November 2022 CSQ

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Table of Contents

October 2022

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

Community Corner: Bounce Back From Burnout………………..…….7

Five Components of Customer Service……………………………….11

Child Support Across Countries………………………………………..16

NCSEA International Roundtable………………………………………22

National Child Support Market Research Survey Launched ………..26

Creating Safe Access to Child Support…...........................................31

Introducing NCSEA U @ Policy Forum………………………………...35

NCSEA U Alumni Spotlight………………………………………………37

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

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Jim Fleming

NCSEA President

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

but I admit feeling challenged to match the success of our organization in

the last year under Lori Bengston’s leadership. I have served with Lori on

various NCSEA committees for the last ten years, and she has a rare talent

for drawing out the best in the work of others toward a common goal.

Thankfully, she will continue serving NCSEA as our Immediate Past

President. As I begin my term, I would also like to acknowledge the

examples set by the four NCSEA presidents with whom I served on the

NCSEA Executive Committee as Treasurer: Lisa Skenandore, Tanguler

Gray, Craig Burshem, and Diane Potts.

NCSEA already has an exciting agenda for the next year. At its August

2022 meeting, the NCSEA Board of Directors endorsed continued

development of a set of legislative proposals to Congress. In early 2022, a

member of NCSEA’s Policy and Government Relations (PGR) Committee

suggested that NCSEA go beyond adopting resolutions or responding to

legislative proposals and put together its own legislative proposals for

modernizing child support. PGR members strongly supported that

suggestion and broke into small groups to develop these proposals for

presentation to the Board in August.

Although the legislative proposals are still being refined and will need final

approval by the NCSEA Board, it appears likely that NCSEA will propose

revisions to the federal performance measures, creation of new or

improved collection tools, financial incentives for states to forward

collections to families instead of retaining those collections, and expansion

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

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know more about these proposals, visit www.ncsea.org, open the link to

Advocacy & Public Policy, and review NCSEA’s resolutions and policy


NCSEA’s legislative proposals will increase awareness of the many ways

the child support program has matured over the last several decades.

Hopefully, we will be able to maintain Congress’ historic bi-partisan support

of child support as a vital program for serving America’s families and

promoting parental responsibility.

The evolving services offered by the child support program have also

motivated a second NCSEA initiative. In August, the NCSEA Board of

Directors committed to moving forward with a plan to change the name of

our organization to the National Child Support Engagement Association.

Enforcement, along with establishment of paternity and child support

obligations, will always be at the core of the child support program. But

singling out enforcement in our corporate title detracts from the multitude of

other services offered by today’s child support programs. I congratulate

WICSEC for recently updating its corporate name and look forward to

NCSEA doing the same.

In addition to the legislative package and name change, we can also look

forward to a new offering in conjunction with the 2023 Policy Forum.

NCSEAU @ Policy Forum is a new educational opportunity for child

support professionals to hone their skills in advocating for the program. The

NCSEAU @ Policy Forum professors need no introduction to most: Margot

Bean and Lisa Skenandore! For more details, I encourage you to read the

article in this issue of CSQ from our instructors.

One reason I support using the word “engagement” in our new corporate

name is that it fits how NCSEA tries to meet the professional development

and education needs of its members. I strongly dislike social media, so you

won’t see this dinosaur on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. When

PodMaster Tim Lightner first asked me to join him for an NCSEA On

Location podcast episode, I was tempted to schedule a root canal instead.

But I am now a convert and look forward to these engaging conversations

on trending child support topics. I encourage all of you to do what I do:

save the weekly Rapid Read as a reminder to listen to the week’s new

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

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

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NCSEA’s Corporate Partners, whose innovation and expertise are

instrumental to NCSEA’s success.

I encourage you to engage with other NCSEA members through the many

NCSEA educational opportunities. In addition to our podcasts, our Web-

Talks and the Child Support CommuniQue are free with membership.

NCSEA Connects offers several chances to engage with NCSEA members

who share similar interests. And at the end of the NCSEA membership

year, we look forward to engaging at the Leadership Symposium in

Anaheim, California.

A consistent theme for new NCSEA presidents is the responsibility of

selecting committee chairs and appointing members of the many NCSEA

committees. I am so grateful to the NCSEA Board members and other

leaders who have agreed to serve as committee and subcommittee chairs.

Once again this year, NCSEA is blessed with a strong spirit of

volunteerism, and every committee had more volunteers than we could


In addition to our many volunteers, I would like to express my sincere

thanks to NCSEA’s outstanding team of Ann Marie Ruskin and Katie

Kenney and extend a welcome to our new team member Amalia Paul.

Thank you for making child support your calling.

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

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

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

chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Whether you work in the public

or private sector, this quote describes so well the satisfaction we all can

draw from working in the child support program and taking advantage of

NCSEA’s professional development opportunities.

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

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

terms of innovations in delivery of family-friendly services and in our more

traditional enforcement and establishment work. Work worth doing: let’s not

lose sight that we provide our services to improve the quality of life for

America’s children and we should continually monitor the impact of our

services on those families.

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I look forward to the year ahead as we engage with NCSEA members and

other partners to shape the future of child support. With your participation, I

know it will be a great year.



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

Department of Health and Human Services, President of the National Child Support

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

Intergovernmental Child Support Engagement Council (WICSEC), and former President

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

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

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

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

Collaboration Committee. Jim was named the 2022 recipient of the American Payroll

Association’s Government Partner Award. He has also received the 2009 Family

Support Council Program Awareness Award and the 2004 Freedom Award from the

North Dakota Newspaper Association.

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

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

has been an assistant attorney general for North Dakota for 28 years, following a

clerkship with the North Dakota Supreme Court. Jim and his wife Terri are the proud

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

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Bounce Back from Burnout

by Mary Johnson, YoungWilliams

In 2021, I was asked to participate on a panel to remind managers to take care

of themselves. Since then, I have presented to groups of managers, entire

government departments, and for attorneys as part of continuing legal education

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

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

Resignation and more recently, quiet quitting. Burnout factors into both.


In 2019, the World Health Organization classified burnout as an occupational

phenomenon in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Burnout is

a syndrome caused by chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully

managed. It is characterized by:

• “[F]eelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;

• increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or

cynicism related to one's job; and

• a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.” 1


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

leads to disengaged employees and turnover 3 . As humans, we should care

because our people are hurting–their health, well-being, finances, and family


Gallup devotes an entire section of its website to burnout 4 , which I would

strongly encourage you to review, including Gallup's Perspectives on Employee

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

does a great job of breaking topics into easily digestible chunks of information.

For instance, 76% of employees experience burnout at work at least sometimes.

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

being totally exhausted, having negative feelings about your work, or feeling a

lack of fulfillment/accomplishment.

