January 2024 NCSEA CSQ

Quarterly newsletter containing articles and news of interest for professionals working in the IV-D child support program.

Quarterly newsletter containing articles and news of interest for professionals working in the IV-D child support program.


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Table of Contents<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />

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

Community Corner: The Profound Impact of Enhanced Domestic<br />

Violence Training and Practices in Arizona ................................... 5<br />

Congress Shines a Light on Federal Tax Information and the Child<br />

Support Program ........................................................................... 8<br />

Behavioral Economics and Attracting Customers to the IV-D<br />

Program ...................................................................................... 20<br />

Texas Succeeds in Extending New Hire Reporting Requirements<br />

to Rideshare Drivers ................................................................... 25<br />

<strong>NCSEA</strong> <strong>2024</strong> Policy Forum Preview ........................................... 31<br />

Breaking the Mold: Exploring Non-Cash Child Support Options for<br />

Parental Empowerment ............................................................... 34

Erin Frisch,<br />

<strong>NCSEA</strong> President<br />

Happy New Year <strong>NCSEA</strong> Members!<br />

I love the practice of reflection and looking ahead that comes at this time of<br />

year. There are so many things going on as we continue exploring the<br />

power of community.<br />

At the last <strong>NCSEA</strong> board meeting in December, we learned about the<br />

National Association for Welfare Research Statistics (NAWRS) and how we<br />

might build a partnership between our two organizations. NAWRS is a<br />

volunteer-run organization that brings together researchers from academic<br />

institutions and research firms, as well as practitioners in the field, to<br />

leverage research and analytics for effective human service programs. I<br />

encourage you to check it out if research is your thing! We’ve also been in<br />

conversation with Casey Family Programs about opportunities to build<br />

stronger connections between child welfare and child support. I’m<br />

encouraged by these efforts to expand our community more broadly in<br />

service of families.<br />

<strong>NCSEA</strong> is fortunate to have strong support from members and our<br />

corporate partners, which affords us the opportunity to give back to the<br />

communities we serve. The Board is working on a policy to make a<br />

financial contribution as well as an investment of time in the locations of our<br />

annual Leadership Symposium. This is a tangible way <strong>NCSEA</strong> as an<br />

organization can support families and children, and I’m excited to see the<br />

impact this will have in the future.

Also at the last Board meeting, we gave final approval for the <strong>NCSEA</strong><br />

Pledge to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. This statement affirms our<br />

commitment to educating and building a community that values the<br />

experiences of those in our program; centers discussions of equity,<br />

diversity, inclusion, and belonging; and addresses inequities especially<br />

related to race. I’m proud of our organization’s efforts to keep this topic at<br />

the forefront and to dig deep to uproot the seeds of oppression in our<br />

systems.<br />

I also want to share with you an opportunity you will have to provide<br />

feedback to <strong>NCSEA</strong>. We will be issuing a member engagement survey in<br />

<strong>January</strong> to better understand your experiences with <strong>NCSEA</strong> and what we<br />

can do to build a stronger <strong>NCSEA</strong> community. If you get a survey link, I<br />

encourage you to take a few minutes to respond!<br />

Finally, a quick shout-out for the Policy Forum coming in less than a month!<br />

The planning team has outdone itself, and while there will be the usual<br />

thought-provoking and leading policy discussions, we will also have many<br />

new-to-us speakers sharing their expertise and giving us an opportunity to<br />

think about connections with child support. You don’t want to miss it!<br />

Wishing you a year of good things in <strong>2024</strong>,<br />

Erin Frisch<br />

Erin Frisch has served as the Director of the Office of Child Support at the Michigan Department of Health<br />

and Human Services (MDHHS) since 2012. In this role she is responsible for paternity and child support<br />

court order establishment, order modification and enforcement, and locating parents for over 700,000<br />

children and families. She also co-leads the MDHHS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council—a role she<br />

has had since 2019. Erin served from 2019-2020 as Senior Chief Deputy Director for Opportunity at<br />

MDHHS where she oversaw the children’s services agency, the bureau of community services, and the<br />

economic stability administration and focused on integration between public assistance programs and<br />

health, community services, child support and child welfare to reduce poverty for Michiganders. Erin is a<br />

former President of the National Council of Child Support Directors and is the current President of the<br />

National Child Support Engagement Association. Erin graduated from James Madison College at Michigan<br />

State University and has a son and a daughter.

The Profound Impact of Enhanced<br />

Domestic Violence Training and<br />

Practices in Arizona<br />

by Jonell Sullivan, Operations Administrator,<br />

Arizona Department of Economic Security,<br />

Division of Child Support Services<br />

In October 2018, the Arizona Division of Child Support<br />

Services (DCSS) introduced several enhancements to<br />

domestic violence protocol that have made a profound<br />

impact on employees. Through training and system<br />

enhancements, we have bolstered our processes to protect<br />

customer information and refer survivors to organizations<br />

that may help them to safety.<br />

When we first introduced the new protocols, our team was concerned about<br />

adding the responsibility of domestic violence (DV) advocacy in addition to<br />

already large caseloads. To alleviate concerns, we assured our teams that<br />

they are not expected to advocate for domestic violence prevention, but to<br />

recognize, respond, and refer customers who may need domestic violence<br />

supportive services in addition to child support services.<br />

Family Safety Questionnaire<br />

We introduced a family safety screening questionnaire and<br />

trained employees to administer it to every customer orally.<br />

"The family safety questionnaire is a very important first step<br />

to aid customers,” said Child Support Services Officer Bradley<br />

LaCroix. “Sometimes I can sense customers hesitate to<br />

answer; perhaps they are considering certain experiences. Either way, I<br />

tend to err on the side of caution and apply an NDI [non-disclosure<br />

indicator].”<br />

Employees have expanded their knowledge extensively and engaged with<br />

the training, asking clarifying questions, gaining a greater understanding,

and seeking guidance as needed on specific cases. “They use the<br />

questionnaire to recognize potential issues, respond by updating the<br />

system ensuring all safety protocols are in place, and use the resources<br />

that list supportive agencies by location to refer those in need,” said<br />

Training Officer Rosaura Barrett.<br />

Non-Disclosure Indicator (NDI)<br />

If the outcome of the questionnaire indicates any form of<br />

violence, the employee adds the NDI to the case in our case<br />

management system, ATLAS. As part of the enhancements<br />

in 2018, ATLAS was updated to display the NDI more clearly<br />

on customers’ cases. Employees now see several warning<br />

messages alerting them to proceed with caution if the NDI is activated and<br />

family violence may be a concern with one or both parties. The additional<br />

warning screens have been effective, and our teams know how to respond<br />

appropriately.<br />

Domestic Violence Training<br />

The training prepares employees to recognize, respond, and<br />

refer individuals who may be experiencing violence at home.<br />

The DCSS Office of Professional Development partnered with<br />

the Office of Child Support Services and the Arizona Coalition<br />

to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (ACESDV) to develop<br />

training. Representatives from ACESDV participate in classes by answering<br />

trainees’ questions and providing referral resources.<br />

Safe Spaces, Self-Care, and Personal Growth<br />

Our training officers are skilled at creating a safe space. “It’s<br />

rewarding to know I have succeeded at creating the space<br />

necessary for a learner to self-disclose,” explained Rosaura.<br />

“Helping families to safety is deeply fulfilling.”<br />

The classes can be triggering for some employees. “Navigating the feelings<br />

it brought to the surface was difficult at times, but overall the training taught<br />

us how to appropriately handle domestic violence conditions both with<br />

customers and, honestly, outside the workplace as well," said Bradley. At<br />

the end of the classes, DCSS Training Officer Leticia Colbey encourages

the team to practice self-care that evening. She invites them to reflect on<br />

things that bring them joy, such as hugging loved ones.<br />

“The DV education has<br />

changed my perspective of<br />

why it can take so long for<br />

victims to leave and why<br />

they sometimes return to<br />

the place where violence<br />

could happen again.”<br />

– Leticia Colbey<br />

Leticia teaches the domestic violence<br />

classes monthly. “The DV education has<br />

changed my perspective of why it can take<br />

so long for victims to leave and why they<br />

sometimes return to the place where<br />

violence could happen again,” said Leticia.<br />

“I learned that not every DV survivor has<br />

some place they can go, and some have no<br />

one in this world but the DV perpetrator,”<br />

she said. With her new perspective, instead<br />

of advising a survivor to leave, Leticia asks<br />

“What can I do to help?”<br />

“Personally, instructing DV training has improved my understanding…I’m<br />

more knowledgeable about how to engage in conversations with survivors<br />

without being intrusive and provide affirmations, empowerment, respect<br />

and, of course, lots of love,” Rosaura said.<br />

When new employees join DCSS, they take the DV training and gain<br />

access to resources they can use to refer customers to safety as needed.<br />

Jonell Sullivan is the Operations Administrator over Compliance and Financials for the Department of<br />

