<br />

more. Trust me, I know that from experience.”<br />

• Sharon Pizzuti, NCSEA Treasurer: “Ann Marie has always embraced<br />

NCSEA with a motivating compassion. She has a clear mission to see<br />

people flourishing in their fullness. Her empathy and commitment drive<br />

the NCSEA community to aim higher for the good of others. She always<br />

set her sights on noble goals and was committed to not give up. She has<br />

inspired me and others to step outside of comfort zones and be changed

y the experience and I am grateful. Congratulations to you, Ann Marie,<br />

and Godspeed in your retirement journey!”<br />

• Craig Burshem, NCSEA President 2018–2019: “I had the distinct honor<br />

of working closely with Ann Marie when I was NCSEA president. She<br />

was unfailingly kind, professional, helpful, and unflappable, and she<br />

made my job so much easier. Ann Marie is one of those people<br />

everyone turns to for advice and answers, and her vast experience has<br />

been invaluable in keeping NCSEA running smoothly for many years.<br />

She somehow always knows what to do even when no one else does!<br />

They say no one is irreplaceable, but Ann Marie is certainly the<br />

exception to that rule. NCSEA and the whole child support community<br />

are better for having had Ann Marie as their advocate and support. Her<br />

work over the years has undoubtedly improved the lives of countless<br />

families. I am grateful to call her my colleague and even more grateful to<br />

call her my friend. Wishing Ann Marie many happy years of retirement.<br />

She will be sorely missed!”<br />

• Ashley Dexter, NCSEA Secretary: “Ann Marie is so genuinely<br />

passionate about NCSEA, professional development, and partnerships. I<br />

served as the Leadership Symposium planning committee co-chair for 3<br />

years and Ann Marie always kept the true purpose of the Leadership<br />

Symposium—Professional Development and Leadership—at the<br />

forefront of planning committee activities. Ann Marie graciously values<br />

input and feedback and has elevated the value of the corporate partner<br />

program each and every year for partners and NCSEA. Her commitment<br />

to NCSEA, its mission, and its members is amazing. Most of all, Ann<br />

Marie always has a smile and hug even when she is running around like<br />

crazy at conferences. She will be sorely missed, but I wish her a very<br />

happy retirement and lots of birdies!”<br />

• Erin Frisch, NCSEA President-Elect: “Being executive director of an<br />

organization like NCSEA takes adept organizational skills, being open<br />

and welcoming to a diverse group of people, and in many ways leading<br />

from behind the scenes. Ann Marie has done all this and more with<br />

incredible grace and an unwavering positive attitude. We have come to<br />

expect the best through her leadership, and these will be hard shoes to<br />

fill! Thank you, Ann Marie, for adopting our cause as your own and

ecoming a dear friend in the process. Best wishes for many happy<br />

days ahead!”<br />

• Diane Potts, NCSEA President 2017–2018: “I was so happy when Ann<br />

Marie decided to come back to NCSEA in 2018. She served for more<br />

than four years as our Executive Director and led NCSEA to success<br />

during that time in many ways that included bringing in amazingly<br />

talented folks like Gillyn and Katie. Ann Marie, you will be missed by all<br />

of us!”<br />

With granddaughter Reagan and the newest family member, Baby Lincoln<br />

The words of my fellow officers, former NCSEA presidents, and our past<br />

and present team members capture so well what has made Ann Marie a<br />

tremendous Executive Director. Through a decade on the NCSEA board<br />

and nearly six years on the Executive Committee, I have had countless<br />

honest and candid conversations with Ann Marie on NCSEA matters, and it<br />

has always been reassuring to know that someone so skilled and kind with<br />

such good instincts has been at the helm of our organization. Thank you<br />

and farewell!

Taking a New Look at Appropriate<br />

Medicaid Referrals to Child Support<br />

by Jim Fleming, North Dakota Child Support<br />

Services<br />

In July 2022, guidance was issued by the federal Administration for<br />

Children and Families (ACF) reiterating that federal law requires referrals<br />

from the Foster Care program to Child Support only “where appropriate.” i<br />

This flexibility is not new. It was previously acknowledged by ACF at least<br />

as early as September 6, 2007. ii<br />

The renewed guidance and support from ACF for selective referrals has<br />

triggered a new round of discussion around the country on how the Child<br />

Support and Foster Care programs can better cooperate to support<br />

reunification efforts of families with children in Foster Care and avoid<br />

referrals of unproductive cases.<br />

This article suggests comparable attention should be spent analyzing<br />

appropriate referrals from the Medicaid program to Child Support.<br />

Since at least 2008, which is nearly as long as the Foster Care guidance<br />

has been in place, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has<br />

similarly indicated that referrals from the Medicaid program to Child<br />

Support are not required in all cases:<br />

Title XIX of the Act, and its implementing regulations or guidance, do<br />

not require State Medicaid agencies to refer Medicaid applicants or<br />

recipients to State IV-D agencies. Therefore, a State Medicaid<br />

agency may determine which cases are appropriate to refer to State<br />

IV-D agencies. State IV-D and Medicaid agencies should coordinate<br />

to determine criteria for referring appropriate cases and exchanging<br />

information by the most efficient and cost-effective means available<br />

(using manual or automated systems). OCSE IM-08-03 (April 22,<br />

2008). iii

This flexibility was enhanced in 2016 when federal regulations were<br />

changed to authorize child support agencies to close a case that is opened<br />

as the result of an inappropriate referral. iv<br />

One could suggest, perhaps only somewhat<br />

sarcastically, that medical support joins<br />

distribution and intergovernmental as a<br />

“special” area of thankless expertise<br />

frequently assigned to the newest policy<br />

person in a child support agency. All three<br />

topics can be very complicated and take a<br />

long time (if ever) to master.<br />

Analysis of “appropriate” Medicaid referrals should begin at the end—what<br />

is the desired outcome in the case? In other words, what does Medicaid<br />

want to accomplish by referring the case to Child Support?<br />

As amended in late 2016, federal regulations accept both public coverage<br />

and private insurance as acceptable forms of medical support. v So, if a<br />

state is content with the child being covered by Medicaid without seeking<br />

replacement private coverage or cost recovery through a cash medical<br />

support obligation that is often uncollectible, why bother with a referral?<br />