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

1. Tell yourself the truth.

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

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

following are some suggested exercises with linked resources to get you started.

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


• Create a personal mission


How To Write A Personal Mission

Statement (With Examples)

• Think about a motto or mantra you

say or check out these articles.

Famous Mottos: 10 ways short life

quotes can help you succeed or 32

Career Mantras That Will Inspire You

at Any State of Your Career

• Take a free personality type


16 Personalities

• Identify your strengths.

Gallup - CliftonStrengths

• Determine how you communicate.

Which of These 4 Communication


Styles Are You?

• Understand what you value and make decisions based on your values.

My Self Values Exercise or How To Discover Your Personal Core Values

(And Why You Must!)

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

couple of options on the list and try them.

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2. Be Assertive.

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

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

“no” without feeling guilty was hard at first but VERY freeing.

3. Figure out what makes you happy.

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

helping people, and connecting with colleagues. This can be as easy as thinking

about my favorite football team (the Wyoming Cowboys), one of my favorite

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

4. Identify energy vampires.

Energy vampires are everywhere. These vampires don’t take responsibility, are

involved in office drama, diminish your problems and play up their own, criticize,

and often try to intimidate. When dealing with an energy vampire, set

boundaries, adjust your expectations (lower them), don’t overreact, say no,

delegate, avoid contact, or postpone a meeting until you have the energy or plan

on how to respond.

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5. Participate in the world at large.

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

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

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

enjoyed more than 50% of those times.

If you want any specific resources for attorneys or have a burning desire to see

how burnout affects our ethical obligations, let me know. If you have any

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


As Vice President of Special Projects for YoungWilliams, Mary Johnson supports or directly

manages proposal writing, company branding, professional development for managers and

attorneys, training development, social media, and YoungWilliams’ internal and external

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

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

learn and grow determines where she spends her time. Besides volunteering within the child

support program, she volunteers closer to home for organizations such as Equal Justice

Wyoming, the University of Wyoming Alumni Association, the Wyoming Bar – Diversity, Equity

& Inclusion Section, and more.

Both her undergraduate and law degrees are from the University of Wyoming.










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

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

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The Five Components of Customer

Service: A Journey in Washington

by Mary Cooper, Washington DCS

The Washington State Division of Child Support (DCS) embraces the value

of providing great customer service. One of our most recent developments

has been what we call the Five Components of Customer Service. This

article describes how we developed these components and how we’re

deploying the concepts to staff.

Our Customer Service History

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

the steps in Washington DCS’ customer service evolution. An early step

was to survey customers and consider their feedback. DCS also formed an

employee workgroup called the Customer First Workgroup. This workgroup

assessed our current state of customer service, identified areas of growth,

and researched available customer service training. Former DCS Director

Wally McClure then visited each field office with his Customer Service

Road Show. His message? Providing excellent customer service is more

than collecting child support; it benefits the agency and the families we

serve. From that groundwork, current DCS Director Sharon Redmond

offered a new customer service promise: “We provide respect and

resources to every person every day.”

While those were positive steps, agency leadership recognized some

inconsistencies between customer service expectations and statewide

procedures. Sometimes these inconsistencies hurt our ability to meet

customers’ needs. Other times, inconsistencies hurt our staff’s ability to

understand their expectations. It was clear that we needed to specifically

define what good customer service looked like. The end goal was to

provide better service while also increasing our collections.

Our Journey – Developing the Five Components of Customer Service

In early 2018, we formed the Commitment to Service Workgroup to support

two DCS strategic plan goals:

(1) Deliver services adapted to individual customer needs and

circumstances; and

(2) Continually improve DCS operations and performance.

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To be inclusive, the project team invited staff from across the state to

participate. Program managers identified employees who would serve as

change agents for their individual offices. Because the group’s work would

likely lead to more culture shift for the organization, project leads

incorporated change management from the beginning.

During an in-person kick-off meeting, the group talked about the current

state and the future of customer service. Each member of the group

completed pre-work that included describing what customer service looked,

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

to identify the top Five Components of Excellent Customer Service:

• Accessibility

• Good communication

• Honesty and integrity

• Owning the customer service experience

• Respect

Identifying these components was a milestone,

but the team recognized that staff across the

organization might still have different ideas of

what respect or accessibility look like. The group

divided into subgroups to develop detailed definitions of each component.

Members of the project team initially used a Lean tool called the “Voice of

the Customer” to gather input from employees. This encouraged agencywide

participation in the process and generated buy-in from staff.

Workgroup representatives attempted to engage every employee in their

office by forming focus groups and attending team meetings where they

asked the following questions:

• If you could change one thing about the component, what would it


• What is unclear about this component?

• How can we measure the positive impact of the component?

• What is the most important component?

• What questions do you have for the project team?

The feedback from those meetings played a big part in developing detailed

definitions for each component. Those definitions described the behavior of

the component as it might appear to both internal and external customers.

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

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communicate effectively to others while using active listening skills,

showing empathy, and giving your undivided attention to ensure that the

person you are speaking with feels important and comfortable.”

The Commitment to Service Workgroup brought these Five Components of

Excellent Customer Service before the statewide leadership team for

approval in January 2019. The leadership team approved implementation

of the Five Components of Customer Service in June 2019.

Our Journey – Deploying the Five Components of Customer Service

The project team used the ADKAR (awareness, desire, knowledge, ability,

and reinforcement) model of change management to guide them in

incorporating the five components into DCS’ values and culture. Using a

coordinated, cascading communication plan over the next several months,

the workgroup started with agency leaders, then managers across the

state, followed by front-line supervisors across the state. Supervisor

support was instrumental to successful implementation. At this point, we

paused and gave supervisors an opportunity to ask questions before rolling

out the five components to front-line staff. Supervisors expressed that they

felt they did not yet have enough information to discuss the five

components with their staff. It was clear that we needed more support to

prepare for the change.

Additional communication came from

some key players. First, DCS Director

Sharon Redmond sent a message to

staff in which she stated, “When we

focus on customer service we can

positively impact more families and

children because our customers have

access to all the services we offer….

Let’s build on our strengths and the work of the dedicated staff of the

Commitment to Service Workgroup to create better relationships, improve

our performance, and help more families and children.”

For the next five weeks, each member of the Executive Leadership Team

wrote an article that focused on one component to create a more concrete

sense of what customer service meant as defined by the workgroup and

supported by agency leadership. We then found ourselves in March 2020.

With attention focused toward responding to the pandemic, we hit pause on

our rollout plan.