Economic Security, Division of Child Support Services. Jonell led the team in transforming how Arizona<br />

child support cases are processed when domestic violence is a concern.

Congress Shines a Light on<br />

Federal Tax Information and the<br />

Child Support Program<br />

by Jim Fleming, Tom Joseph, Diane Potts,<br />

Susan Smith, Bryan Tribble, and Vicki Turetsky<br />

On November 29, 2023, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means<br />

Committee convened a joint meeting of the Work and Welfare and<br />

Oversight Subcommittees. The announcement of the hearing listed the<br />

topic as “Strengthening the Child Support Enforcement Program for States<br />

and Tribes” and later described the hearing as pertaining to “Child Support<br />

Enforcement and the Internal Revenue Code.”<br />

Widely believed to be the first Congressional hearing on child support in<br />

more than 20 years, <strong>CSQ</strong> committee member and former <strong>NCSEA</strong><br />

President Diane Potts interviewed four witnesses who testified at the<br />

hearing, as well as <strong>NCSEA</strong>’s advocate Tom Joseph.<br />

Tom, the House has not yet introduced legislation in this area. Is it<br />

common to hold a hearing without a bill to discuss?<br />

The House and Senate hold hearings throughout the year on a<br />

wide range of topics in which there is a federal interest. The<br />

majority party determines what issues will be heard and<br />

identifies most of the witnesses. At times, hearings are political, with the<br />

majority party deciding that an issue, regardless of whether a bill is<br />

introduced, is of interest to the public and may be framed to garner<br />

support for the majority party’s views. Most hearings, however, either set<br />

the stage for future legislation or are conducted to obtain input on a bill<br />

already introduced.<br />

Witnesses are key to the hearing process. Based on their testimony and<br />

the following question and answer period, the committee of jurisdiction<br />

over the issue (here, House Ways and Means) uses the hearing to<br />

determine how a future or existing bill should be written or amended to<br />

achieve the desired policy. Representatives and senators consider the

witnesses to be experts on the subject at hand. Opening statements by<br />

committee members and their questions of witnesses also provide<br />

insight into the support or opposition to the issue among the committee<br />

members.<br />

If the majority party decides that legislation is necessary to address the<br />

issue, it will schedule a time for a markup of the draft bill. Before the<br />

markup, sponsors of the bill often cite supporting testimony from the<br />

legislative hearing, along with comments filed after the hearing, that<br />

helped them draft the bill and support their position. The markup then<br />

proceeds with amendments (‘marks’) to make changes to the underlying<br />

bill. Once approved, the legislation will go to the floor for debate.<br />

Thank you, Tom, for that very helpful background! Now, let’s hear from four<br />

of the witnesses at the hearing: Vicki Turetsky, Jim Fleming, Sue Smith,<br />

and Bryan Tribble. First question: what went through your mind when<br />

you were first asked to testify?<br />

I was honored and hesitant at the same time. I am semi-retired<br />

now and thought I had put all of that behind me. But I<br />

appreciated the opportunity to stand up for the child support<br />

program. During my time in office, I worked extensively with the IRS to<br />

resolve FTI audit issues under section 6103. We also urged that<br />

Congress include direct tribal tax offset authority as part of the 2014<br />

FPLS tribal access legislation proposed by the Obama administration.<br />

I was excited that the tribal parity/contractor issue was getting so<br />

much attention from Congress. I was also glad for the chance to<br />

tell Congress about the tribal consortium that North Dakota<br />

helps, and how that innovative project has been suspended because of<br />

a similar change in the IRS’s position on disclosures.<br />

There were a host of thoughts, mostly centered around whether<br />

this was something of which I was capable, whether I was the<br />

best person to speak regarding something as critical as federal<br />

tax information to so many families served by the states, tribes, and<br />

territories, etc. Then, after I received permission from my leadership and<br />

our Governor’s Office, it became a reality that this was something I was<br />

going to do. So, I began preparing.

I was asked to testify on Monday afternoon, just two days before<br />

the hearing. I felt I was not the expert from my office who should<br />

have been testifying, but I was chosen to stand in for the most<br />

knowledgeable person in our Tribal Offset Partnership program, who<br />

was injured and unable to fly.<br />

Above: Child support witnesses testifying at the Work and Welfare and Oversight<br />

Subcommittees hearing on child support enforcement. Front row (left to right): Vicki Turetsky,<br />

Independent Consultant; Jim Fleming, Child Support Director, State of North Dakota; Bryan<br />

Tribble, IV-D Administrator, State of Illinois; Susan Smith, Director, Lac Courte Oreilles Child<br />

Support Program; and Marley Corbine, mother. Back row (left to right): Tom Joseph, Vice<br />

President and Managing Partner, Paragon Government Relations; Lisa Skenandore, Systems<br />

and Methods, Inc.; and Tish Keahna Kruzan, Lac Courte Oreilles Child Support Program.<br />

Can you describe the speaker selection process that you<br />

experienced?<br />

A group of folks from NTCSA, NCCSD, and <strong>NCSEA</strong> were<br />

included in a string of emails with committee staff following a<br />

virtual meeting on November 14. One of the committee staff<br />

replied to me a few days later asking if I would be available on<br />

November 29 in Washington DC. Since the hearing was still tentative, I<br />

was asked not to tell anyone about the possibility of the hearing. After<br />

that, I had a few emails with committee staff and a call from committee<br />

staff the day before the hearing. At some point, I was advised I was the<br />

majority’s witness, which felt strange since I really hadn’t perceived this<br />

as a partisan issue.

I exchanged a series of emails with staff, then had a meeting to<br />

provide them with my perspective on the issue and explain how<br />

it would impact the families of Illinois. After that, I was told of the<br />

possibility of the hearing. So, I started to work through the approval<br />

process.<br />

As I mentioned, I was a last-minute substitute for another person<br />

from my office.<br />

I was asked to be the witness for the minority Members. I have<br />

worked with the committee staff for 25 years and got a phone<br />

call just before Thanksgiving.<br />

How did you prepare?<br />

I went back through many emails, meeting minutes, etc., that we<br />

have had on this topic over the last year or so. I first reached out<br />

to directors who have been on the front lines of this issue to get<br />

information and direction as to what would resonate. Then, I worked with<br />

our state staff to obtain relative data in an attempt to be able to provide<br />

compelling data and reviewed relevant laws, regulations, and guidance.<br />

I drafted my prepared remarks, compiled a few other possible talking<br />

points, and finally met with my leadership to ensure their goals were met<br />

as well.<br />

I worked with the NTCSA’s Legislative Committee (Tish Keahna,<br />

Lisa Skenandore) to rework the previously prepared testimony to<br />

fit my testifying instead.<br />

I knew Jim, Bryan, and Sue would do a great job laying out the<br />

specifics of the FTI issue. I had a different role in mind for<br />

myself–to help translate child support to the tax world. It was a<br />

joint committee hearing, with many members and their staff having<br />

limited familiarity with the child support program and the important<br />

income support it provides to families. I thought the committee members<br />

might want more context and knew I had only five minutes to give oral<br />

testimony. But I had a method–once I had written my testimony, I<br />

chopped it down to three triple-spaced pages. I tried to distill my written<br />

