In this article, we are going to take a look at the mission of the OCSE (Office of Child Support Enforcement) and its funding streams. We’ll also cover the methods for collecting child support, and how it can impact tribal tribes.
OCSE’s mission is to integrate research into effective child support policies
The Office of Child Support Enforcement is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. The program is intended to help families get the child support payments that they are owed. It also helps parents keep their kids off welfare.
OCSE is a collaboration of several federal agencies. Its main aim is to promote financial outcomes for low-income noncustodial parents. This is done through a series of demonstration projects designed to address the most pressing issues facing child support programs. These include the need for a better incentive system, improved data collection, and the identification of overpayments. To ensure that the best possible solutions are implemented, OCSE is focusing on a number of urban settings. Specifically, these four locales have previous experience testing collaborative efforts funded by the child support agency.
While the CSE program has been around for a while, it has been undergoing some changes. For example, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 impacted the program by ending the federal matching of state CSE incentive payments. Moreover, the act capped state non-AFDC incentive payments at 6% and reduced the amount of money available for computer hardware purchases. Despite the change, the CSE program is still one of the most successful federal programs in the country.
The PJAC demonstration project is aimed at improving the consistency of child support payments, particularly for noncustodial parents at risk of civil contempt charges. On the state front, a random assignment is being made to over 11,000 noncustodial parents to see if this approach can improve their lives. By promoting the most innovative and cost-effective strategies, the PJAC is expected to lead to positive engagement and increase the number of child support orders that are paid on time and in full.
In addition to the PJAC demonstration project, the OCSE has a long list of research and development projects that will likely have a significant impact on the CSE program in the years to come. One of these is the development of a national child support database. Another is the study of how states can best leverage their existing resources to make child support payments more efficient.
OCSE’s funding streams
The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is a federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that helps states design, implement, and improve child support programs. This office also conducts audits to ensure that state agencies are adhering to the law.
In fiscal year 2010, OCSE collected $27.3 billion. These funds are used to help families and children meet their needs. OCSE assists in locating parents who owe child support, providing referrals to employment, and medical and legal services. It works with a variety of public and private partners to provide effective child support policies.
In recent years, OCSE has expanded its mission to include new goals. It seeks projects to increase the stability of families, promote early prevention strategies, and strengthen marriages. Other areas of interest include collaboration strategies with community and faith-based organizations, universities, and other government agencies.
OCSE also provides demonstration grants under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act. These projects aim to demonstrate the effectiveness of promising practices. They focus on improving compliance with the National Medical Security Network (NMSN), encouraging employers to provide information about health insurance providers to CSE agencies, and improving data interfaces.
To assist state child support agencies in meeting the needs of their children, OCSE is promoting collaboration strategies with other public agencies. These projects should address perceived obstacles to payment, such as procedural justice, affordability, and access to children.
OCSE also provides limited on-site technical assistance to state agencies. Some examples of these projects are mentoring services for non-custodial parents and health care coverage for children involved in child support cases. OCSE also funds special improvement projects, which aim to enhance the collection and implementation of child support orders.
OCSE is also interested in innovative collaboration strategies to establish paternity and support orders, and to improve the establishment of current support payments. OCSE is looking for projects that reflect the themes of the national strategic plan and that improve child support outcomes. Among other priorities, OCSE is also interested in funding projects that improve family stability and medical coverage for children in child support cases.
Methods of collecting child support
The Child Support Enforcement Program (CSEP) offers numerous methods for collecting child support. It is based on the premise that both parents are financially responsible for their children. In addition to promoting parental responsibility, the program seeks to help single-parent families leave the welfare system.
The federal government ties the CSEP together with local, state and tribal governments. For example, the Department of Human Services processes income withholding orders. This can lead to an intercepting of the non-custodial parent’s federal tax refund. There are also other debt-driven enforcement tools, such as liens. Liens can be placed on a wide variety of property, from bank accounts to real estate. They ensure that a debt is paid before a property can be sold.
The CSEP searches through a variety of resources to locate the parent owing support. Some of these include a state database and federal databases. A county’s child support office may accept payments in person or through the mail.
A few states offer legal remedies for failure to make child support payments. These may include a lien on the non-custodial parent’s property. Other states may require a bond or deposit to cover the cost of enforcing an order.
The CSEP has some limitations as well. It cannot enforce payment if the non-custodial parent files for bankruptcy. Also, it cannot guarantee success in collections.
The CSEP works with a number of collection agencies, including the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, a component of the Department of Children and Families. DCSE can report child support debts to credit agencies.
When a non-custodial parent files for a new job, he or she must continue to make child support payments until income withholding is in place. If the parent is seeking TANF benefits, the child support deduction must be at least $150. Those who receive lottery winnings can use their winnings to pay support.
The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement coordinates the offset program with the Internal Revenue Service and the Financial Management Service. This is a cooperative effort to collect past-due child support from Federal tax refunds.
Tribal implications of proposed rule
The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is available to provide support to Treasury offices regarding internal questions related to Tribal Consultation. As an integral part of our policy development process, Treasury monitors and consults with Tribal Officials. It is essential that our officials have a full understanding of the matters at hand and be prepared to answer questions.
In FY 2021, Treasury greatly increased engagement with Tribal governments. A wide variety of consultations were conducted. These consultations elicited a large amount of feedback. They spanned both policy and regulation topics.
The Action Plan for Tribal Consultation outlines guiding principles for the engagement of Treasury with Tribal Governments. During the consultations, a toll free “800” number was created for additional input from Tribes.
To provide greater opportunity for Tribal input, Treasury has scheduled five Tribal Consultation meetings. These consultations spanned two and a half days and elicited a wide range of issues and suggestions.
The final Tribal Consultation Policy supersedes the interim policy and establishes guiding principles for the engagement of Treasury with tribal governments. These principles include establishing an accountable and consistent process for the input of Tribal officials. Identifying policy matters that require Tribal Consultation, ensuring that sufficient notice is provided, and implementing appropriate and timely consultations.
Tribal Consultation may be conducted by telephone, email, and in person. When a Consultation is completed, Treasury officials will present a summary of the discussion to the Tribal Advisory Committee.
Prior to conducting a Consultation, Treasury bureaus should identify policy matters that are important to Tribes and determine whether or not such a Consultation is necessary. Depending on the type of consultation, the POCTC may advise on potential needs or schedule phone calls or meetings to facilitate the consultation.
In addition to formal consultations, Treasury officials may conduct informal discussions with Tribal Officials. This includes attending conferences sponsored by inter-Tribal organizations and participating in listening sessions held by agency staff. For certain policies, Treasury may announce opportunities for Tribal Consultation in the Federal Register.
The OCSE is planning to hold a series of conferences across the country in order to address questions on the final regulation. Tribes are encouraged to submit written comments to participating agencies.