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Our Journey – Post-Pandemic Re-deployment of the Five

Components of Customer Service

We came back to the plan in October 2020 when the project team and

sponsors revisited implementation of the Five Components of Excellent

Customer Service. Because we had lost momentum, we decided to

backtrack and once again have agency leadership affirm the five

components and express how they intersect with providing excellent

customer service. We adjusted the communication plan to accommodate

our new situation, a common occurrence during the implementation of the


The first communication came from then Chief of Field Operations Andrew

Chin, who produced a video for staff reintroducing the Commitment to

Service Workgroup and the five components. As Andrew remarked during

the video, the pandemic made the five components “increasingly relevant in

society.” He encouraged staff to identify one tangible thing they could do to

improve their customer service, emphasizing that “You’re important. Your

actions matter. How you show up every day matters.”

After this video, Sharon addressed supervisors statewide. She reiterated

the value the agency places on providing excellent customer service.

Integrating the five components would make the concept of customer

service more tangible. We provided a one-page summary for supervisors to

use as talking points with their teams as they resumed discussions.

The next phase was to host workshops for every management team in the

state. These workshops helped the office management teams develop

culture change plans specifically for their staff. They also created an action

plan for implementing the Five Components of Excellent Customer service

in their offices.

We equipped supervisors to support the five components by identifying

current behaviors and beliefs that they wanted to keep as well as behaviors

and beliefs they wanted to stop. To take the discussion one step further,

supervisors identified behaviors and beliefs they wanted to create in place

of the items they would like to stop. They then discussed ways to recognize

staff that would reinforce and support these behaviors. These workshops

resulted in concrete plans with specific action items local management

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teams could use to help encourage staff’s understanding of, and reliance

on, the five components when providing internal and external customer


Conclusion and Next Steps

The process of integrating the Five Components of Excellent Customer

Service is still evolving. Our leaders continue to

stress the importance of providing excellent

customer service and point to the five

components as concrete ways staff can do so.

We have added the five components to the

agency’s strategic planning documents. The

next steps will be to create an accountability

mechanism by adding expectations for staff in the annual performance

evaluation process.

The Commitment to Service Workgroup first convened almost five years

ago. Developing and implementing the Five Components of Excellent

Customer Service has required a lot of flexibility. Of course some situations

were beyond the workgroup’s control. But the workgroup also listened to

managers and supervisors who would play a key role in the success of the

initiative and adapted the plans to include their feedback.

Collection of child support is the primary focus of child support agencies.

However, this approach often doesn’t account for paying parents’ capacity

to comply. Like many other child support agencies across the country, DCS

is expanding the ways in which we fulfill our mission of providing excellent

child support services to include considering the situation and needs of the

whole family. A key factor of this holistic approach is providing excellent

customer service that educates both parties about resources and options.

Washington DCS’ Commitment to Service Workgroup provided a concerted

effort to change our culture. Developing and defining the Five Components

of Excellent Customer Service not only educated staff about the importance

of providing excellent customer service, it also showed them how to do it,

and then recognized their efforts and accomplishments.

Mary Cooper is a Child Support Program Manager for the Washington State Division of

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

before joining Washington in 1994. In addition to countless other responsibilities and

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

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

Falls and a Master’s Degree in Theology from Whitworth University. She lives in

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

one spoiled cat.

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Child Support Policy Around the World:

Similar Problems, Different Approaches

by Mia Hakovirta, Department of Social Research, University of

Turku, Finland; Laura Cuest, Rutgers, The State University of

New Jersey; Mari Haapanen, Department of Social Research,

University of Turku; Daniel R. Meyer, University of Wisconsin–


Globally, single mothers are among the most likely to live in poverty, even

in wealthy countries. Not only is the proportion of single-mother-headed

households increasing in many countries, but single mothers often face a

triple bind of inadequate household resources, limited job opportunities,

and social policies offering limited support (Nieuwenhuis & Maldonado,


Child support programs have multiple

purposes, including alleviating financial

precarity for single parents. Child support,

in its most general sense, is an effort to

fairly distribute the financial demands of

childrearing. While all high-income

countries have child support policies, their

systems vary.

Below, we compare child support policies across several high-income

countries. Our sample includes mostly European countries but also

Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, the United States, and Uruguay. In

nations where child support policy varies by jurisdiction, such as Canada,

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

Ontario, Catalonia, and Wisconsin, respectively). Because most singleparent

households are headed by women, our focus is primarily on singlemother

families and the nonresident fathers of their children.

Of the countries examined in our article (see Hakovirta, et al., 2022), three

types of institutional systems are primarily involved in determining child

support orders: court-based; agency-based; and hybrid models, in which a

combination of courts and agencies determine child support obligations.

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Courts are primarily responsible for determining obligations in Austria,

Belgium, Canada (Ontario), Chile, Estonia, France, Germany, Spain

(Catalonia), and Uruguay. Governmental agencies are primarily

responsible in Australia, Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, and the UK.

Both courts and agencies are involved in Finland, Iceland, Netherlands,

Sweden, and the United States (Wisconsin).

Court and agency-led systems have different affordances and constraints.

Due to judicial discretion, court arrangements sometimes consider

individual factors in a deliberative process. This can lead to similar cases

being treated differently, however, and some view courts as more

adversarial than cooperative. In contrast, agencies often apply formulaic

determinations. This may increase the efficiency of processing cases, but

deviations based on important individual family circumstances may be less

likely. In some countries, parents can also develop their own agreements,

often in cooperation with an agency or other institutional support. Parents

determining their own child support arrangements can result in more

realistic orders and, as such, may be more likely to be paid.

Agencies can also be used to collect and distribute support, monitor

payments, or institute enforcement actions if payments do not occur. Courtbased

systems, however, do not generally collect or distribute support.

Parents tend to make their own arrangements for cash transfers, and

responsibility for alerting the court in cases of nonpayment falls to the

custodial parent.

Child Support Obligations

While no universal methods exist for calculating child support, and

determinations range from full discretion to formulaic, there are four general

factors used to determine support: resources of the noncustodial parent

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

children of the parent(s); and the distribution of time a child spends with

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

try to match the contributions each parent would have made had they lived

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

the resources of both parents are counted. In others, only the non-custodial

parent’s income is explicitly considered; these include Iceland,

Netherlands, the UK, New Zealand, and Canada as well as a minority of

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

Child support in US$ppp/month

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We used a vignette method to gather data on the amount expected in child

support. Country-level experts were identified and offered hypothetical

family scenarios to evaluate. Given each vignette, these experts reported

on what typical child support orders might be, given existing policies. See

Hakovirta and Haapanen (2020) for further details on this method. Figure 1

shows the order amounts determined by country informants given two

hypothetical median-income family vignettes each, across 13 countries.














Separated parents with one child

Separated parents with two children

FIGURE 1: Amount of child support due in median-income families,


In the one-child scenario, order amounts differ dramatically despite

noncustodial parents being expected to pay child support in all countries.