testimony to make three points: (1) child support is a major income<br />

source for families with limited income; (2) the child support program is

inter-jurisdictional; and (3) the program’s core is secure data<br />

management.<br />

At first, it was just a possibility of a hearing, so I did my best to<br />

get some other stuff done. By the Tuesday before Thanksgiving,<br />

it was pretty clear that the hearing was going to happen, so I<br />

asked myself how I would explain this complicated issue to my own<br />

legislature and started typing. After stealing as much time as I could to<br />

work on my testimony while hosting Thanksgiving, I shared my draft with<br />

folks from NTCSA, <strong>NCSEA</strong>, and NCCSD on Sunday afternoon. They<br />

gave me some great feedback very quickly so I could submit my<br />

testimony by the deadline of 48 hours before the hearing. After hitting<br />

“send” on the written remarks, I started reading my testimony out loud<br />

and removing material until I could get my verbal remarks in under five<br />

minutes. It was a tough editing task, but it prepared me well for the<br />

hearing.<br />

What made you more nervous beforehand–developing and delivering<br />

your prepared remarks? Or the Q&A? Was it easier or more difficult<br />

than you imagined?<br />

I really did not have enough time to prepare. Also, one of the<br />

questions I was asked I had heard before. But when I was asked<br />

the question, it became intertwined with a different question. I<br />

was uncertain what the representative was trying to ask of me, and it<br />

was hard for me to answer.<br />

Before I served as OCSS commissioner, I had a long career as<br />

a national policy advocate. I spent a lot of time on the hill and<br />

had previously worked on legislation with a few of the Committee<br />

Members. I’ve testified about 25 times before Congressional and state<br />

committees. But the last time I testified before a Congressional<br />

committee was more than 13 years ago, and I have turned down most<br />

public speaking requests since leaving OCSS. I am shy, to begin with,<br />

and I was nervous that I was out of practice and that my public speaking<br />

skills were rusty. But once I got started, I was comfortable. Q & A is<br />

always a wild card, but I had tried to prepare for questions ahead of<br />


Preparing the remarks because it is so hard to explain a<br />

complicated issue like this, knowing you have to be brief and<br />

concise in your written testimony and only get five minutes to<br />

testify. Getting down to five minutes was much harder than I imagined.<br />

The Q&A was easier by comparison.<br />

Easily it was delivering the prepared remarks. I started to have a<br />

bit of a panic attack as everything first got underway. Once I<br />

convinced myself that all I had to do was read, I breathed a little<br />

and began to calm down. I think the whole experience was probably<br />

easier than I imagined. When I began speaking, and following the lead<br />

of the other amazing people with whom I was so fortunate to be able to<br />

work that day, it became easier. There may have even been a covert fist<br />

bump under the table, and it really did become kind of fun.<br />

When you look back on that day, what are a few things that stick in<br />

your mind?<br />

I enjoyed reconnecting with hill staff, reuniting with long-time<br />

colleagues, and meeting Marley Corbine, who gave<br />

Congressional Members a clear-eyed view of how withholding<br />

FTI access has harmed tribal families. I especially appreciated Rep.<br />

Gwen Moore’s emphasis on the importance of providing tribal parity for<br />

direct tax offset authority. I also appreciated the bipartisan atmosphere<br />

of the hearing and happily greeted Committee Members, including<br />

Minority Leader Danny Davis and Rep. Moore, both of whom have such<br />

long legislative records of supporting families.<br />

"My career started on Capitol Hill... felt a little like I had<br />

come full circle. As nervous as I was... the warm support<br />

from colleagues before and after the hearing was amazing."<br />

- Jim Fleming<br />

It was a day full of reflection. My career started on Capitol Hill in<br />

August 1989, so it felt a little like I had come full circle. My late<br />

dad and uncle loved politics and probably would have flown out<br />

with me – they were certainly there in spirit. As nervous as I was about

speaking on behalf of the whole child support program at such an<br />

important hearing, the warm support from colleagues before and after the<br />

hearing was amazing. And there may have been an under-the-table fist<br />

bump at one point.<br />

How nervous I was that day is definitely at the top. After that was<br />

the outpouring of well wishes and support I received before the<br />

hearing. Then, there were the congratulatory emails after. I know<br />

we talk about the community and teamwork there is within our small<br />

world of child support, but it is so very true. The level of support I<br />

received and the kindness that was extended, before, during, and<br />

after… all I can say is thank you! It truly meant more to me than any of<br />

you will ever know. On a personal note, I learned that testifying before<br />

Congress was a bucket list item I never knew I had.<br />

What a great job Jim Fleming, Bryan Tribble, Vicki Turetsky, and<br />

Marley Corbine did. I felt there was no congressional<br />

representative who was objecting to fixing the need for Direct<br />

Federal Tax Offset for Tribal Child Support Programs or to the clarifying<br />

of Contractor language for States and Tribes. I felt several of the<br />

Congressional Representatives and their staff who I talked to were<br />

sincere in their efforts going forward to get this done.<br />

Do you think the hearing was effective? What would make it a<br />

successful hearing?<br />

Yes, from the responses and body language of the<br />

subcommittee members, it seemed clear that they were learning<br />

helpful information and saw a problem they wanted to fix. What<br />

would make it a successful hearing? Just the attention to the issue and<br />

having each subcommittee member speak on the record in favor of<br />

strengthening the child support program and fixing the tribal parity and<br />

contractor issues.<br />

I feel that it was very effective. Our role was to succinctly provide<br />

information and details to lawmakers who are in a position to<br />

provide our programs and the families we serve with a remedy<br />

for the current issue that would seriously and negatively impact so<br />

many. What would make it a successful hearing? Ultimately, the

“success” is out of our hands. It will truly be a success when the issue<br />

no longer exists, and no family is being negatively impacted.<br />

Yes, I feel the hearing was effective. It put urgency on the need<br />

for Congress to fix this problem. Success comes when Congress<br />

passes the legislation needed to fix the need for Direct Federal<br />

Tax Offset for Tribal Child Support Programs and to clarify contractor<br />

access for States and Tribes.<br />

I do. Ultimately, the success of a hearing like this is effective<br />

storytelling: Parents and children count on child support, and<br />

they will lose out with narrowed FTI access. Conveying the<br />

human impact of something as dry as section 6103 was as important as<br />

describing the technical issues. I think the hearing was educational,<br />

successfully communicating the importance of child support and the<br />

urgency of continued FTI access for real families. I also think we were<br />

able to convey that the child support program has a strong culture of<br />

information confidentiality and security that holds protection of tax and<br />

other personal data to the highest standards. I think Members came<br />

away from the hearing understanding that narrowed FTI access means<br />

that state and federal costs would skyrocket to maintain the same level<br />

of program effectiveness–and that many states would be unable to<br />

comply.<br />

Would you do it again?<br />

Absolutely!<br />

"This hearing also places a light on the urgency for Congress<br />

to pass a bill... to ensure all Tribal and State Child Support<br />

agencies are able to continue to serve children and families."<br />

- Susan Smith<br />

Yes, most definitely. I feel it was an important step in solving this<br />

issue. This hearing also sheds light on the urgency for Congress<br />

to pass a bill to make the changes necessary to ensure all Tribal

and State Child Support agencies can continue to serve children and<br />

families.<br />

Yes, if I thought it could contribute and add value and bring a<br />

specific perspective, I’d be honored. But I am definitely ready to<br />

pass the baton!<br />

In a heartbeat. I love talking to legislators about child support<br />

and sharing what key partners they can be in strengthening the<br />

program for families. I usually only get to do that with my state<br />

legislature, but if Congress gives us the chance to talk about improving<br />

the program, we should definitely take advantage of that opportunity.<br />

Meet David! The true star of the November 29 Congressional<br />

hearing was David, son of witness Marley Corbine. According<br />

to his mom, David loves playing peek-a-boo, being sung to,<br />

cuddles, and bath time. He is almost rolling over! What a great<br />

example of the millions of children served by the Child<br />

Support program every day.<br />

Thank you all for sharing with us your experience as Congressional<br />

witnesses. One last question–did you have a favorite moment during<br />

the hearing?