The answer may also depend on whether paternity has been established<br />

for the child.<br />

It is worth noting that most health care exchanges and Medicaid<br />

applications do not do an adequate job collecting information about<br />

noncustodial parents from custodial parents who are seeking health care<br />

coverage. To this author, the implied message is that it is not a priority for<br />

the child support program to establish and enforce medical support in<br />

Medicaid cases.<br />

Federal regulations suggest an opt-out approach to Medicaid referrals<br />

regarding establishment and enforcement of child support: the child support<br />

agency must provide all IV-D services “unless the individual notifies the<br />

State that only IV-D services related to securing medical support are<br />

wanted.” vi The requirement of an “opt out” for child support services in<br />

Medicaid cases warrants development of effective pre-referral processes<br />

where the Medicaid agency gives the custodial parent an informed<br />

opportunity to provide any needed information about the noncustodial<br />

parent and express a preference regarding receipt of child support

services. If the custodial parent is not cooperative, or is not interested in<br />

receiving child support services, a Medicaid-only referral to Child Support<br />

can be avoided.<br />

Alternatively, the child support agency could develop intake procedures<br />

where supplemental information is automatically requested from a custodial<br />

parent after a<br />

Medicaid referral prior<br />

to setting up a child<br />

support case, and the<br />

case is closed as an<br />

inappropriate referral if<br />

the needed response<br />

or information is not<br />

forthcoming within a<br />

predefined period of<br />

In preparing for this article, the author asked a<br />

handful of state directors about their current<br />

Medicaid referral practices. The responses varied<br />

widely from referring all Medicaid-only cases to<br />

not referring any Medicaid cases regardless of<br />

whether the custodial parent opted out of child<br />

support services.<br />

time. Either approach would successfully limit Medicaid referrals to cases<br />

where beneficial child support and medical support services can be<br />

provided to a cooperative custodial parent.<br />

In preparing for this article, the author asked a handful of state directors<br />

about their current Medicaid referral practices. The responses varied widely<br />

from referring all Medicaid-only cases to not referring any Medicaid cases<br />

regardless of whether the custodial parent opted out of child support<br />

services.<br />

A complicating factor is a federal regulation providing that a Medicaid<br />

recipient cannot be required to provide an application or other request for<br />

services in order to obtain child support services. vii In a state where<br />

Medicaid cases are not referred and the custodial parent needs to apply for<br />

child support services, one could wonder whether this regulation is being<br />

honored. The regulation may be outdated.<br />

Why spend time analyzing Medicaid referrals? In the author’s state for<br />

example, which still has broad referral policies for both Foster Care and<br />

Medicaid cases, there are roughly three times as many open Medicaid-only<br />

cases as Foster Care cases. The same proportion would apply to the<br />

Former Assistance caseload. The potential efficiencies through improved<br />

Medicaid referral processes are significant and surpass the similar<br />

efficiencies that could be achieved through improved Foster Care referral<br />

processes (which the author strongly supports as well).

This article is not meant to suggest the fewer Medicaid referrals, the better.<br />

To the contrary, Medicaid is a means-tested program. If a family is<br />

receiving Medicaid but is not yet eligible for benefits under other programs<br />

such as TANF, a Medicaid referral can be a key gateway to child support<br />

services that can help provide funds to families and promote selfsufficiency.<br />

The time between the original application for Medicaid and the<br />

opening of a child support case is critical to screen appropriate cases,<br />

including domestic violence screening, and gather the information needed<br />

for the case to move forward.<br />

This article is limited to the Medicaid referral<br />

process and does not delve into the<br />

complexities of establishing and enforcing<br />

medical support, especially amid a decline<br />

in the availability of employer-provided<br />

coverage. In the time since federal medical<br />

support regulations were significantly<br />

changed in 2008, medical support policy<br />

development has followed a tortured path of enactment of the Affordable<br />

Care Act, implementation of the health care exchanges, delayed<br />

compliance with the 2008 mandates, and ultimately the expansion of<br />

“health care coverage” in 2016 to include public coverage. viii<br />

Ironically, efforts to improve the quality of Medicaid referrals will lead only<br />

to further reduction of the child support caseload in many states. As states<br />

work to develop “smarter” referral practices, it would therefore seem<br />

important to communicate with internal and external stakeholders that a<br />

reduction in total caseload can be expected and is not necessarily a<br />

negative outcome.<br />

Conclusion<br />

OCSE IM-14-01 was issued before states were authorized to close<br />

inappropriate referrals, but otherwise provides helpful guidance to states on<br />

making informed decisions about Medicaid referrals: “[w]hile establishing or<br />

updating Medicaid referral policies, States should consider cost<br />

effectiveness, safety, and the desired child support outcomes for the<br />

family.” The IM lists the negative impacts of inappropriate referrals and<br />

offers four strategies (not including case closure) to collaborate with the<br />

Medicaid agency.

Flexibility to avoid inappropriate referrals, whether from Foster Care or<br />

Medicaid, is a great opportunity for child support agencies to conserve<br />

scarce resources and improve the quality and effectiveness of referrals.<br />

Not to mention improvement in performance for which we all strive.<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 2022 recipient of the American Payroll<br />

Association’s Government Partner Award. He has been an assistant attorney general<br />

for North Dakota for 28 years, following a clerkship with the North Dakota Supreme<br />

Court. Jim and his wife Terri are the proud parents of four daughters and were recently<br />

blessed with a perfect granddaughter.<br />

i<br />

OCSE DCL-22-06 (July 29, 2022). The DCL attached a joint letter from the Children’s Bureau<br />

and Office of Child Support Enforcement announcing changes to the Child Welfare Policy<br />

Manual.<br />

ii<br />

ACF IM-07-06 (September 6, 2007). See also ACF IM-12-06 (August 1, 2012).<br />

iii<br />

See also OCSE DCL-00-122 (December 22, 2000) (attaching a December 19, 2000, letter<br />

from the HHS Health Care Finance Agency to state Medicaid directors).<br />

iv<br />

45 CFR § 303.11(b)(20).<br />

v<br />

45 CFR § 303.31(a).<br />

vi<br />

45 CFR § 302.33(a)(5).<br />

vii<br />

45 CFR § 302.33(a)(2).<br />

viii<br />

For a thorough analysis of the choices and considerations in pursing medical support, see<br />

MEDICAL SUPPORT 2.0: Re-Positioning Medical Support in the Changing Landscape of Health<br />

Insurance, Robert G. (Bob) Williams, Ph.D. (July 25, 2019).