Child support orders tend to be lowest in Sweden, Denmark, and France

while Estonia, the USA, and Spain have the highest expected order

amounts for both one-child and two-children scenarios. In Sweden, Iceland,

Belgium, and Estonia, order amounts per child for two-child families are

about twice that of one-child family scenarios; in other countries orders

consider economies of scale.

Shared physical custody (the proportions of time spent with each parent)

strongly influences order determinations, yet can create challenges for

policy implementation (Claessens & Mortelmans, 2018). Among the 13

countries examined here, shared custody is often met with reduced child

support order amounts. In vignettes from Estonia and Iceland, however, no

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

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France, Sweden, and the UK, no support was required in the two-child

shared-custody arrangements (Hakovirta, et al., 2021).

Contingent challenges also arise when parents re-partner and start other

families. If all children are to be treated equally, multi-child parents

navigating multi-partner relationships (current or former) offer challenges

for courts or agencies to determine orders that are affordable, operationally

feasible, and do not disadvantage older children (Claessens & Mortelmans,

2018; Meyer, et al., 2011).

Other challenges include noncustodial parents with low income, particularly

if the custodial parent also has low-income. Alternate formulas for lowincome

cases, which may include allowing noncustodial parents to maintain

a higher level of net income for their own living expenses before child

support is assessed, are among the possible approaches for such cases

(Hodges & Vogel, 2020).

Child Support Payments and Noncompliance

Noncompliance with the ordered amount is an issue across countries. For a

fuller accounting of whether child support is received, and its level, see

Harkovirta, et al. (2022). When parents do not pay the amount ordered, in

many countries the amount of child support can be withheld from

paychecks, credit bureau referrals can occur, and passports or drivers’

licenses can be suspended. Although there is similarity across countries in

the possible types of actions taken, very little research has considered how

often this actually occurs in different countries.

An alternative approach when nonpayment occurs in some countries is a

minimum public guarantee of support. In this type of program, the

government will pay up to the guaranteed amount if the noncustodial parent

does not. This gives custodial parents more certainty in their monthly

budget. Programs of guaranteed child support, when they exist, vary

widely. For example, individual circumstances are accounted for in

Norway’s guarantee, and include the custodial parent’s income, number

and age of children, and whether the eligible parent is otherwise partnered.

Other countries follow a more standard schedule. Figure 2 compares

typical orders for a median-income, one-child couple to the amount of the

guarantee; in most countries, the public guarantee is less than the amount

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

Amount in US$ppp/month

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guarantee is less than half the amount due from the other parent. In

Norway, Finland, and France, the public guarantee is about 50% to 70% of

the order for a typical couple. In Denmark, Iceland, and Belgium,

guaranteed child support is about the same as the order for a typical couple

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

typical order.











Child support

Guaranteed child support

Figure 2: Child support due for one child for a median-income family

compared to the amount of public guaranteed child support, 2017.

What can countries with no guaranteed child support (like the United

States) learn from these examples? Two central lessons are the

importance of clear goals and the benefits of broad support programs. A

goal of increasing economic security could be met by a program that

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

decrease poverty, then the program may need to not just guarantee the

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

provide support to children even if the order is low because the

noncustodial parent has low income.

Most countries provide some guaranteed child support for families who are

not low income, which can simplify program administration and allow the

program to function as poverty prevention, rather than only poverty

alleviation. Focusing too much on income-testing often results in less

generous support, which also limits the potential for anti-poverty

effectiveness (Aerts, et al. 2022). Child support amounts guaranteed by

other wealthy countries (outside of the UK, USA, Australia, and New

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

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National Academies (2019) has proposed a guarantee at this level as an

important component of a package of reforms designed to cut the child

poverty rate in half (Cancian and Meyer, 2018).


Aerts, E., Marx, I. & Parolin, Z. 2022. Income Support Policies for Single Parents in Europe and

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

Science. Special volume on Single-Parent Families and Public Policy, (forthcoming November


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

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

Claessens. E. & Mortelmans, D. 2018. Challenges for child support schemes: Accounting for

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

Hakovirta, M, Cuesta, L., Haapanen, M. & Meyer, D. 2022. Child Support Policy Across High-

Income Countries: Similar Problems, Different Approaches. The ANNALS of the American

Academy of Political and Social Science. Special volume on Single-Parent Families and Public

Policy, (forthcoming November 2022).

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

study. Turku: University of Turku. Invest Working Paper 2.


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

support policies in 13 countries reflect family policy models? Social Policy and Society,

1-30. DOI: 10.1017/S14747464210003000.

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

support guidelines for low-income noncustodial parents. Journal of Policy Practice and

Research, 2(3): 146-177.

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

obligations: A comparative policy analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 33:


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

Employment, and Policies to Improve Well-Being. Bristol: Policy Press.

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

Perspective. Leeds: Corporate Document Services.

U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. A Roadmap to

Reducing Child Poverty. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Mia Hakovirta is a senior research fellow at the Invest Flagship, Department of Social

Research, University of Turku, Finland.

Laura Cuesta is an assistant professor of social work at Rutgers, The State University

of New Jersey.

Mari Haapanen is a doctoral student at Invest doctoral program, Department of Social

Research, University of Turku.

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


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NCSEA International Roundtable 2022

by Chris Beresford, Former Director of Maintenance

Enforcement for the Province of British Columbia,


In years past, NCSEA has supported international roundtables at both its

annual Leadership Symposium and Policy Forum conferences. The 2018

and 2019 roundtable meetings were hosted in Washington, D.C., at the

Swiss and German embassies, respectively, with the strongest turnout of

international participants ever. In 2021, the meeting was conducted in a

virtual format with great success, following a pause in 2020 because of the

COVID-19 pandemic. Well over 100 participants joined the meeting,

conducted in three-hour segments over several days. The stage was set for

a return in 2022.

For five days, representatives from 24 countries and the European Union

met virtually in March 2022. The number of participants, and the breadth of

participating countries, reflect the importance of this annual event.

The focus of the international roundtable has been country updates, at both

the in-person and virtual meetings. This year the updates were bookended

by two plenary sessions, starting with an update on the implementation of

the 2007 Convention (on the International Recovery of Child Support and

Other Forms of Family Maintenance). i The presenters also gave a prelude

to the upcoming Special Commission, hosted by the Permanent Bureau,

which is the Secretariat of the Hague Conference. Following presentations

from Mary Helen Carlson, Tracy Morrow, Vernon Drew, and Jean-Marc

Pellet, the 2022 Roundtable saw and heard 25 state, country, and regional


The country updates were delivered over the course of four three-hour

sessions. From Australia through Uruguay, the impacts of COVID-19 and

the challenges of managing international cases were highlighted. Many

countries are now operating under the 2007 Hague Convention, and

related implementation issues were discussed. From the United States,

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

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State familiarized the participants with service delivery structures, as well

as the challenges and successes that have been experienced over the past

year. Summary notes and

various presentations were

circulated to the participants

following the sessions. The

breadth and depth of the

presentations cannot be

So, what are the benefits to participants

who attend the NCSEA International

Roundtable? There are at least three.

adequately summarized in this article, and it is strongly recommended that

the circulated summary be obtained by those who have not yet had the

benefit of reviewing it.