It was seeing the awesome young mother, Marley Corbine, with<br />

her baby there to testify before the Congressional Committees.<br />

Well, we all were smitten with Marley’s baby in the audience. I<br />

also loved how Bryan lit up when he described his state’s<br />

innovative policies like 100% family payments. I felt so proud of<br />

the dedication and accomplishments of the three child support directors<br />

on the panel with me–and missed being in the fray.<br />

I like Vicki’s word–we were smitten with Marley’s baby, David. I<br />

could not have imagined ahead of time how impactful it was to<br />

have a young child in the room whose receipt of child support<br />

hinged on whether the committee changed federal law to give tribes<br />

access to FTI. It was very powerful. For the grandparents on the<br />

subcommittees, it probably verged on being irresistible.<br />

I have devoted my entire professional career to serving in the<br />

Illinois child support program. Hearing Illinois referred to as a<br />

“leader” by members of the subcommittee and knowing that my<br />

friends and co-workers would hear this too, made me proud of what we<br />

have been able to accomplish together as a team and what more we will<br />

achieve for the families of our great state.<br />

I would like to close by congratulating all of you on representing the child<br />

support community well on an important issue.<br />

Jim Fleming is the director of the Child Support Section of the North Dakota Department of Health and<br />

Human Services, Immediate Past President of the National Child Support Engagement Association<br />

(<strong>NCSEA</strong>), member of the Board of Directors for the Western Intergovernmental Child Support Engagement<br />

Council (WICSEC), and former President of the National Council of Child Support Directors (NCCSD). Jim<br />

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

Policy and Practice Committee, and a member of the NCCSD Executive Committee and the editorial<br />

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

Collaboration Committee. In 2023, Jim was given a Partnership Award for Professional Excellence from the<br />

National Tribal Child Support Association. Jim was named the 2022 recipient of the American Payroll<br />

Association’s Government Partner Award. He received his B.A. from the University of North Dakota and his<br />

J.D. from Notre Dame Law School.

Tom Joseph has represented public sector clients in Washington, D.C., since the early 1980’s. He has<br />

advocated on behalf of <strong>NCSEA</strong> since 2010. Tom’s career began with the National Association of Counties<br />

(NACo), where he focused on health and human services issues. He later served as NACo’s deputy<br />

director of its legislative department, where he helped manage their lobbying efforts and federal policy<br />

development. Tom left NACo to help establish a Washington, DC, office for Los Angeles County, where he<br />

served full-time as the County’s deputy legislative director. Tom is now Vice President and Managing<br />

Partner at Paragon Government Relations. His firm represents a number of national and state public sector<br />

associations as well as individual county governments. A native Minnesotan and graduate of St. Olaf<br />

College and Duke University, Tom resides in Maryland with his wife Jennifer. As empty nesters, their dog<br />

Phoebe has become their transitional ‘child’ who joins them on their early morning runs.<br />

Diane Potts is the Child Support Lead Director on the National Strategy Team at CGI Technologies and<br />

Solutions Inc. Diane serves on the <strong>NCSEA</strong> Board of Directors and is co-chair of <strong>NCSEA</strong>’s Policy and<br />

Government Relations Committee as well as an <strong>NCSEA</strong> Past-President, past Secretary, and an Honorary<br />

Lifetime Member. Diane also is on the Board of Directors for the Eastern Regional Interstate Child Support<br />

Association (ERICSA) and currently serves as Vice President of Policy and Legislation. In May 2023, she<br />

was awarded ERICSA’s Intergovernmental Award. For six years, Diane was the Illinois Deputy Attorney<br />

General for Child Support. She was appointed as the official observer to the Uniform Law Commission’s<br />

amendment of the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) on <strong>NCSEA</strong>’s behalf and currently sits on the UPA’s<br />

Enactment Committee. In 2015, she received the Illinois Child Support Lifetime Achievement Award. Diane<br />

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

University of Illinois.<br />

Vicki Turetsky is an independent consultant to foundations, nonprofit organizations, and states, and has<br />

authored numerous publications. Between 2009 and 2017, she served as commissioner for the federal<br />

Office of Child Support Services, leading efforts to adopt evidence-based and family-centered policies,<br />

practices, and research that prioritize family well-being, parent engagement, and program equity.<br />

Previously, Ms. Turetsky was the family policy director for the Washington, DC-based Center for Law and<br />

Social Policy (CLASP). She also held positions in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, Minnesota<br />

Department of Human Services, MDRC, and Union County Legal Services in New Jersey. She is a former<br />

<strong>NCSEA</strong> board member, actively participated in the policy and conference planning committees, and wrote a<br />

monthly Congressional update column for the Child Support Quarterly for many years. Her work has been<br />

recognized by the Burton Awards (in association with the Library of Congress and American Bar<br />

Association), the National Child Support Engagement Association, the National Tribal Child Support<br />

Association, the Administration for Children and Families, the State of Minnesota, the Annie E. Casey<br />

Foundation, and other organizations. She received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota and her J.D.<br />

from the University of Chicago Law School in 1982.<br />

Susan Smith is currently the Director of the Lac Courte Oreilles Child Support Program. She is a past<br />

President of the National Association of Tribal Child Support Directors and former chair of the IRS-<br />

Legislative Committee. Sue currently serves on the NTCSA Board. She has served on the H.H.S. Assistant<br />

Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee. Sue's work history includes Instructor for Professional Development<br />

and Business Ethics at the Lac Courte Oreilles Community College; Lac Courte Oreilles Coordinator for the<br />

Coordinated Services Teams; Oversight of the Lac Courte Oreilles Income Maintenance Program; Director<br />

for the Dallas Early Learning Center; Quality Control Trainer for Hutchinson Technology; Supervisor/Trainer

for Cray Research. Sue has a bachelor's in business administration and is a graduate of Leadership 21<br />

through Cooperative, State, Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES).<br />

Bryan Tribble, with over two decades of dedicated service in various capacities within the Illinois<br />

Department of Healthcare and Family Services–Division of Child Support Services (CSS), boasts a rich<br />

background in policy development, administration, and leadership. His journey as an accountant<br />

commenced in 2001, evolving swiftly to spearhead pivotal projects like the Professional and Recreational<br />

License Revocation and the Administrative Driver’s License Suspension. Passionate about merging child<br />

support expertise with research and implementation, Bryan transitioned to managerial roles in policy,<br />

eventually assuming the helm as the IV-D Administrator for the State of Illinois in 2021. Throughout his<br />

tenure, Bryan actively contributed to the Illinois Family Support Enforcement Association (IFSEA), holding<br />

multiple leadership positions and continuing his involvement as an appointed director. Nationally, he<br />

participated in various capacities within the National Child Support Engagement Association (<strong>NCSEA</strong>),<br />

including committee roles focused on policy, government relations, and emerging issues. Bryan remains a<br />

committed member of the NCCSD Policy and Practice Committee, showcasing an enduring commitment to<br />

advancing child support policies and practices.