Self-Assessments and Data Reliability Audits:<br />

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly<br />

by Gay Harris, Arizona Department of Economic Security<br />

Brian Miele, Arizona Department of Economic Security<br />

Liz Schriber, Georgia Division of Child Support Services<br />

One of the best strategies to prepare for federal audits is to establish a<br />

solid self-assessment process. Self-assessment and internal data reliability<br />

audits are management tools for states to gauge and improve their<br />

performance. For a self-assessment process to be an effective tool for<br />

management, it must provide accurate and reliable information. The<br />

information provided should identify program strengths, weaknesses, and<br />

relevant estimates of current performance levels. This provides leadership<br />

teams with data to make informed decisions.<br />

Child support offices in Arizona and Georgia<br />

have seen a lot of good come from their selfassessment<br />

processes and they have been able<br />

to prevent negative results on self-assessment<br />

and internal audits.<br />

Start with the Good<br />

There are various ways to establish a good self-assessment process that<br />

helps ensure favorable results when being audited by the federal Office of

Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). States have options in terms of where<br />

they establish a self-assessment unit. For example, a unit can be<br />

established within the IV-D agency, as is done in Georgia, or within an<br />

umbrella agency containing<br />

the IV-D agency, as is done<br />

in Arizona with its<br />

Department of Economic<br />

Security (ADES). Other<br />

options include establishing a<br />

unit within another state<br />

As a result of their self-assessment and<br />

data reliability efforts, Arizona and<br />

Georgia have continued to receive<br />

favorable results in their federal Data<br />

Reliability Audits (DRAs).<br />

agency or using contracted staff from a private company. One key to<br />

success is ensuring that those conducting self-assessments have a healthy<br />

degree of separation and independence from those managing the cases. In<br />

Arizona and Georgia, teams are solely designated to conduct these<br />

required self-assessments to help ensure data reliability. Another key to<br />

success is that these teams follow well-defined self-assessment processes<br />

that ensure consistency and efficiency. For example:<br />

● In Arizona, a team of auditors is solely dedicated to conducting selfassessments<br />

for each of Arizona’s 14 offices annually, and is<br />

responsible for submitting the annual audit to the OCSE. In addition,<br />

they conduct internal data reliability audits each month. The audit<br />

team is located within the ADES Office of Inspector General and is<br />

structurally independent of program management. In addition to<br />

having its audit processes well-documented, these auditors have<br />

prior experience managing cases, and in addition, are overseen by<br />

an audit supervisor.<br />

● In Georgia, a performance management team–consisting of<br />

individuals who have no case management responsibilities–conducts<br />

a statewide annual self-assessment review of program operations<br />

and compliance with internal standard operating procedures (SOPs),<br />

financial reviews of internal units, and special projects. These<br />

processes are well established and evolving to increase efficiency.

As a result of their self-assessment and data reliability efforts, Arizona and<br />

Georgia have continued to receive favorable results in their federal Data<br />

Reliability Audits (DRAs). With this, they have avoided monetary penalties<br />

imposed when federal data reliability benchmarks are not met, and<br />

continue to receive incentive funding to benefit the child support program.<br />

Avoid the Bad<br />

Even if a self-assessment process is established with an independent team<br />

that has a documented process, this could still result in a negative outcome<br />

without considering a few additional keys to success. For example, an<br />

office may have a pattern of underperforming in<br />

a particular area, or new problems may arise<br />

that result in underserving clients or losing time<br />

and money. A key strategy for preventing<br />

repeat problems is to address the root cause of<br />

problems identified in self-assessments.<br />

Further, a key strategy for preventing new problems is to use selfassessment<br />

processes to proactively identify and address high-risk areas.<br />

Examples of these strategies include the following:<br />

● In Arizona, the team conducting individual self-assessment audits<br />

evaluates cases against the criteria for the eight federal requirements<br />

to ensure benchmarks are met for each criterion. As a proactive<br />

measure, cases are also evaluated for quality control to identify highrisk<br />

areas such as ensuring support orders are promptly added to the<br />

child support system so that families receive the support payments on<br />

time. The internal data reliability audit team reviews sample data<br />

each month and uses a similar methodology used by federal auditors.<br />

They validate the data on the child support system to ensure the<br />

information is correct. The team has also identified the root causes of<br />

problems in the cases that directly impact the federal requirements or<br />

the OCSE-157 line items, which has resulted in updates to specific<br />

procedures for the Division.<br />

● In Georgia, for this federal fiscal year, its performance management<br />

team is taking a holistic approach to conducting compliance reviews

y using case samples from each office, which will be reviewed by<br />

the financial, paternity, and self-assessment teams. Georgia’s<br />

Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) has taken several<br />

proactive steps to improve data reliability and performance. For<br />

example, DCSS creates a report based on a proactive review using<br />

the data relationship schedule, which is typically provided to states<br />

during a federal DRA or federal Data Reliability Review (DRR). The<br />

proactive relationship schedule compares the same performance line<br />

logic and is reviewed prior<br />

to the end of the federal<br />

fiscal year. Another report<br />

proactively reviewed for<br />

data reliability is the “All<br />

Child” report, which as its<br />

name suggests, contains<br />

paternity and support order<br />

information for all children.<br />

Reviews are also conducted for SOPs that may have higher<br />

standards than the federal compliance requirements. The Same Day<br />

Service SOP’s timeframe to establish a IV-D case is the day the<br />

application is received, or within three business days based on the<br />

application type. This differs from the 20-day federal requirement in<br />

an effort to ensure compliance, efficiently process requests for<br />

service, and provide excellent customer service.<br />

Transform the Ugly<br />

No matter how good or bad the self-assessment process looks on paper, it<br />

will be ugly without a culture of collaborative communication between those<br />

conducting a self-assessment and those benefiting from it. The<br />

independent nature of the self-assessment team helps keep results<br />

consistent and unbiased but should not make the team come off as cold,<br />

aloof, or ignorant. Those managing the cases should not feel afraid of the<br />

team or feel like the team has them under a microscope. Instead, the team<br />

should act as, and be viewed as, a trusted partner that will help ensure the

agency is ready for OCSE audits. A culture of open communication and<br />

respect will go a long way in preventing the “bad” things mentioned above.<br />

Below are some ideas on how to help establish such a culture:<br />

● In Arizona, a collaborative meeting between the audit team and<br />

DCSS leadership resulted in getting a good perspective on how the<br />

audit reports can add value to benefit the program. Further, the audit<br />

team developed a survey to obtain valuable feedback about its selfassessment<br />

and data reliability reports. As a result, the audit team is<br />

working to add additional information to the report to make it easier<br />

for case managers to review the report without having to do further<br />

research. The audit team also expanded its exit conferences to<br />

encourage the whole office to attend–including line staff–rather than<br />

meeting with only the office manager to discuss the audit process and<br />

the report. This change in the style of the meeting was especially<br />

informative to case managers who were new to the child support<br />

program and helped them realize how vital their role is to ensure data<br />

is accurate and reliable. Their attendance also allowed case<br />

managers to ask questions about how the audit team reviews the<br />

information. This collaboration with the entire office created a<br />

partnership and open communication even if the result of the audit<br />

report was not favorable. The audit team can be viewed as a trusted<br />

partner with the child support division.<br />

● In Georgia, DCSS held virtual training sessions for staff—including<br />

case managers and their supervisors— to explain the importance of<br />

data reliability in audits, and its impact on incentive awards. The DRA<br />

process is a team effort involving staff in local offices and state office<br />

units. This year, DCSS held a virtual kick-off meeting with managers<br />

to discuss the process and outcomes from the prior year’s audit to<br />

help identify improvements for next year. A similar closeout meeting<br />

will be planned after the final report is issued.<br />

Summary<br />

Child support programs can face federal audits with confidence by following<br />