The final plenary session was one of the most thought-provoking. Kay

Cook is a professor at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.

Kay is well known in the international community. Kay’s research has

culminated in her book The Failure of Child Support. Well supported by a

variety of sources from around the world, the research sets out the

shortcomings of current processes from establishing support obligations

through the collection and disbursement of support. The picture that results

is not what we collectively want it to be, and challenges many of the

approaches that we have taken over the past 30 years. This should be

essential reading to all those responsible for making policy and procedures

to serve child support customers. Kay’s book is commercially available

through several sources.

In addition to the informative presentations, a fifth day was set aside for

bilateral meetings between countries. These meetings were a hallmark of

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

organizers that they were both included and expanded at the virtual

meetings in 2021 and this year. Discussions ranged from policy to

individual case examples, often resulting in better understanding and the

removal of service impediments.

So, what are the benefits to participants who attend the NCSEA

International Roundtable? There are at least three.

First, participants obtain a picture of how services are delivered around the

world. This helps at the case management level, as we have a better

understanding of how programs operate and what various countries can

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

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of support amounts and the enforcement components. International cases

can be amongst the most challenging for our case workers, not least

because access to both parents is not possible due to geography,

jurisdiction, and, in some cases, language. Having the opportunity to hear

from our colleagues around the world, or to meet directly through bilateral

meetings, breaks down barriers and provides important contact resources

for us all.

This knowledge also helps us as we develop our services. While it is not

always the case that what works in one country will

work in another, the detailed presentations and

discussions help us understand the challenges and

the remedies that have been put in place to

address those challenges. Although we have great

variation in our legal structures and social supports,

the dynamics of assisting parents as they go

through separation and divorce have more in

common than not. In short, we can and do learn

from each other for the betterment of our programs.

Beyond the benefits at the case level and the

program level, the NCSEA International Roundtable provides the

opportunity to expand our research into what works and what doesn’t work.

We all strive for research-based or data-driven solutions. Research on

international cases can help us manage some of the more difficult cases

efficiently and effectively. At the 2013 Heidelberg Conference, research on

payment rates clearly showed that cases fell into two categories–they were

either fully paid or never paid. This was apparent from the graph showing

relatively few cases in the partially paid category. We now have access to

more data from around the world and that means greater opportunities to

conduct research.

The number of participants at both the 2021 and 2022 International

Roundtable and the quality of the presentations delivered went beyond

initial expectations. Such success is due to a number of factors including

the technology used. The collaborative tool, Remo, provides the means to

feature speakers while also facilitating small group chats during the times

set aside for such discussions. Remo is simply a better solution for a large

group gathering than some of the other online collaboration solutions.

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

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As with any successful event, there are several people to thank. First and

foremost, all of the presenters produced excellent, informative

presentations and were the collective stars of the show. It is not easy to

step forward and present, especially in a language that may be your

second or third.

Many behind-the-scenes people ensured that the technology and logistics

worked for all. Katie Kenney, NCSEA’s Senior Manager, Professional

Development, managed the Remo application very skillfully while also

working on the overall coordination before and during the meetings. Meg

Haynes, who attended the Special Commission on behalf of NCSEA, and

Dr. Thomas Meysen, NCSEA’s International Commissioner, performed

their usual magic as planners and facilitators. Hannah Roots, NCSEA’s

Director of International Reciprocity, oversaw the coordination of the entire

program that made everything work as planned. The behind-the-scenes

team worked hard to ensure that the “in front of the camera” scenes went


The 2022 International Roundtable also marked a bit of a change in the

international child support community. Donna Hengeveld planned,

managed, and hosted in her wonderful style while on the eve of her

retirement from OCSE. The participants and broader national and

international community wished Donna the very best in the times to come

and are most pleased to know that she will remain an integral part of the

NCSEA International Subcommittee and the extended NCSEA family.

NCSEA’s past and ongoing support for the international child support

community is greatly appreciated. Through that support, the standards

have now been established by the 2021 and 2022 Roundtables. Further

information on the next event will be shared in early 2023.

Chris Beresford is the former Director of Maintenance Enforcement for the Province of

British Columbia in Canada. Chris chaired the Canadian Maintenance Enforcement

Director’s Committee for several years and has been an NCSEA conference presenter

and a member of the NCSEA Board of Directors. He received an honorary lifetime

membership in NCSEA, one of his most cherished professional awards. Chris makes

his home in Victoria, British Columbia, and remains a member of the NCSEA

International Subcommittee.


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

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National Child Support Market

Research Survey Launched

by Nicole Darracq, California Child Support


In September 2021, the Digital Media Marketing Grant cycles funded by the

federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) drew to a close, with

mixed results across the grantees. While everyone testing digital

advertising found that there are successful channels to reach potential non-

IV-D case participants, the majority of the contacts did not result in

increased case openings—meaning that target audiences saw or heard the

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

The messaging the grantees hoped was compelling was not sufficient to

inspire action.

So, how to inspire action? As child support caseloads decline across the

nation, what are single parents doing? The average length of a marriage in

the United States is 8.2 years, and divorce rates are declining but only

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

in the United States were living in single-parent families, the world’s highest

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

at least some of these single parents could benefit from child support

services, yet they do not open cases.

Why aren’t more single parents opening child support cases? The NCSEA

Public Relations Committee would like to answer that question. Who are

these parents? Where are they? Are co-parents working out child support

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

without? Why avoid child support services when they are virtually free?

Market research performed in 2017 by the California Department of Child

Support Services (CA DCSS) and Ogilvy Public Relations discovered that

chief among the reasons why parents don’t open cases are: lack of

knowledge of the services offered; the complexity of the process; and

negative perceptions of the program based on the legacy of heavy

enforcement. However, those insights were garnered using current case

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participants. To reach non-IV-D customers, researchers needed more

information. But how would they ask non-IV-D customers what they do and

what they want if they aren’t walking through the door?

Over the summer, NCSEA Public Relations Committee members Amy

Lindholm of Michigan, Bruce Erickson of Minnesota, and Nicole Darracq of

California led the effort to develop the National Child Support Market

Research Survey, a simple, short, anonymous survey, informed by humancentered

design, to learn the following:

• What do you know about child support?