Behavioral Economics and Attracting<br />

Customers to the IV-D Program<br />

by Taylor Ashe, Policy Program Consultant - Program Initiatives,<br />

Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement<br />

In the book Nudge: The Final Edition, Nobel Prize in<br />

Economics winner Richard Thaler and author Cass<br />

Sunstein present a comprehensive introduction to<br />

behavioral economics for the individual,<br />

governments, and society as a whole. i Building off the<br />

comprehensive research on human decision-making<br />

pioneered by Daniel Kahneman, this book highlights<br />

how child support professionals can think of<br />

themselves as “choice architects” who are<br />

“responsible for organizing the context in which<br />

people make decisions” every time they build or<br />

engage in an interaction with parents. ii<br />

At the core of behavioral economics is the discovery that humans make<br />

decisions with countless biases at play. These biases are always present<br />

and inform the way we navigate websites, read email, or process and<br />

internalize advertising. Like the architects who design the built world, child<br />

support professionals have a range of tools available when designing<br />

interactions with potential customers that can help integrate biased human<br />

decision-making into an informed, easy, and pleasant choice architecture

experience. Some of the more powerful tools noted in Nudge and in much<br />

other behavioral economic research are described below:<br />

• Default options are powerful. In countless experiments, defaults<br />

have been found to be highly effective. iii The Texas Office of the<br />

Attorney General received a waiver from the federal Office of Child<br />

Support Services (OCSS) in 1996 that allowed the Texas Child<br />

Support Division to bypass the requirement that families must apply<br />

for IV-D services and pay a fee unless the child is receiving certain<br />

federally-funded benefits. With this waiver, Texas enacted a program<br />

that automatically enrolled all new child support orders in divorce<br />

cases into the IV-D program in counties that chose to participate.<br />

These families could opt out if they chose to, but the default option<br />

was automatic enrollment. An evaluation of this program showed it<br />

was effective; it increased the IV-D caseload and improved<br />

collections. iv After allowing this program to operate for many years,<br />

OCSS eventually terminated the waiver in 2021. Since then, the<br />

Texas Division of Child Support has implemented a streamlined<br />

application process for parties in divorce cases who want to opt into<br />

IV-D services in those counties that participated in the waiver.<br />

• Humans are social creatures. There are countless ways in which<br />

the actions of others who share aspects of identity (political affiliation,<br />

parenthood status, job, etc.) have a profound effect on the decisions<br />

humans make. Language such as, “Parents who work full-time like<br />

you…” can be powerful ways to increase customer engagement.<br />

• Give feedback during a decision-making event. Indicators such as<br />

a progress bar showing how much is left on an online application or<br />

green checkmarks next to the correct format for email addresses and<br />

phone numbers provide real-time feedback to customers and<br />

encourage their decision to continue.<br />

• Describe the result of a choice as a real-world outcome. For<br />

example: “By checking this box, a Family Violence Indicator (FVI) will<br />

be placed on your account for you and your dependents. This will<br />

ensure that none of your personal identifiable information including<br />

address or phone number are shared with the other parent.”

While these are powerful tools that can be used to improve a potential<br />

customer’s experience, considerable thought should be given to the ethical<br />

dimensions surrounding choice architecture. Thaler and Sunstein note that<br />

the purpose of their exploration of “nudges” is to encourage “efforts…to<br />

steer people’s choices in directions that improve their lives.” v In all choice<br />

architecture and interaction design, this purpose should always remain at<br />

the center.<br />

Great Customer Service is at the Heart of the Connection<br />

“Great customer service<br />

means adapting to the<br />

needs of the current<br />

population…effective<br />

digital marketing can be a<br />

key resource in expanding<br />

knowledge about the child<br />

support system”<br />

Ensuring agencies are focused on<br />

providing great customer service is at the<br />

heart of connecting to current customers<br />

and drawing in new ones. In <strong>January</strong> 2023,<br />

the Urban Institute (UI) released a brief<br />

entitled “Improvements in Public Programs’<br />

Customer Service Experiences Could<br />

Better Meet Enrollees’ Needs and Help<br />

Build Trust in Government.” The brief<br />

centered on follow-up research from the<br />

December 2021 Urban Institute Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey, and<br />

interviewed 27 nonelderly adults who had applied for or received TANF<br />

cash assistance at that time and reported an enrollment challenge. While<br />

focused specifically on TANF and Medicaid/CHIP enrollees, the brief<br />

provides broad lessons that can be applied to customer service<br />

experiences across all government service programs, including child<br />

support.<br />

First, educating this specific demographic of their eligibility and the benefits<br />

of the child support program is important. UI researchers highlighted that<br />

potential customers learn about programs and eligibility requirements<br />

through various sources, including other public programs or fellow<br />

applicants, with most applying on their own. In addition, a study by the Pew<br />

Research Center in late 2018 showed that 81% of Americans “rely a lot on<br />

their own research,” and that Google was the single most commonlynamed<br />

digital tool vi . Digital marketing complements the idea of meeting<br />

customers where they are. Great customer service means adapting to the<br />

needs of the current population, so effective digital marketing can be a key

esource in expanding knowledge about the child support system to those<br />

who are unaware of the services they could receive.<br />

UI researchers identified four common challenges applying for, enrolling in,<br />

and renewing Medicaid/CHIP or TANF:<br />

• Difficulty finding information about how to complete the application;<br />

• Unclear documentation requirements;<br />

• Long waiting periods and tight timelines to submit documentation;<br />

and<br />

• Frustrating renewal process.<br />

Ultimately, these challenges triggered delays in getting assistance and had<br />

“negative consequences on [customers’] lives”. vii Utilizing behavioral<br />

economics to make it easy for potential customers is directly in line with the<br />

first three of the researchers’ primary suggestions for improving customer<br />

service: reduce paperwork requirements; increase automatic<br />

enrollment/joint applications between programs; and improve state agency<br />

websites and online application systems. viii Great customer service means<br />

clearing unnecessary blockages in the application process and streamlining<br />

the customer’s experience to include as few pages, or clicks, as possible.<br />

While all of these suggestions may not be applicable in every scenario,<br />

respecting the busy lives that customers lead reiterates the child support<br />

program’s commitment to customers’ value and participation.<br />

The last and perhaps the most powerful findings from UI indicate the<br />

impact of being nice. Respondents explained to researchers that applying<br />

for public programs can feel “overwhelming” and “stressful,” in addition to<br />

feeling stigmatizing. ix In this vulnerable state, customers were especially<br />

sensitive to the perceived judgments of staff and caseworkers. This aligns<br />

with findings that have emerged from behavioral research highlighting the<br />

long shadow cast over decision-making by the experience and memory of<br />

first impressions, known as the “primary effect.” x These findings also<br />

parallel the digital marketing grants’ results indicating that “judgment-free”<br />

marketing campaigns connected more effectively with potential customers.<br />

This research implores child support leaders to take to heart the Urban<br />

Institute’s suggestions to improve customer service by “hiring and training<br />

staff to be empathetic, nonjudgmental, and committed to resolving<br />

applicants’ questions and issues” xi to ensure the emotional needs of our

customers are not forgotten. Potential customers will remember how they<br />

felt on that first phone call, or the language on their first online application,<br />

and it’s imperative that child support professionals put their most<br />

compassionate foot forward from the beginning.<br />

Conclusion & Practical Tips for Attracting Customers to the IV-D<br />

Program<br />

Behavioral economics suggest that child support agencies<br />

can attract potential customers by making it easy for them to<br />

apply and giving them great customer service. Even with all<br />

the digital ways to communicate with current customers and<br />

potential customers, many still prefer traditional ways of<br />

communicating, such as phone calls and face-to-face<br />

appointments. The best way to engage potential customers is to<br />

communicate with them in their preferred way and to continuously improve<br />

the ways the child support program offers services, promotes programs,<br />

and communicates with customers. In addition to targeting a specific<br />

audience, to achieve the best results agencies must keep in mind that<br />

marketing messages should reflect the social and economic context in<br />

which potentially eligible clients live.<br />

i<br />

Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, (2021) Nudge: The Final Edition<br />

ii<br />

Thaler and Sunstein, 3<br />

iii<br />

Ibid., 11<br />

iv<br />

Daniel Schroeder and Ashweeta Patnaik (2016) Texas Integrated Child Support System: Final Evaluation Report Ray Marshall Center,<br />