a few keys to success. These keys include establishing an independent

and well-documented self-assessment process, using self-assessment<br />

audits to address the root causes of problems, proactively identifying and<br />

addressing high-risk areas, and ensuring a culture of collaborative<br />

communications between those conducting the self-assessment audits and<br />

those managing the cases. Ultimately, the goal is to not only pass OCSE<br />

audits with flying colors but to provide the best possible experience for the<br />

clients served.<br />

_________________________________________<br />

Gay Harris is currently an Audit Supervisor for the Arizona Department of Economic<br />

Security (ADES) and joined the Office of Inspector General, Internal Audit<br />

Administration office in 2012 to conduct internal data reliability and control selfassessment<br />

audits. Prior to that, she worked in ADES, Division of Child Support<br />

Services for 25 years in various roles as a case manager and conducting internal audits<br />

for the Division. She has extensive knowledge and experience in the child support<br />

program specifically in data reliability and control self-assessment. She attended<br />

Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, and received a degree in<br />

business education. She is also a Certified Inspector General Auditor.<br />

Brian Miele is the Chief Auditor for the Arizona Department of Economic Security<br />

(ADES). He joined ADES in 2019 and has been involved in auditing the Arizona state<br />

government since 2006. Brian received a Master of Public Administration from Brigham<br />

Young University and is a Certified Inspector General Auditor.<br />

Liz Schriber currently serves as the Strategic Performance Planning Manager for the<br />

Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support Services (DCSS).<br />

She has been with DCSS since 2006. She is an NCSEA U Alumni and Co-chair of the<br />

NCSEA Research Subcommittee. Liz has extensive data analysis experience and<br />

comes up with creative ways to identify trends and opportunities for improvement. Liz<br />

has a Bachelor of Political Science degree with a minor in sociology from the University<br />

of Georgia.

Intergovernmental Hot Topics! Part 2<br />

by Rob Velcoff<br />

Intergovernmental Support Services<br />

The <strong>January</strong> 2022 Child Support CommuniQue included part one of<br />

“Intergovernmental Hot Topics!.” If that article left you wanting more, please<br />

allow me to introduce Part 2. In the first article, we discussed items such as<br />

interstate payment processing, enforcement of “dead” cases, and $0<br />

orders. Now let’s add a few more controversial subjects to the list.<br />

Interstate Case Closure Regulations<br />

There are currently 21 case closure criteria listed in CFR § 303.11. Of<br />

these, a responding jurisdiction in a two-state interstate case has only three<br />

at its disposal for case closure:<br />

(17) The responding agency documents failure by the initiating<br />

agency to take an action that is essential for the next step in providing<br />

services;<br />

(18) The initiating agency has notified the responding State that the<br />

initiating State has closed its case under § 303.7(c)(11);<br />

(19) The initiating agency has notified the responding State that its<br />

intergovernmental services are no longer needed;<br />

The other 18 criteria can be used only by an initiating jurisdiction. That<br />

means that if the initiating jurisdiction wants the responding jurisdiction to<br />

keep a two-state interstate case open, the responding jurisdiction has to do<br />

so even if one or more of the other 18 case closure criteria apply in its<br />

jurisdiction. Remember, the federal case closure criteria are optional, not<br />

mandatory. States may choose which ones they do or do not want to use.<br />

Let’s say the responding jurisdiction normally closes a local case in its own<br />

state using criterion #9(i), “The noncustodial parent's sole income is from<br />

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments ….” But if the initiating<br />

jurisdiction does not use that particular criterion, the responding jurisdiction<br />

would have to keep such a case open. They might have previously closed<br />

several in-state cases that met these circumstances, but they would have<br />

to keep an interstate case open. This defies logic, to say nothing of the fact

that it would be very difficult to have to explain to one custodial parent why<br />

her/his case with a given noncustodial parent has to be closed while the<br />

case of a different custodial parent with the same noncustodial parent must<br />

remain open.<br />

This situation cries out for consistency. There is a fear that states will be<br />

closing two-state cases against the wishes of the initiating jurisdictions.<br />

Perhaps. But this would not occur very often. In fact, in an attempt to<br />

mandate cooperation, the reverse is actually occurring. It would be better to<br />

encourage communication and understanding between the states instead<br />

of trying to force a policy that only works part of the time. Responding<br />

jurisdictions should be able to close their two-state cases if any of their<br />

case closure criteria apply, while the initiating jurisdiction keeps the case<br />

open (if applicable) and works it to the best of their ability as a local onestate<br />

case. If the case circumstances change, the case can always be<br />

made two-state in the future if the given case closure criteria no longer<br />

exists. Trusting states to work out these issues among themselves might<br />

be the better option than attempting to mandate something that<br />

perpetuates inconsistency.<br />

Interest<br />

Interest in child support is very controversial – you either love it or you hate<br />

it. States that add interest to their arrears or money judgments generally<br />

think it is an important tool to assist custodial parents in keeping their<br />

financial heads above water when<br />

dealing with delinquent payors. Some<br />

custodial parents may have to go into<br />

debt due to the non-payment of support,<br />

and may end up having to pay interest<br />

on their own overdue bills as a result, so<br />

the extra money received in interest<br />

payments is a way of evening things out.<br />

States that do not charge interest<br />

believe it is just another burden to heap on the backs of parents who are<br />

struggling to meet their financial obligations without having to compile<br />

additional fees onto an often insurmountable sum. We’ve all heard the<br />

stories of arrears-only cases where the noncustodial parent is making<br />

monthly payments but, due to high interest charges, the total arrears<br />

amount due at the end of each month is actually higher despite some<br />

payments being made.