• Where did you learn it?

• Do you have a child support arrangement? With a court?

Between the co-parents? How do you pay? (Venmo, check,

cash, in-kind supplies, etc.)

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

• Do you think you would use these? If not, why not? If yes,

which ones?

• What services not currently offered would you find helpful?

Wordsmithing went back and forth for several months, with every

committee member weighing in to consider the questions being asked, their

tone and sensitivity, and other possible impacts. It’s important to note that

the survey is designed for non-caseparticipants,

and the anonymous nature of

responses is deliberate to encourage honesty.

With the questions decided, the Program

Innovation Team at CA DCSS built the survey

in both English and Spanish for distribution in a

mobile-responsive online software program

accessed from a simple hyperlink that can be

shared nationally. Data collected can be exported by state, analyzed by

various criteria, and mined for geographic trends, and will also be

evaluated in the aggregate to identify themes to inform better, more

effective messaging. These insights can also serve to identify and support

future program changes that will make child support services more

attractive. Along with these primary questions are some intended to identify

respondents with experience in the system, and some to elicit demographic


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A core team of states—California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts,

Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, Utah, and Virginia—volunteered to conduct

the survey as a unit, standardizing dissemination and promotion to

establish an “apples to apples” data set. A professional research team

funded through the generosity of Michigan IV-D Director Erin Frisch and

her team will analyze the findings. This information will be combined with all

the data from the online survey and any paper survey compilations, and

analyzed again for trends and standout data points. Results will be shared

and with any luck will provide much-improved direction for messaging that

will resonate with parents, educate them on the benefits of child support

services, and stimulate new case openings. Insights into what our potential

customers actually want and need can also inform policy changes at the

state and national levels.

Information about the survey was shared with all state directors in late July.

Efforts to disseminate the survey and collect information begin on

November 1, 2022, and will run through April 30, 2023, to catch the months

of the year in which divorce filings are highest.

States not in the core team are encouraged to participate as well. There

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

however, distributing it to existing case participants, although easiest, is not

the best route. Case participants are not “the general public,” and this

survey seeks to learn about those who are not using child support services.

Those who are using our services possess first-hand program knowledge

and will provide responses regarding program awareness that will skew the

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

A good place to start is customers of health and human services agencies

that serve economically disadvantaged customers without referral to child

support, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),

Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges, early child development

programs, and many non-governmental anti-poverty organizations who can

share the link with their customer base. Parentage or paternity

establishment partners can help too by distributing the link to their

customers. Services like PeachJar can provide the link to teachers and

students, email and address lists can be purchased through market

research companies for mass mailings of e-flyers and postcards, a vendor

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

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able to partner with a IV-D program. Utility companies may be willing to

insert a flyer with a QR code into their monthly billing statements. Banks,

local businesses, and grocery stores may allow posters to be displayed.

When possible, the “official sender” should be a trusted source or NCSEA

rather than the child support agency itself to encourage better response

rates and support more candid answers. The target audience is single

parents, ages 18-45, with children under 18. States should include income

level criteria appropriate for their area to target the populations possibly in

need of financial assistance.

A toolkit with suggestions on how to disseminate the survey, as well as

promotional materials in both English and Spanish for social media and

digital advertising—including postcards; social media posts formatted for

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; flyers; and digital advertising artwork

and copy—is available from Public Relations committee members. NCSEA

encourages all states

and stakeholders to

participate in collecting

this crucial information.

In addition to those

mentioned above, kudos

for this potentially

groundbreaking effort are due to all Public Relations committee members:

NCSEA Executive Director Ann Marie Ruskin; Kimberly Curtis, Tanya

Johnson, James Murray, and Crystal Peeler with the Administration for

Children and Families; Trisha Thomas, Statewide Director of the Texas

Department of Family and Protective Services’ Office of Community-Based

Care Transition; Annette Quintero, Director of Communication and Program

Innovation with the Texas Office of the Attorney General; James Fleming,

North Dakota IV-D Director; Kristie Arneson, Wyoming IV-D Director;

Kimberly Butzner, Program Communications and Education Manager at the

Oregon Department of Justice; Christine Towles, Bureau Chief of Illinois

Child Support Services, Administrative Operations; Lori Bengston of Young

Williams; Alisha Griffin of Alisha Griffin Wks; and Wally McClure with

Ravenwings Consulting.

For more information about the National Child Support Market Research

survey, how to use and promote it, and how findings will be shared, please

contact Nicole Darracq or Amy Lindholm.

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Raised in Sacramento, California, Nicole Darracq graduated Phi Beta Kappa and

Summa Cum Laude from the University of California at Davis. She began her career at

Beringer Vineyards in California’s Napa Valley, directing marketing and sales efforts for

several smaller wineries. She joined state service at the Delta Protection Commission,

assisting with creating the Delta Regional Foundation, whose work resulted in Congress

designating the Delta as California’s first National Heritage Area. She moved to

California Child Support Services to lead the Department’s rebranding project and was

appointed Assistant Director in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs in 2019.

Her accomplishments include expanding digital outreach, implementing behavioral

science, extending social media services to local child support agencies statewide, and

introducing website and social media metrics to inform strategic planning.


Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2016 (census.gov)


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

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Creating Safe Access to Child

Support—You Don’t Have to Do It on

Your Own

by Samantha Hinchey, Arizona Coalition to End

Sexual and Domestic Violence

Making connections and building relationships are the

backbone of the work being done to build and improve safety and services

for domestic violence survivors. Through these relationships come change,

open communication, and a willingness to learn from each other. This is

what our experience has been in Arizona between the Department of Child

Support Services (DCSS) and the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and

Domestic Violence (ACESDV).

When tragedy happens, there is usually a recognition of a system failure or

gap, but over time the concern fades away. In Arizona, a domestic violence

tragedy involving a child support customer served as the impetus for DCSS

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

however, that initial contact formed the foundation of what has evolved over

years into a genuine partnership. In response to the tragedy, DCSS rallied

and asked ACESDV to assist in educating DCSS employees about

domestic violence and to provide support to the team while they were

dealing with the incident, including support to several DCSS staff who were

directly involved.

A few years later DCSS received the Procedural Justice Alternatives to

Contempt (PJAC) grant. One of the grant requirements was to review the

process for child support cases with a family violence indicator. In a

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

Project Manager, Jonell Sullivan, received the name of Arizona’s Domestic

Violence Response Team (DVRT) Manager, Doreen Nicholas. One call

and the initial meeting was set! A true partnership was born from that

recommendation because of the two agencies’ mutual desire to educate

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advocates about child support and to help child support professionals

recognize, respond, and refer individuals affected by domestic violence.