University of Texas at Austin.<br />

https://sites.utexas.edu/raymarshallcenter/files/2016/10/ICSS_Local-Rule_Final_Sep2016.pdf<br />

v<br />

Thaler and Sunstein, 3<br />

vi<br />

https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2020/03/05/most-americans-rely-on-their-own-research-to-make-big-decisions-and-that-oftenmeans-online-searches/<br />

vii<br />

https://www.urban.org/research/publication/improvements-public-programs-customer-service-experiences, 3<br />

viii<br />

Ibid.<br />

ix<br />

Ibid., 13<br />

x<br />

APA Dictionary of Psychology, Primacy Effect https://dictionary.apa.org/primacy-effects<br />

xi<br />

https://www.urban.org/research/publication/improvements-public-programs-customer-service-experiences, 3<br />

Taylor Ashe is a Policy Program Consultant for the Program Initiatives team with the Virginia Division of<br />

Child Support Enforcement. He started with the agency in February of 2021 and currently serves as the<br />

Project Manager for Virginia’s Safe Access for Victims’ Economic Security (SAVES) demonstration grant.<br />

Taylor’s interests in research design, data analysis, and critical theory keep him busy reading about,<br />

designing, and implementing human-centered services that reflect the needs of the citizens he serves.<br />

Taylor has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Georgia.

Texas Succeeds in Extending New Hire<br />

Reporting Requirements to Rideshare Drivers<br />

by Joel Rogers, Associate Deputy Attorney General for Child<br />

Support Legal Services, Texas Office of the Attorney General<br />

In 2021, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 458, which<br />

specifically clarified that rideshare companies operating in Texas must<br />

comply with the state’s new hire reporting requirements for their<br />

independent contractor drivers. Upon enactment by the Governor, this<br />

legislation, combined with collaboration among the Texas Title IV-D agency,<br />

the Office of the Attorney General – Child Support Division (OAG-CSD),<br />

and one major rideshare company, has generated millions of dollars in new<br />

child support collections through income withholding for Texas families.<br />

As a bit of background, Texas law has historically defined compensation<br />

paid to independent contractors as “earnings” and specified that “earnings”<br />

are the basis of guideline child support calculations and are subject to<br />

income withholding for child support. However, the term “earnings” was not<br />

used in the state’s statutes related to new hire reporting requirements,<br />

which just referred to traditional employment terms like “employer” and<br />

“employee.”<br />

In 2015, the Texas Legislature attempted to address this issue by<br />

expanding the definition of “employee” in the new hire reporting laws to<br />

include “individuals hired as independent contractors.” However, other<br />

language in the state’s new hire reporting statutes still utilized terms like<br />

“employer,” “newly hired,” and “rehired,” which still seemed to apply

primarily to traditional W-2 employees and<br />

not to independent contractors earning<br />

compensation through the gig economy,<br />

such as rideshare or delivery drivers.<br />

As a result, this initial legislative change did<br />

not significantly increase new hire reporting<br />

by companies utilizing independent<br />

contractors. Specifically, this approach did<br />

not seem effective in compelling rideshare<br />

companies to utilize new hire reporting for<br />

their independent contractor drivers. For<br />

“The Texas child support<br />

program strives to be a<br />

leader in engaging with<br />

companies and individuals<br />

who operate in the gig<br />

economy to ensure that they<br />

comply with child support<br />

laws and that support<br />

obligations get paid.”<br />

example, in the six-month period before the legislative change, the OAG-<br />

CSD received only 27 new hire reports from one of the major national<br />

rideshare companies, all related to their full-time equivalent employees.<br />

When HB 458 was filed by Representative Matt Shaheen in 2021, its stated<br />

purpose was to remedy a concern that Texas’ statutes related to income<br />

withholding and new hire reporting did not adequately address child<br />

support collections for those working for “transportation network<br />

companies” or “certain technology platforms used for deliveries.” A<br />

rideshare company was termed a “transportation network company” under<br />

existing Texas law, defined as an “entity that for compensation, enables a<br />

passenger to prearrange with a driver, exclusively through the entity’s<br />

digital network, a digitally prearranged ride.”

HB 458 addressed this issue by ensuring that the new hire reporting<br />

requirements for Texas employers also applied to rideshare and similar<br />

type delivery companies that employ large numbers of gig economy<br />

workers. It did this by simply clarifying the definition of four statutory terms<br />

that applied to the state’s new hire reporting program:<br />

• “Earnings” was defined to include compensation from a<br />

transportation network company and compensation from a person<br />

that operates a technology platform used to make deliveries to<br />

customers;<br />

• “Employee” was defined to include a driver who logs in to the digital<br />

network of a transportation network company, regardless of whether<br />

the driver is considered an independent contractor, and an individual<br />

who logs in to or otherwise uses a technology platform to make<br />

deliveries for compensation;<br />

• “Employer” was defined to include a transportation network<br />

company and a person who operates a technology platform used to<br />

make deliveries to customers; and<br />

• “Newly Hired Employee” was defined to include individuals who<br />

receive “earnings” from the employer and who might not strictly be<br />

employed, hired, or rehired in the traditional sense.<br />

Clarifying that rideshare and<br />

similar type companies were<br />

required under state law to<br />

report their independent<br />

contractor drivers to the OAG-<br />

CSD’s State Directory of New<br />

Hires would then help facilitate<br />

the issuance of automated<br />

income withholding orders<br />

(IWOs) to the companies to<br />

withhold any court-ordered<br />

child support obligations from compensation paid to their drivers.<br />

Upon enactment of the new law, but prior to its effective date of September<br />

1, 2021, one major rideshare company, Lyft, immediately reached out to the<br />

OAG-CSD to seek guidance to ensure that their company could be in

compliance with the clarified new hire reporting requirements that now<br />

clearly applied to their 1099 independent contractor drivers. The OAG-<br />

CSD’s Employment Services team began meeting with Lyft weekly to work<br />

out logistical issues related to new hire reporting and income withholding<br />

for their drivers. These weekly meetings continued for six months, well past<br />

the law’s effective date.<br />

Some of the issues addressed during the OAG-CSD’s collaboration with<br />

Lyft were:<br />

• Data/file transfer protocols for the state’s employer portal;<br />

• Changes to the portal to create a new identification code for<br />

independent contractors; and<br />

• Instruction on how to properly respond electronically to National<br />

Medical Support Notices that might now be generated to Lyft for<br />

some of their drivers by the state’s automated child support system.<br />

Lyft also made internal processing changes to<br />

reroute IWOs for their drivers from their Payroll<br />

Department to their Accounts Payable<br />

Department since that department pays the<br />

drivers. The OAG-CSD then worked with Lyft’s<br />

Accounts Payable team, which lacked experience processing IWOs, by<br />

providing instruction on properly calculating withholding amounts from<br />

drivers’ periodic earnings, which optionally can be paid to some drivers as<br />

often as daily, including addressing the maximum withholding limits.<br />

Once the law took effect, the impact of both the legislative change and the<br />

OAG-CSD’s collaboration with Lyft was readily apparent. Comparing<br />

numbers for state fiscal year (SFY) 2022 (the year following the effective<br />

date of the legislative change) to the prior year, in SFY 2021:<br />

• IWOs to Lyft increased from 119 per year to almost 10,000 per year<br />

(the monthly average increased from 10 to 828);<br />

• Total yearly collections from Lyft increased from $227,000 to almost<br />

$9.2 million (averaging over $765,000 per month); and<br />

• Total cases paying from Lyft increased from an average of 37 per<br />

month to almost 1,500 per month.