Is there any sort of compromise possible on interstate cases when one<br />

state charges interest and the other state does not? Or when two states<br />

each charge different percentages? For those states that don’t charge<br />

interest on child support arrears or that call for a single percentage<br />

nationwide, remember that<br />

interest rates on money<br />

judgments are not just a child<br />

support thing. States that<br />

charge interest generally do<br />

so on all money judgments,<br />

child support or otherwise,<br />

Interest forgiveness can also be an<br />

important tool when conducting debt<br />

compromise on a case.<br />

and do not have the ability to vary this amount from judgment to judgment.<br />

If a tax judgment charges interest in State A at a rate of 10%, so too would<br />

a child support judgment, and the child support agency enforcing such a<br />

judgment would likely have no discretion when working the case.<br />

Interest forgiveness can also be an important tool when conducting debt<br />

compromise on a case. Many states do this on their TANF caseloads.<br />

States often do this in non-TANF cases as well, either with the custodial<br />

parent’s permission or via state policy. The reasoning behind this approach<br />

makes perfect sense: most parents to whom the support is owed would be<br />

perfectly happy to receive current support and a little something toward the<br />

arrears. To help ensure such payments, interest accruals are something<br />

many of them would be more than willing to forego.<br />

When a responding jurisdiction registers a court order from a state that<br />

charges interest, the registering state is not expected to calculate the<br />

interest. That is the responsibility of the initiating jurisdiction. However, the<br />

responding jurisdiction is expected to enforce the interest that has accrued.<br />

In fact, federal policy requires this. If you recall the information from Part 1<br />

of this article, the state that issued the controlling order has the official<br />

determination of arrears. So when the court order state periodically updates<br />

the arrears figure and adds interest, the responding jurisdiction is bound by<br />

those figures and must enforce them. Updated payment histories are<br />

helpful; a best practice is for annual updates, although if a case is going<br />

into court on an enforcement or a modification petition that would be a good<br />

time for an arrears reconciliation as well. While this is extra work on the<br />

part of the responding jurisdiction, helping each other is part of our jobs.<br />

Explaining to the person paying support why the arrears are so high due to<br />

the interest that is charging is something the child support worker from the<br />

paying parent’s jurisdiction is expected to do.

There has been some discussion about not charging any interest on<br />

interstate cases as a nationwide policy. While initially that might make<br />

sense because it would make everyone’s life easier, I do not agree with<br />

that policy. Noncustodial parents would still be charged interest in many<br />

states; it’s just that said interest would not be enforced by the responding<br />

jurisdiction. So by the time the order terminates and the responding state<br />

closes the two-state case, there could be thousands of dollars in interest<br />

that is still owed on the initiating state’s case record. Asking all states to<br />

waive interest charges on interstate cases is not a viable solution either, as<br />

some child support agencies might not have the authority to do so. Plus<br />

some states think that charging interest is a good thing. Making child<br />

support workers’ lives easier should not be the only goal in interstate case<br />

processing. There are just too many reasons not to introduce such a policy.<br />

While charging interest on child support arrears might be an interesting<br />

topic for debate, remember that the states that charge interest are<br />

generally required by law to do so. There might be no option here. All<br />

states must enforce the accrued interest on those registered orders<br />

whether they agree with the concept or not.<br />

Interstate IWO on UIB<br />

One of the best things that happened when<br />

the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act<br />

(UIFSA) came about in 1996 was the<br />

advent of the interstate income withholding<br />

order (IWO). For more than twenty-five<br />

years, states have had the authority to send<br />

wage withholding orders to employers<br />

anywhere in the United States. This has<br />

greatly increased collections, reduced timeframes, cut down on two-state<br />

actions, and resulted in tremendous improvements to the child support<br />

program nationwide. The language in UIFSA is very cut and dried:<br />


WITHHOLDING ORDER OF ANOTHER STATE. An incomewithholding<br />

order issued in another state may be sent by or on behalf<br />

of the obligee, or by the support enforcement agency, to the person<br />

defined as the obligor’s employer under the income-withholding law<br />

of this state without first filing a petition or comparable pleading or<br />

registering the order with a tribunal of this state.

The next question is, does this section of law also pertain to unemployment<br />

insurance benefits (UIBs)? The answer depends upon whom you ask.<br />

Currently, only 14 states/territories (out of 54, or a little over 25%) permit<br />

this type of withholding: Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan,<br />

Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma,<br />

Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Virgin<br />

Islands, and Wisconsin. There is<br />

additional information on the<br />

Intergovernmental Reference<br />

Guide (IRG) about this for these<br />

states/territories. For the rest, the<br />

simple explanation is that<br />

unemployment insurance benefits<br />

do not fall under the legal<br />

definition of “income” in that jurisdiction. That is an oversimplification, and<br />

there certainly may be more to it than that.<br />

In most if not all states, UIB intercepts are done via a mass match, not by<br />

individual IWOs. The Unemployment Benefits office may not have the<br />

ability to handle individual IWOs sent one at a time. However, this lack of<br />

resources should not be enough to stop a legally issued formal document.<br />

There has to be something more at work here. The issue likely goes back<br />

to the legal definition of “income” and “employer.” Here is some information<br />

from a very old federal policy document, PIQ-99-04, dated March 22, 1999:<br />

Question 1: Are State Employment Security Agencies (SESAs)<br />

required to process UC intercepts from States other than their own?<br />

Answer: Yes. If the State UI agency is encompassed by the definition<br />

of "employer" within section 501 of the Uniform Interstate Family<br />

Support Act (UIFSA) as enacted by the receiving state, an income<br />

withholding order may be sent directly to the UI agency since it is "the<br />

person or entity defined as the obligor’s employer under [the income<br />

withholding laws of the State]...". Withholding for UI benefits is also<br />

governed by sections 303(e) and 454(a)(19) of the Social Security<br />

Act (the Act).<br />

What this seems to boil down to is the legal definition. Still, the intent of<br />

section 501 of UIFSA is very clear. Since interstate wage withholding works<br />

so well for employment, it would also work equally well for unemployment.<br />

For the three-quarters of the states/territories that do not currently allow<br />

interstate wage withholding for UIBs, reconsidering the definition of<br />

“income” and “employer” would work for the greater good of the child

support program and would ultimately benefit the children and families we<br />

all serve.<br />

Rob Velcoff is an independent child support consultant with his own agency,<br />

Intergovernmental Support Services. Before starting his own agency, Mr. Velcoff<br />

worked for the New York State Division of Child Support Services for over 30 years. Mr.<br />

Velcoff has received several awards, including ERICSA’s Felix Infausto Award<br />

(President’s Award). An individual member of NCSEA, Mr. Velcoff received a BS in<br />

Criminal Justice from the State University College of New York at Brockport and an MA<br />

in Criminal Justice from the State University of New York at Albany.