Doreen brought in her team

and they went to work. While

government agencies do not

typically enjoy a reputation for

welcoming system changes,

Doreen and her team found

that almost everyone with

whom they came into contact at DCSS wanted to learn about domestic

violence, how it impacted their work, and how they could help survivors

safely attain financial freedom. That initial energy that we encountered at

DCSS has never faded.

ACESDV collaborated with the DCSS team to adopt best practices. One

important focus area was—and still is—building relationships based on

transparency and trust. We met about training being developed for all

employees, shared opinions and perspectives without judgment or fear of

saying the wrong thing, and explained acronyms so we were not drowning

in “alphabet soup” and trying to figure out what the other agency was

talking about.

DCSS developed a scope of work detailing what they needed from

ACESDV, and we signed a contract to provide technical assistance and

training. Our agreement also provided that DCSS would deliver basic child

support training to the partners we support who work with survivors. As we

participated in the development of DCSS’s training, it became apparent that

hearing survivors’ voices was vital to case managers’ education. Hearing

from survivors really impacted the DCSS case managers, heightening their

awareness that anyone can be a domestic violence survivor. As a result,

DCSS implemented changes to ensure case managers screen each

customer in their caseloads for domestic violence.

In addition to cross training, DCSS invited ACESDV to help develop

protocol and procedures. While DCSS learned from ACESDV how to help

survivors safely access child support services, DCSS also taught Arizona’s

domestic violence advocates about child support services and how DCSS

could help survivors. For example, recognizing that office visits might be

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too dangerous, the DCSS team has visited local domestic violence shelters

to help survivors complete child support forms. Our partnership is so strong

that when we need assistance for

a survivor, we have a direct DCSS

contact who can reach out to the

survivor and provide IV-D services.

The DVRT was asked to present

on different topics four times per

year during the life of the PJAC

Hearing from survivors really impacted

the DCSS case managers, heightening

their awareness that anyone can be a

domestic violence survivor.

grant ranging from the Dynamics of Domestic Violence to Technology

Misuse, to the Intersection of Pets and Domestic Violence. Throughout this

time, we focused on safety and the issues and concerns a case manager

could easily hear about when completing a family violence safety

questionnaire with a parent.

ACESDV partnered with DCSS to develop the safety questionnaire, and

then collaboratively delivered training. Once the DCSS team received their

initial domestic violence training, ACESDV went with DCSS to each office

to walk case managers through the safety questionnaire. By doing this with

DCSS, ACESDV was able to answer questions from the DCSS team and

help alleviate case managers’ apprehension that they did not have the

skills needed to do this work. We explained that DCSS case managers

would not be advocates, but would focus on recognizing, responding, and

referring when working with domestic violence survivors. The safety

questionnaire has been in place for some time now and is used by all

DCSS case managers working with someone seeking child support.

ACESDV also assists DCSS by providing an up-to-date link to supportive

services for those who may need it in a specific county or city. Prior to the

contract with ACESDV, DCSS case managers did not have a

comprehensive resource guide for domestic violence services and instead

relied upon word-of-mouth referrals. Case managers now have at their

fingertips direct information for shelter and other domestic violence

services, organized by geographical area.

Having an effective system of response, collaboration, and improved

services for parents is the result of the work we have done with DCSS over

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the last six years. Our work is constantly evolving, and we continue to

revise and improve our response to domestic violence.

If you would like more information on how to connect with your local

coalition to end sexual and domestic violence, please contact Samantha

Hinchey at samantha@acesdv.org.

Samantha Hinchey is Manager of Domestic Violence Initiatives at the Arizona Coalition

to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. She joined the organization as an intern in 2017

while attending Arizona State University, where she obtained a bachelor's degree in

nonprofit leadership and management. She received her master’s degree in victim

service management from Sam Houston State University in Texas. Samantha has been

working with the Department of Child Support Services providing technical assistance

and training for more than five years. She has developed specific trainings on topics

such as reproductive coercion, animal cruelty, technology misuse, the roots of violence,

perpetrator treatment in Arizona, and male survivors. Samantha is particularly interested

in the intersection of pets and domestic violence. She has two rescue animals and loves

all things Disney. She has one daughter who married recently and left the nest.

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NCSEA U at the Policy Forum

The NCSEA U program is the premier educational

offering for leaders and emerging leaders in child

support and has been offered to qualifying applicants

since 2014. Traditionally offered in conjunction with

the Annual August Leadership Symposium, each

NCSEA U participant is provided the opportunity to build key knowledge

and skills essential for child support leaders.

In February 2023, NCSEA U is offering a new course just before the Policy

Forum, focused on effective advocacy. It is not a course on lobbying, but

rather focuses on policy development and effective outreach to internal and

external stakeholders, and also touches on the federal legislative process.

Included in NCSEA U at Policy Forum are a pre-conference Get

Acquainted webinar, four on-site sessions on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, a

visit to Congress on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, and one post-event

webinar. Read the full curriculum here.

NCSEA U Instructors, Margot Bean and Lisa Skenandore

Covered topics will include the attributes of successful advocacy, making

and implementing an advocacy plan for both internal and external

stakeholders, advocacy within the context of the legislative process and

lawmakers, effective message delivery methods, and a review of NCSEA’s

policy positions. Participants will experience a visit to the Hill that will focus

on the legislative process and provide an overview of how NCSEA interests

are messaged to stakeholders.

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The course concludes with a post-Policy Forum webinar that wraps up and

reinforces the series content. Participants will discuss and provide

feedback on what was learned during the course and share status of their

action plans and goals. Not only will participants have gained a great

foundation on effective advocacy, but they will also have built a network of

peers with similar interests. This creates an opportunity for lasting

relationships that can assist leaders with future policy and advocacy efforts.

We look forward to this inaugural NCSEA U offering, and hope you join us!

Applications are available at 2023 NCSEA U at Policy Forum.

Meet Our Instructors

Margot Bean is a Managing Director in Deloitte Consulting’s Human Services

Transformation Practice, focusing on helping child support programs improve their

outcomes by providing effective and efficient data driven customer-focused services.

She helps child support programs develop human centered case management systems

that streamline business processes, effectively analyze their caseloads, and allow case

managers to execute case strategies based on customer needs.

Margot’s wide variety of government experience prior to joining Deloitte provides her

with deep understanding and insight: Commissioner of the federal Office of Child

Support Enforcement, IV-D Director of the New York State Child Support program, IV-D

Director of the Guam Child Support Program, and a child support attorney.

A current member of the NCSEA Board of Directors, Margot co-chairs the Policy Forum

Vendor Relations Committees and serves on the Policy and Government Relations

Committee. An NCSEA Past President and Honorary Life Member, Margot is also a

Past President and Honorary Board Member of the Eastern Regional Interstate Child

Support Association (ERICSA) and serves as an advisor to the Western Interstate Child

Support Enforcement Council (WICSEC).