The ongoing successful impact of this legislation is also apparent in data<br />

compiled from the most recently completed state fiscal year. In SFY 2023,<br />

the OAG-CSD issued 7,428 income withholding orders for Lyft independent<br />

contractors and collected over $7.5 million in child support for Texas<br />

families.<br />

The table below compares SFY 2021 results to SFY 2023 results,<br />

illustrating the success the OAG-CSD has realized working with Lyft.<br />

$900,000<br />

$800,000<br />

$700,000<br />

Lyft Income Withholding Child Support<br />

Collections<br />

FY21/FY23 Comparison<br />

Collections<br />

$600,000<br />

$500,000<br />

$400,000<br />

$300,000<br />

$200,000<br />

$100,000<br />

$0<br />

Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July August<br />

Month<br />

FY21<br />

FY23<br />

The Texas child support program strives to be a leader in engaging with<br />

companies and individuals who operate in the gig economy to ensure that<br />

they comply with child support laws and that support obligations get paid. In<br />

the upcoming months, the OAG-CSD will work with other major companies<br />

in Texas that utilize rideshare or delivery drivers as independent contractors<br />

to improve compliance with the state’s new hire reporting requirements and<br />

increase the amount of support collected and distributed to families through<br />

IWOs. Fortunately, following its collaboration with the OAG-CSD, Lyft<br />

agreed to become a member of the agency’s Employer Task Force,

enabling them to be utilized as both a resource and an example when<br />

approaching other rideshare or delivery companies.<br />

Joel Rogers is the Associate Deputy Attorney General for Child Support Legal Services for the Texas<br />

Office of the Attorney General. In that role, he supervises over 300 Assistant Attorneys General and<br />

oversees all areas of legal practice for the Child Support Division. Mr. Rogers joined the Child Support<br />

Division in 1995 and has worked in several areas of the agency, serving in various senior management<br />

roles. Since 2011, Mr. Rogers has also served in a dual capacity as the Child Support Division’s legislative<br />

attorney, representing the Title IV-D agency at the State Capitol and in legislative hearings. Mr. Rogers<br />

graduated with a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1989 and received his J.D. from George<br />

Washington University Law School in 1992.

<strong>NCSEA</strong> <strong>2024</strong> Policy Forum Preview<br />

by Laura Galindo and Trish Skophammer,<br />

<strong>NCSEA</strong> <strong>2024</strong> Policy Forum Co-chairs<br />

We are excited to share a sneak peek into Policy Forum <strong>2024</strong>! This year’s<br />

theme is “Building Community, Centering Families, Advancing<br />

Equity,” and we’re offering some great plenaries that address working with<br />

the community, including the voices of those we serve and those with<br />

whom we partner, and understanding the impact on families when child<br />

support and other systems intersect.<br />

Child support and human services professionals from around the country<br />

will gather February 1-3 in Washington, D.C. for the annual Policy Forum.<br />

<strong>NCSEA</strong> continues to provide rich content, dynamic speakers, and an<br />

opportunity to network. We continue to move the child support program<br />

forward through listening and learning from one another.<br />

We set out to plan a conference that includes many voices, especially<br />

those we don’t hear from often enough. We also wanted to dig into how<br />

families are impacted when they are involved in multiple programs, and<br />

how we can do more to collaborate so that families thrive.<br />

On Thursday, we will hear from the federal Office of Child Support Services<br />

(OCSS) Commissioner, Tanguler Gray, about how OCSS has collaborated<br />

with other programs. Commissioner Gray will share achievements and<br />

lessons learned along the way. We will also hear about recent OCSS<br />

initiatives to support tribal child support programs and some preliminary<br />

information about the Advancing Equity in Child Support grant. Also on

Thursday, <strong>NCSEA</strong> President Erin Frisch will lead a discussion on the future<br />

of child support with staff from the Senate Committee on Finance and the<br />

House Committee on Ways and Means. We will learn about hot topics on<br />

the Hill and the initiatives and priorities that Congress is considering.<br />

“This conversation will help<br />

drive meaningful change to<br />

improve the lives of children<br />

and families.”<br />

The Thursday afternoon line-up includes a<br />

plenary on generative artificial intelligence<br />

(AI). AI has been front and center in the<br />

news recently, but what does it mean for<br />

government agencies, what questions and<br />

concerns are being discussed, and more<br />

importantly, how can this technology help to better serve child support<br />

clients/customers? Also on Thursday, we’ll learn about engaging the<br />

community, leveraging strengths and perspectives, and the grassroots<br />

connections that community-based organizations have with the people we<br />

serve. This conversation will help drive meaningful change to improve the<br />

lives of children and families.<br />

Friday morning starts with a conversation with the<br />

authors of The Injustice of Place: Uncovering the<br />

Legacy of Poverty in America. This session will give<br />

us a closer look at poverty in rural America,<br />

including the challenges these communities face<br />

and how the exploitation of resources has impacted<br />

them. Friday morning also includes a plenary on<br />

new and innovative approaches to employment<br />

services. We will learn how programs are taking a family-centered<br />

approach to employment services, and how our federal partners are<br />

supporting this approach.<br />

On Friday afternoon, we are excited to present<br />

Heather McGhee, author of The Sum of Us: What<br />

Racism Costs and How We Can Prosper Together.<br />

Heather’s presentation will be followed by a<br />

discussion-led session with President Frisch and<br />

Commissioner Gray. This is an exciting opportunity<br />

to learn how policies driven by structural racism

impact not just people of color but include real-life costs to everyone.<br />

Saturday morning opens with a plenary on<br />

tribal child support. Panelists include those<br />

with a deep understanding of the unique<br />

challenges and opportunities within tribal<br />

communities. We will learn why improving<br />

tribal child support involves collaboration<br />

and cultural sensitivity. The second<br />

“We will learn why<br />

improving tribal child<br />

support involves<br />

collaboration and cultural<br />

sensitivity.”<br />

session on Saturday, and the final session of the Policy Forum, will explore<br />

how policy development processes must evolve to gain a better<br />

understanding of the direct impact on families. We will learn best practices<br />

for including parents, guardians, and advocates to avoid unintended<br />

consequences.<br />

We look forward to seeing you in Washington, D.C. for the <strong>2024</strong> Policy<br />

Forum, where we will continue to learn, think about, and discuss policies<br />

and issues that influence the child support program. We hope you will join<br />

us on the continued journey to a world where every child receives reliable<br />

financial and emotional support.<br />

Laura Galindo is a Senior Consultant with CSG Government Solutions in the Child Support Practice. Prior<br />

to joining CSG Government Solutions in 2018, Laura served as the IV-D Director from December 2015<br />

through April 2018. She was tapped as the IV-D Director while serving as the Deputy IV-A Director over<br />

field operations. Laura worked for the State of New Mexico for over 29 years. Laura has been active in a<br />

wide range of <strong>NCSEA</strong> committees such as Legislative Education, CommuiQue (<strong>CSQ</strong>), Emerging Issues &<br />

Best Practices, Research, Audit, Nominating, Professional Development, Web-Talks, Leadership<br />

Symposium, and Policy Forum, and is currently on the Board of Directors.<br />

Dr. Trish Skophammer serves as the Child Support Services Division Director in the Ramsey County<br />

Attorney’s Office in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has 26 years of experience in child support. She has been<br />

involved in <strong>NCSEA</strong> for many years, co-chairing the Web-Talks committee, serving on the Leadership<br />

Symposium and Policy Forum planning committees, the Emerging Issues and Leading Practices<br />

subcommittee, and on the <strong>NCSEA</strong> Board as former Director. She actively participates in local associations<br />

and committees, delivering talks on diverse subjects at national, regional, and local events. In addition to<br />

her expertise in child support policy and practice, Trish’s expertise includes leadership topics such as<br />

performance management, strategic planning, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Trish has a master’s<br />

degree in organizational leadership from Bethel University and a doctorate in public administration from<br />

Hamline University.