Teleworking Tips as a Service to<br />

Child Support Workers<br />

by Laurel Eaton, Rachel Karch, and Nancy Sonleitner,<br />

University of Oklahoma, Center for Public Management<br />

On March 16, 2020, Oklahoma Child Support Services (CSS) staff, along<br />

with all but essential workers in all areas of employment across Oklahoma<br />

government, were sent home to quarantine in an effort to slow the spread<br />

of COVID-19. The abrupt change in work location and how work was to be<br />

done was a challenge for many CSS workers. In order to keep employees<br />

engaged and still feeling like a part of the CSS team, three members of the<br />

University of Oklahoma Center for Public Management (OU-CPM) i contract<br />

team began writing daily Teleworking Tips.<br />

In order to write a daily one- to two-page article, we used available<br />

resources for inspiration and, in some cases, content. We were careful not<br />

to plagiarize, and we faithfully cited our sources. We focused on the child<br />

support audience and used inclusive language to create and maintain a<br />

cohesive identity of going through the difficulties together. Initially, the<br />

Teleworking Tips concerned technology issues. Before quarantine, and<br />

with an eye on the future, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services<br />

(OKDHS) administration ii was making a move toward using more<br />

technology, including Microsoft Office 365. The Teleworking Tips first<br />

began addressing how to use Teams, its various features, and ways to<br />

keep in touch with co-workers in “offices” that were no longer housed<br />


“Thank you, thank you! It<br />

always seems that<br />

whenever I’m feeling down<br />

or stuck, along comes the<br />

perfect tip! I loved the one<br />

about the stretching<br />

exercise the other day, and<br />

then today up pops ‘Just<br />

Breathe.’ Again, thanks a<br />

lot!”<br />

The Teleworking Tips team includes a<br />

talented artist who made the Tips visually<br />

interesting so more child support staff<br />

would be enticed to look at the Daily Tip to<br />

see what it was all about.<br />

Our artist-in-residence created an<br />

imaginative logo for Tips articles, as well<br />

as for new Technology Training articles<br />

and health and wellness articles we<br />

created for child support field workers. The<br />

backgrounds and images used were<br />

engaging and sometimes amusing. The<br />

team is lucky to have this person, and we are proud of her contributions to<br />

the aesthetic of the Tips.<br />

As we settled into our daily production routine, the Teleworking Tips team<br />

became aware of concerns about staying safe and healthy during the early<br />

months of quarantine. Many businesses were closed; just about the only<br />

open businesses were grocery stores and pharmacies. The team wrote<br />

articles on mask wearing, social distancing, handwashing, and DIY<br />

cleaning products.<br />

As the weeks turned into months, it became clear that vacations and<br />

cruises were not going to happen, and movie theaters, restaurants, and<br />

other entertainment venues were still closed. Seeing that the child support<br />

workforce might need a distraction and some recreation, the team wrote<br />

articles on amusement parks, museums<br />

around the world, U.S. National Parks,<br />

online zoos, and night sky gazing.<br />

Articles offered virtual roller coaster<br />

rides, featuring some of the most famous<br />

wood and steel roller coasters in the<br />

United States. We located virtual<br />

museum tours around the world where<br />

viewers could “walk through” the<br />

museum as if they were there themselves. We identified celestial events<br />

taking place within the month and explained what they were and how to<br />

see them. There are also several interesting things to see in Oklahoma; the<br />

team wrote about them and their locations in one memorable publication.

Children staying home from school, with parents thrust into the role of parttime<br />

educators while trying to keep up with<br />

“Thanks so much. The tips<br />

full-time work, was stressful. The<br />

seem like common sense<br />

Teleworking Tips team wrote articles on<br />

until I sit down and just get<br />

how to keep children entertained and busy,<br />

absorbed by my laptop.<br />

featuring activities that took little effort to<br />

The "do more than just get<br />

create and needed little supervision. The<br />

a cup of coffee" one hits<br />

team produced suggestions on<br />

home!”<br />

office/workspace arrangements, including<br />

signs and signals parents could use to let<br />

children know when not to interrupt. The team also supported parents in<br />

their role as substitute educators by writing articles that included<br />

suggestions for coping and reminding them that they did not have<br />

education degrees, no one expected them to replace their children’s<br />

teachers, and they were doing the best they could.<br />

The team also considered other stressors, such as dealing with unfamiliar<br />

technologies, separation from co-workers, and concerns about staying<br />

healthy. The Teleworking Tips included articles on mental health, stress<br />

reduction, short exercise breaks, physical activity, and self-care. Articles on<br />

breathing, meditation, and taking 5-minute body scan breaks to relieve<br />

tension were also part of the effort to help with stress management.<br />

Understanding the value of laughter in helping our immune system and<br />

improving mood, the Teleworking Tips team also wrote articles featuring<br />

jokes to give readers a chuckle. The jokes were mainly “dad jokes” and<br />

family-friendly, amusing puns.<br />

Many folks fondly remember making bread and experimenting with cooking<br />

during the pandemic. The team wrote articles on snacks, easy to prepare<br />

main dishes, “tour of the world of food” recipes, and lots of comfort food<br />

recipes. As holidays approached, the<br />

team included holiday craft ideas,<br />

recipes, and tips on how to have virtual<br />

family parties when it wasn’t safe to get<br />

together. These tips included ideas for<br />

decorating, “eating together,” and family<br />

game nights.<br />

As the pandemic wore on and the<br />

promise of a vaccine was on the horizon, the Teleworking Tips focus<br />

shifted somewhat to include more health and resilience articles. The team<br />

also presented an entire series on all the Microsoft Office 365 apps, not

only via email but also through presentations on MS Teams to answer<br />

questions and demonstrate how to access, set up, and use the apps in the<br />

world of child support.<br />

In addition, to help separated co-workers retain a sense of community,<br />

readers were asked to send pictures of their<br />

“I love this article! It’s so on<br />

pets to feature these “co-workers” in an<br />

point with the Science of<br />

article. There were so many responses to<br />

Hope, positive psychology,<br />

this request that this article was written as a<br />

and changing your mindset<br />

series featuring unusual pets, cats, and<br />

to a Growth Mindset! This<br />

large and small dogs. The series featured<br />

is wonderful!”<br />

pets’ human companions as well, along with<br />

their comments about their pets’ cuteness<br />

or quirkiness.<br />

As we slowly began to emerge from the months-long isolation of<br />

quarantine, some of us were not sure how to re-engage. The team wrote<br />

articles on how to create your own Pandemic Pod (e.g. safe social group)<br />

and what to keep in mind when getting together with others indoors. Other<br />

articles focused on suggestions for how to stay safe while flying or using<br />

other forms of travel.<br />

During the pandemic, many people from all walks of life lost their jobs or<br />

were suffering financially. The Teleworking Tips team wrote articles<br />

addressing this source of stress, as well as articles offering suggestions<br />

and support during the difficulties.<br />

After more than a year of daily Teleworking Tips, we reduced articles to five<br />