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

Development in January of 2016. Prior to joining SMI, Lisa spent twenty-five years with

her tribe, the Oneida Nation, and most notably as the Child Support IV-D Director. She

began her career in child support when her tribe received its start-up grant in 2005.

During this tenure she began advocating for tribal child support and continues to do so

today. Along with child support she has also led other human service programming in

the areas of child welfare, domestic violence, prevention and foster care.

She is an NCSEA Past President and Honorary Life Member, and is also a Past

President of the National Tribal Child Support Association and National Association of

Tribal Child Support Directors. Lisa is currently President-Elect of the Eastern Regional

Interstate Child Support Association (ERICSA) and serves as an advisor to the Western

Intergovernmental Child Support Engagement Council (WICSEC).

Is NCSEA U For You?

NCSEA U was chartered in 2013 and currently has

more than 135 alumni. NCSEA U provides a unique

premier educational and professional development

opportunity. It is structured for learning leaders in the

child support community, and it complements

NCSEA’s other educational initiatives and strategies.

The program is taught by nationally recognized child

support leaders, offering a variety of informative and

strategic topics.

NCSEA is pleased to announce that NCSEA U is expanding in 2023 with NCSEA U @

Policy Forum. The curriculum is focused on policy and advocacy, policy development,

outreach to stakeholders, and a little about the federal legislative process.

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

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

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

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

for you.

Meet Our NCSEA U Alumni

Jen McFaggan - Class of 2022

Lac Courte Oreilles Child Support Program

Child Support Caseworker/Financials

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

define leadership?

I define leadership as someone who is understanding and knowledgeable, and can help others succeed in

their personal and professional lives and careers.

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

I do, there were some tips and topics that I hadn't thought of, and NCSEA U helped with being able to use

those throughout my workday.

Most valuable aspect of the NCSEA U experience?

Networking, being able to meet so many others that share the same goal in different roles.

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

I would say the best is understanding and empathy.

Melissa Robinson - Class of 2022

North Dakota DHS - CS

Administrator, Intake and Locate Units

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

Integrity because it encompasses honesty, character, morality, respectability, and taking full responsibility

for one's own actions, which makes it easier to buy-in to the organization's vision and leader's goals to work

toward that vision.

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

To apply concepts learned at NCSEU to enhance my leadership skills. I find myself referring to the training

materials because there were so many helpful ideas taught.

Do you have a favorite quote that you refer to periodically?

Yes, and it's by Erin Frisch. "A minute of thinking is more important than an hour of unplanned talking."

Kirsten Thompson - Class of 2022

Michigan Child Support

Training and Application Support Services Manager

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

The advice from the instructors on how to activate people to achieve goals. We discussed engagement

techniques at many levels, and received some great advice on managing up.

What would you like others to know about NCSEA U?

It is a great opportunity to meet other child support professionals and to take some deliberative thinking time

while you are away from the office. You have goals, and this program gives you a blueprint to make them


Do you have a favorite author in the leadership space and/or would you recommend a specific

leadership book? Why?

One of my favorites is Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip and Dan Heath. First

of all, it's an enjoyable read. And it provides some practical ways to address the emotional side of change.

After all, leaders work with people, and you need to understand the whole person and their motivations.

Why would you recommend NCSEA U to others?

It was so nice to get to know some other professionals at a deeper level, and have some additional time to

breathe and digest the intense learning from the Leadership Symposium together.

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NCSEA’S 2022 Leadership Symposium

“Level-Up: Transforming Tomorrow’s Leaders”

by Phyllis Nance, Linda Rhyne-McKinley, and Carla West

NCSEA 2022 Leadership Symposium Co-Chairs

NCSEA’s Leadership Symposium is the premiere event for child support

professionals to gain a national perspective on the IV-D program and hone

leadership skills. The symposium brings together the top leaders and rising

stars from across the nation to share ideas, explore new perspectives, and

discover new ways to promote and deliver child support services. This

year’s event was held at The Westin Charlotte in historic downtown

Charlotte, North Carolina and rose to the challenge of leveling up our skills

to transform tomorrow’s leaders.

This year’s symposium was kicked off by Team Synergy, where over 580

attendees were able to meet new colleagues while catching up with old

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friends, get together to discuss relevant child support topics, and show off

their talents and share their positive energy on the first ever NCSEA graffiti


The symposium kicked off with a challenge to take every opportunity to

build our leadership skills and each plenary, workshop,

and learning lab worked together to help us level up

and transform.

We would like to thank the 88 impactful presenters, the

18 amazing volunteers, the 581 attendees, the 16

Corporate Partners, and the 30 Sponsors who made

this symposium a success.

The NCSEA Leadership Symposium would not be

possible without the hard work and planning of the Leadership Symposium

Planning Committee. Our sincere thanks to this team for their efforts to

make this the best event possible.

Phyllis Nance, Linda Rhyne-McKinley, and Carla West, Co-chairs

Rieda Abrams-Miller

Sandra Comer

Jennifer Crudo Allen

Ashley Dexter, Track Chair

Natalie Dillon

Jamie Doeseckle

Robbie Endris

Tanya Glenn

Alisha Griffin

Kara Hester

Tanesha Howard

John Hurst

Daniel King

Maureen Leif

Tim Lightner

Wally McClure, Track Chair

Janice McDaniel

Ethan McKinney, Track Chair

Kelly Micka

Jamie Murray

Diane Potts, Track Chair

Julie Prado, Track Chair

Amy Rebideaux

Jackie Scharping, Track Chair

Trish Skophammer

Kenneth Sleets

Jeremy Smith

Sophia Ticer

Rob Velcoff

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We look forward to seeing you at next year’s Leadership Symposium

August 6-9, 2023

Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim, CA


Phyllis Nance has 38 years of public service including 30 years in the child support

program. She is currently the Director for the Alameda County Department of Child

Support Services. She came to Alameda County in 2016 with 24 years of experience in

the Kern County Department of Child Support Services, eight of which she served as

the Director. Phyllis has an extensive knowledge of the child support program and broad

leadership experience having served in multiple leadership roles.

Linda Rhyne-McKinley has over 22 years in child support and is currently the Q&T

Supervisor for Mecklenburg County Child Support Services, responsible for the training

and professional development of 130+ staff members. Linda is currently on the NCSEA

Board of Directors and has served as NCSEA U Co-chair.

Carla West is Senior Director for Human Services and IV-D Director for the North

Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. She is charged with integrating

and improving access to person-centered services, helping individuals and families in

North Carolina achieve self-sufficiency and improved well-being. Carla serves on the

board of the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA).

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