Breaking the Mold: Exploring Non-Cash Child<br />

Support Options for Parental Empowerment<br />

by Karen Roye, Director, San Francisco Department of<br />

Child Support Services<br />

The welfare and well-being of children should always be a top priority in<br />

any separation or divorce. When parents part ways, it becomes crucial to<br />

establish a child support arrangement that ensures the child's needs are<br />

met. Traditionally, child support payments have been made in cash, but<br />

what if there were another way? What if parents had the freedom to choose<br />

how they contribute to their child's well-being?<br />

In recent years, a groundbreaking approach has emerged: non-cash child<br />

support court orders. This innovative concept allows parents to move away<br />

from traditional cash payments and instead consider alternative ways to<br />

provide for their children.<br />

With this knowledge in mind, the San Francisco Department of Child<br />

Support Services (SF DCSS) initiated an in-kind pilot program. This article<br />

details the motivations that prompted SF DCSS to pursue non-cash child<br />

support court orders. In 2023, The Urban Institute (UI) worked with SF<br />

DCSS to examine the department's pilot program, culminating in an indepth<br />

analysis published in July 2023.<br />

Access more detailed information concerning the pilot, including the entire<br />

text from the UI brief and a two-page fact sheet, by clicking the proceeding<br />

[linked] assets.

BRIEF<br />


Understanding Non-Cash Child Support Court Orders<br />

Before delving into the benefits and intricacies of non-cash child support<br />

court orders, it's essential to understand the limitations of traditional cash<br />

payments. While cash has been the go-to method, it may not always align<br />

with the child's needs. Cash payments can be restrictive and may not<br />

directly contribute to the child's well-being. This is where non-cash child<br />

support options step in.<br />

Non-cash child support court orders offer parents the freedom to explore<br />

various support methods tailored to their child's needs. Instead of relying<br />

solely on cash, parents can consider alternative arrangements that directly<br />

benefit their child. This innovative approach empowers parents to think<br />

outside the box and choose support methods that align with their situation<br />

and their child's individual requirements.<br />

The Benefits of Non-Cash Child Support Court Orders<br />

One of the primary advantages of non-cash child support court orders is<br />

the freedom and flexibility they provide. Through these arrangements,<br />

parents can think creatively and find ways to support their children beyond

simple cash payments. They can contribute in meaningful ways that directly<br />

impact their child's growth and development.<br />

A non-cash support arrangement opens doors to various possibilities. For<br />

instance, instead of paying cash, parents could choose to cover specific<br />

expenses directly, such as medical bills, education fees, or extracurricular<br />

activities. Taking care of these specific needs not only ensures the child's<br />

well-being, but also fosters a sense of parental involvement and<br />

responsibility.<br />

Additionally, non-cash child support court orders emphasize parental<br />

involvement in decision-making. Allowing parents to choose how they<br />

support their child recognizes their unique perspective and the intimate<br />

knowledge they have of their child's needs. This involvement builds a<br />

sense of empowerment and collaboration, crucial elements for successful<br />

co-parenting.<br />

Parental Choice: Tailoring Support to the Child's Needs<br />

“Parental choice is a<br />

fundamental aspect of noncash<br />

child support<br />

arrangements. It allows<br />

parents to consider the<br />

specific needs of their child<br />

and choose how they<br />

contribute.”<br />

Every child is unique, with diverse needs<br />

and interests. Recognizing this diversity,<br />

non-cash child support court orders provide<br />

a platform for parents to tailor support<br />

methods that cater specifically to their<br />

child's requirements.<br />

Parental choice is a fundamental aspect of<br />

non-cash child support arrangements. It<br />

allows parents to consider the specific needs of their child and choose how<br />

they contribute. For example, a child with a passion for music might benefit<br />

more from support that covers music lessons and instrument expenses<br />

instead of a simple cash payment.<br />

Furthermore, non-cash support arrangements encourage parents to think<br />

critically about how they can best support their child's well-being. It<br />

encourages communication and collaboration between parents, fostering<br />

an environment of shared decision-making that benefits the child.<br />

The Five-Stage Process Leading to a Non-Cash Child Support Court<br />


Creating a non-cash child support court order involves a five-stage process<br />

that aims to gather information and ensure that the proposed support<br />

arrangement aligns with the child's best interests.<br />

Stage 1: Informing the parents about non-cash support options. In this<br />

initial stage, the concept of non-cash child support court orders is<br />

introduced to the parents. They learn about the benefits and possible<br />

alternatives to cash payments.<br />

Stage 2: Facilitating discussions between the parents. With an<br />

understanding of non-cash support options, the parents engage in<br />

facilitated discussions. These discussions allow them to express their<br />

preferences, concerns, and explore various non-cash support<br />

arrangements.<br />

Stage 3: Mediation and negotiation to reach an agreement. Mediators play<br />

a vital role in this stage, helping parents find common ground and negotiate<br />

a non-cash support arrangement that works for both parties. The child's<br />

best interests are always at the forefront of these discussions.<br />

Stage 4: Assessing the proposed non-cash support arrangement. The<br />

proposed non-cash support arrangement is carefully evaluated to ensure it<br />

fulfills the child's needs. This assessment helps guarantee that the support<br />

provided will genuinely benefit the child.<br />

Stage 5: Final determination and modification of the child support order.<br />

The court makes the final determination based on the information provided<br />

by the parents, the facilitators, and the mediators. The child support order<br />

is then modified to incorporate the agreed-upon, non-cash support<br />

arrangements, providing a legally recognized framework.

Conclusion<br />

Non-cash child support court orders represent a significant shift in how<br />

parents contribute to their child's well-being during and after divorce or<br />

separation. By allowing parents to move beyond cash payments and<br />

consider alternative support arrangements, children benefit from more<br />

tailored and meaningful support. This empowered parenting approach<br />

encourages collaboration, parental involvement, and ultimately prioritizes<br />

the best interests of the child. As we embrace non-cash child support<br />

options, we are breaking the mold and paving the way for more<br />

empowering and effective methods of child support.<br />

The Team<br />

San Francisco Local Child Support Agency<br />

• Karen Roye, Director<br />

• Carol Beckett, Assistant Director<br />

• Lisa Saporito, Managing Attorney<br />

• Freda Randolph Glenn, Operations<br />

Manager<br />

• Sheryl Myers, Operations Manager<br />

San Francisco Unified Family Court<br />

• Hon. Rebecca Wightman, Commissioner<br />

Office of the Family Law Facilitator<br />

• Judy B. Louie, Director<br />

• Adriane Majlesi, Attorney<br />

• Miguel Rivera, Attorney<br />

• Eric Aguirre, Attorney<br />

Family Court Services<br />

• Felicia Fleming, Acting Manager<br />

• Venecia Margarita, Family Court<br />

Mediator<br />

Special Advisors<br />

• Hon. Abby Abinanti,<br />

• Chief Judge of the Yurok Tribe<br />

• Jennifer Burgess, Program<br />

Manager Title IV-D (Director)<br />

Karen M. Roye was appointed Director of the San Francisco Department of Child Support Services by<br />

Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004. Director Roye has been a pioneer in introducing innovative programs and<br />

collaborations that revolutionized child support service delivery to custodial and non-custodial parents in<br />

San Francisco. Today, SF DCSS provides a variety of service models that support parents such as: C-<br />

NET, Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration Project (Transitions SF), County Jail Outreach, Debt<br />

Relief, and enhanced domestic violence case management. SF DCSS has developed a parental<br />

empowerment portfolio of innovative services that includes early intervention strategies, family violence<br />

prevention, referrals to employment services, and active collaborations with local partners. Director Roye’s<br />

goal is to create service delivery models that keep pace with the needs of families today so that children<br />

can continue to count on their parents for the financial and medical support they need to be healthy and<br />


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