to six times a month with an emphasis on applying Microsoft 365<br />

technology to child support processes and procedures, along with<br />

occasional articles to provide entertainment or tips on wellness and<br />

technology. From the middle of March 2020, the team wrote approximately<br />

240 articles in the first year and over 100 articles in the second year and<br />

continues to produce informational and helpful articles.<br />

You may access some of the Tips here.<br />

Other states also sent encouraging emails to their staff throughout the<br />

pandemic to help them carry forward throughout the stress of the<br />

quarantine. These encouraging emails gave us all hope for a better day.<br />

Hope is one of the strongest predictors of well-being, and an emerging,<br />

robust body of evidence is demonstrating that hope is also an important<br />

component of organizational well-being. Based on this research and on the<br />

experiences many CSS workers have on a daily basis with our customers,

it has become apparent that hope benefits<br />

everyone in the child support system, from<br />

caseworkers to customers. The<br />

Teleworking Tips team’s goal was to<br />

provide hope, information, and a sense of<br />

community to the many CSS workers who<br />

diligently continued to serve our customers<br />

during a difficult and unprecedented time.<br />

_________________________________________<br />

Laurel Eaton retired in 2016 as the Programs Manager for the Office of Planning,<br />

Evaluation, and Learning-Child Support Services after 46 years with the Oklahoma<br />

Department of Human Services—38 of those years with or related to CSS. She is now a<br />

Project Coordinator with the University of Oklahoma, Center for Public Management,<br />

contracted to Child Support Services. Ms. Eaton is an individual member of NCSEA.<br />

Rachel Karch has a master’s degree in Instructional Leadership and Academic<br />

Curriculum, specializing in classroom gamification, from the University of Oklahoma.<br />

She has taught in Lexington and Norman Public Schools as an AP World History<br />

teacher and an art teacher, during which time she received several awards and grants<br />

for her work in education. In 2019, she began working for OUCPM as a curriculum<br />

developer, became an instructional designer for the same team, and now is the OSIS<br />

Policy Contract Manager.<br />

Dr. Nancy Sonleitner has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Oklahoma and<br />

has taught in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, the University of Tennessee (Martin),<br />

and online at Bowling Green State University and local community colleges. Currently,<br />

Dr. Sonleitner is assisting Oklahoma Child Support Services create training materials for<br />

the Child Support workforce, and assisting with course development for asynchronous<br />

and face-to-face workforce training.<br />

i<br />

OU-CPM - https://outreach.ou.edu/community-services/health-human-services/center-publicmanagement/services/<br />

OU-CPM is the administrator of the Child Support Specialist Certification<br />

Program, the CSS Employer Services Center, and a host of other services for OKDHS.<br />

ii<br />

OKDHS (Oklahoma Department of Human Services) is the umbrella agency for Child Support<br />


NCSEA <strong>2023</strong> Policy Forum Preview<br />

by Margot Bean and Connie Chesnik<br />

Co-chairs, NCSEA <strong>2023</strong> Policy Forum<br />

Early in February <strong>2023</strong>, Child Support and Human Services professionals<br />

from across the country will come together again in Washington, D.C. for<br />

the annual NCSEA Policy Forum. This year’s theme, “Engagement –<br />

Delivering Quality Services with a Passion for Helping Families,”<br />

focuses on what we in the child support program do well with passion while<br />

being mindful of the impact and ramifications of our decision-making. Over<br />

the Forum’s three days, sessions will explore the important balance of<br />

keeping a focus on child support’s strong historical foundation, while<br />

embracing innovations and program evolution.<br />

As we set out planning this year's agenda, we remained committed to our<br />

effort to build on NCSEA’s collaborative inclusion of various perspectives<br />

and priorities that clearly support our collective vision. The perspectives of<br />

our tribal members, the impact of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)<br />

efforts, and the importance of engaging external partners were vital to the<br />

conversations. The Policy Forum Planning Committee has developed 10<br />

plenary sessions that offer attendees a variety of perspectives on trending<br />

topics in the entire child support community. We continue our practice from<br />

last year’s Policy Forum of presenting–in some of the sessions–a short<br />

video from a variety of think tanks performing research and advocacy that<br />

showcases their insights into child support engagement and quality<br />


Thursday’s Opening Plenary will begin with NCSEA President Jim Fleming<br />

sharing his vision for the Policy Forum, followed by welcoming remarks<br />

from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS),<br />

Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Assistant Secretary,<br />

<strong>January</strong> Contreras. ACF Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE)<br />

Commissioner, Tanguler Gray, will deliver a keynote reflecting on the past<br />

year’s accomplishments and the future focus of her Office.<br />

Thursday’s second plenary will present an ambitious proposal from<br />

NCSEA’s Policy and Government Relations (PGR) Committee that resulted<br />

from a massive effort to develop a comprehensive child support legislative<br />

proposal not seen since PWRORA was passed in 1998. PGR’s work has<br />

identified improvements and solutions in different areas of the program that<br />

will enhance performance and quality service delivery to families, including<br />

reforms and changes to TANF recovery, performance measures,<br />

intergovernmental, program funding, and enforcement. In addition,<br />

congressional staff will share their views on a variety of potential child<br />

support legislative proposals.<br />

Thursday afternoon will commence with a focus on modern child support<br />

enforcement tools. This includes using enforcement as a stepping-stone to<br />

building family capacity, engaging effectively through electronic hearings,<br />

requiring the reporting of independent contractors, and improving the<br />

insurance match process. The afternoon finishes with a comprehensive<br />

review of the 20-plus years’ history of federally funded Section 1115 grants,<br />

Special Improvement Project (SIP) grants, and Section 1115 waiver<br />

demonstration projects that have aided the seismic shift from a focus solely<br />

on enforcement to comprehensive engagement. The session will highlight<br />

the most recent demonstration grants, including employment services and<br />

support for non-custodial parents, behavioral interventions, procedural<br />

justice, and communication and outreach in a digital world.<br />

In the last two-plus years, much has been shared and debated on how we<br />

go about implementing DEI. Friday’s plenaries will open with expanding the<br />

DEI conversation by hearing from those who have succeeded in<br />

implementing DEI-related change and are continuing to build on their<br />

initiatives. They will share the challenges and tools they used to help us<br />

form action plans to benefit the child support community across the<br />

country. This plenary is followed by a discussion of the recent joint ACF<br />

OCSE/Children’s Bureau guidance on case referrals from IV-E to IV-D.<br />

From a panel of states that have changed their processes, the audience

will learn more about the guidance and the supporting research,<br />

implementation considerations, strategies, and challenges, and how these<br />

changes can strengthen collaboration between child support and child<br />

welfare.<br />

Friday’s program continues with a session that builds off the work of an<br />

existing partnership among the American Public Human Services<br />

Association (APHSA), the National Conference of Child Support Directors<br />

(NCCSD), and NCSEA to create strategies to align child support with<br />

parallel programs and services. The panel will include child support<br />

directors and economic support administrators who will discuss advancing<br />

economic mobility and improving collections through promoting supportive<br />

services, access to assistance, and enhanced employment and training<br />

opportunities for all parents and caregivers. The panel will also discuss<br />

successfully aligning services with families at the center with perspectives<br />

from tribal human services. This session will also incorporate custodial and<br />

noncustodial parents with lived experience, who will share their<br />

perspectives on how thoughtful, trauma-informed services and connections<br />

to support lead to better outcomes for all parents and their children. The<br />

day’s final plenary will feature a brief research presentation about the most<br />

recent data on the prevalence of incarceration in the U.S. and, specifically,<br />

arrests/convictions/periods of incarceration among noncustodial parents<br />

that leads to difficulty meeting their obligations and engaging with child<br />

support agencies. Author Sharmain Harris will share his lived experience<br />

as a justice-involved father and take us on an inspirational ride through his<br />

personal stories and work over the past six years to increase awareness of<br />

father involvement and to implement strategies to be more engaging.<br />

Policy Forum attendees will not want to miss the final Saturday morning<br />

program. The day opens with a highly interactive plenary that explores<br />

various state child support debt compromise policies. By diving into the<br />

actual processes behind those programs—and their data—participants in<br />

this plenary will gain a heightened appreciation for the burden of running<br />

such programs, versus the amount of child support debt reduced.<br />

The national child support program caseload dropped almost 1½ million<br />

over the past five years. Despite this reduction, it still serves nearly 16<br />

million children or about one in five children nationwide, and performance<br />

on the federal performance measures continues to improve for those<br />

children. The <strong>2023</strong> NCSEA Policy Forum will conclude with another not-tobe-missed<br />

plenary where speakers discuss why caseloads are decreasing

and, more importantly, what can be done to turn this trend around so that<br />

our services reach customers who need it the most.<br />

We look forward to connecting with you in Washington, D.C., February 2-4,<br />

<strong>2023</strong>, to continue the conversations from last year’s Policy Forum and to<br />

start new ones!<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. Margot’s wide variety<br />

of government experience prior to joining Deloitte provides her with deep understanding<br />

and insight: Commissioner of the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, IV-D<br />

Director of the New York State Child Support program, IV-D Director of the Guam Child<br />

Support Program, and child support attorney. She is a current member of the NCSEA<br />

Board of Directors<br />

Connie M. Chesnik received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the<br />

University of Wisconsin-Madison. As an attorney for the Wisconsin Department of<br />

Workforce Development, Connie advised the child support program for many years and<br />

has spoken frequently on Wisconsin’s child support guidelines and Wisconsin’s tribal IV-<br />

D program. She is currently the Administrator of the Division of Family and Economic<br />

Security in the Department of Children and Families where she oversees Wisconsin’s<br />

child support, refugee and employment programs. Connie is a member of the State Bar<br />

of Wisconsin, and the State and National Child Support Enforcement Associations. She<br />

currently serves on the NCSEA Board of Directors.

Is NCSEA U For You?<br />

NCSEA U was chartered in 2013 and currently has<br />

more than 135 alumni. NCSEA U provides a unique<br />

premier educational and professional development<br />

opportunity. It is structured for learning leaders in the<br />

child support community and it complements NCSEA’s<br />

other educational initiatives and strategies. The<br />

program is taught by nationally recognized child<br />

support leaders, offering a variety of informative and<br />

strategic topics. Classes are structured with an<br />

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

with real time work environment scenarios. And starting in February, <strong>2023</strong>, NCSEA U @<br />

Policy Forum offers participants training in policy, advocacy and outreach.<br />

Whether for yourself or your staff, NCSEA U offers a transformative learning experience<br />

and is a catalyst for networking opportunities. NCSEA U alumni would love for you to<br />

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

featuring Alumni in upcoming <strong>CSQ</strong> articles. Their stories will highlight why NCSEA U is for<br />

you.<br />

Meet Our NCSEA U Alumni<br />

Liz Schriber, Class of 2022<br />

Georgia Division of Child Support Services<br />

Strategic Performance Planning Manager<br />

What would you like others to know about NCSEA U? NCSEA U is an amazing opportunity to<br />

learn from top-notch leaders and network with other child support professionals. It was very clear<br />

that there is a lot of thought and preparation that goes into the materials for the sessions. NCSEA<br />

U provides a unique experience for participants to share their experiences and perspectives on<br />

program improvement.<br />

NCSEA U @ Leadership Symposium focuses on the emerging and learning leader. How do<br />

you define leadership? I define leadership as the ability to bring people together and<br />

empowering the team to achieve a common goal.<br />

Why would you recommend NCSEA U to others? NCSEA U provides an opportunity for you to<br />

meet other child support professionals that share a passion for program improvement and<br />

enhancing their leadership skills. It allows you to learn from other program perspectives and<br />

expand your network of child support friends and community.

Emily Gregg, Class of 2022<br />

Tennessee Child Support<br />

Policy and Case Resolution Director<br />

What is the most valuable aspect of the NCSEA U experience? Ideas, Ideas, Ideas!<br />

Connections, connections, connections!<br />

What would you like others to know about NCSEA U? NCSEA U is a wonderful experience.<br />

The leaders provided great insight into their trials and errors throughout their child support journey.<br />

The NCSEA U leaders (Erin, Wally, and Lisa) helped each one of us take an idea and form the<br />

idea into an actual plan of action. Hearing from other states who have tried various initiatives also<br />

assists with planning your own priorities and initiatives within your state, tribe, or county.<br />

What is a key leadership attribute that you appreciate in others? I appreciate someone who<br />

values others' input and who can lead by example. Someone who is not afraid to admit they may<br />

not know the answer but is willing to do the digging to find out. Someone who is not afraid to jump<br />

in and help out.<br />

Van Nguyen, Class of 2022<br />

Washington State Division of Child Support<br />

Child Support Program Manager<br />

What would you like others to know about NCSEA U? NCSEAU is educational, inspirational,<br />

and is a supportive network.<br />

Since attending NCSEA U, what opportunities (personal and professional) have you<br />

experienced? Working with the Research, Data and Analysis Division on creating a survey for my<br />

project.<br />

What is a key leadership attribute that you appreciate in others? Some key attributes that I<br />

appreciate in others include: honesty, integrity, excellence, accountability, emotional intelligence,<br />

and respect. I believe a leader who embodies these values is able to gain/earn trust from the people<br />

that they lead and nothing is impossible to achieve when you have people's trust.

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