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Child Support Report

OFFICE OF CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT Vol. 28, No. 8 August 2006

We’re Partners on a Forward-Thinking Path


By Daryl Wusk, President E-IWO is a priority for our program and an
National Council of Child Support Directors example of our duty to take every advantage
technology offers as we move forward. The

W hen I think about our


program, the word
first and foremost in my
more we can do this, the more cost-effective
government will be, and the more effective
we’ll be at serving our customers—parents and
mind is partnership. An over- children—and working with employers.
used word, yes; nevertheless,
it’s the partnerships between As medical support continues to be a promi-
federal, state, and local child support enforce- nent issue, I favor looking into a federal
ment agencies, and among our stakeholders in registry, perhaps comparable to the National
the communities and courts, that have Directory of New Hires, for
driven all of us to produce so much in all health insurance provid-
the program’s 31 years. Not only that, I ers through which we could
believe our power to partner is getting match our caseload. Down the
better all the time. road, state agencies may want
to look at how they can show
On that note, a few of the issues dis- cost-avoidance to benefit the
cussed at our June meeting of the Na- Medicaid program.
tional Council of Child Support Direc-
tors (NCCSD) here in Nebraska point Finally, NCCSD members
to an exciting future for our program: support OCSE efforts to seek
electronic income withholding orders, broad state participation on a
use of more effective medical support, national task force to study the needs of lin-
and continued outreach to diverse communi- guistic and culturally diverse communities.
ties. OCSE is demonstrating forward-thinking by
proactively involving states that want assis-
State IV-D directors agreed that, in anticipation tance with community outreach, as well as
of the national implementation of the Elec- those with proven projects in these areas. (See
tronic Income Withholding Order (e-IWO), page 2 for information about this new task
state agencies and employers should explore force.)
implementation of a centralized portal. The
portal would provide employers with a single I’m excited about the years ahead as we prog-
point of contact for receiving and responding ress in these and other aspects of the program
electronically to income withholding orders to improve both performance and our service
from multiple states. to families. CSR
Region X Hosts First Tribal, State CSE Conference
By Janis Jensen James of Skokomish Tribe.
Region X OCSE
Participants appreciated the opportunity to

I n response to the large number of tribes


located in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and
Idaho, and high interest in the Tribal Child
meet new people and reconnect with others,
such as Maxine Schmitz, Civil Attorney of the
Coeur d’Alene Tribe in Idaho, who said, “As a
Support Program, Region X hosted its first newcomer to the tribal child support process,
training conference for tribal, state, and Region I was very impressed with the willingness to
X child support staff, May 16-18 in Pendleton, share information and the collaboration be-
OR. About half of the 125 participants repre- tween federal, state, and tribal entities. … To
sented 20 tribes; others included staff from fed- see so many governments working together
eral and state programs. The conference was and agreeing to work together was really im-
co-hosted by Cathy Sampson-Kruse, manager pressive.”
of the Child Support Program of the Confed-
erated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation in Region X’s Nancy Szeto summarized the con-
Pendleton. ference in her remarks: “This event was put to-
gether in a relatively short time with help from
During opening remarks, Steve Henigson, a group of dedicated volunteers representing
Regional Administrator, and Vince Herberholt, a number of tribes, state IV-D agencies, and
Associate Regional Administrator, expressed attorneys. … The planning group’s enthusiasm
how impressed they were by the commitment was also echoed by the conference partici-
and accountability of the tribes and the coop- pants. … Participants had a common interest in
eration between states and tribes. learning more about the Tribal Child Support
program and in building effective partnerships
Workshops and sessions centered on the theme between the tribes, states, and ACF.”
of “Growing Successful Partnerships,” includ-
ing those led by Chief Judge Randy Doucet of For more information, contact Jan Jensen,
Lummi Nation, and Tribal President Gordon 206-615-3668 or Janis.jensen@acf.hhs.gov. CSR

OCSE Announces Task Force on Diversity Outreach

O CSE is initiating a National Task Force


on Outreach to Linguistic/Culturally
Diverse Communities primarily for program
and technical assistance services. OCSE also
encourages participation from states that
have little experience serving diverse popu-
and judicial staff to address current and fu- lations, but with such populations increasing.
ture needs in these areas. The task force will
first focus on services to the Hispanic/Latino The initial meeting is set for Aug. 28-30
community, and plans later to adapt products in Washington, D.C., followed by monthly
for other bilingual communities (Asian). conference calls to develop a strategic plan
OCSE expects the group will be similar to and follow-up activities. This will ensure a
the Judicial/CSE Task Force and will sup- forum to identify issues for consideration by
port its efforts. Federal, state, and local governments.

Task force goals include developing a pack- To learn more, contact Frank Fajardo, 202-
age of strategies, resources, tools, training, 205-4554 or Frank.Fajardo@acf.hhs.gov.
 Child Support Report
BenchMarks

A Recipe for Improved Collections?


Judicial/CSE Task Force Sifts Methods
In Problem-Solving Courts
By Judge Larry Holtz • Strategic use of standard and alterna-
Judicial Court Liaison, OCSE tive sanctions; and
• Ongoing training of judges and staff.
D o the principles that have been applied for
years in so-called problem-solving courts
have a place in the family-court venue—one A Key Ingredient
that considers and sets child support Judicial leadership is an overriding compo-
orders? This is one of many ques- nent needed to apply the above principles. The
tions that the National Judicial/CSE judge must be a community leader with the
Task Force seeks to answer in its ability to foster collaborations between child
mission to improve child support support enforcement workers, attorneys, com-
collections through collaboration be- munity service providers, and other stakehold-
tween the child support community ers.
and its court and judicial partners.
Judicial leadership also must provide case
management. Judges who apply a problem-
At the Start
solving approach to their child support docket
Problem-solving courts were introduced in the
know that you don’t achieve success without
late 1980s by courts in Miami, FL, to break the
investing some time in supervision and over-
cycle of recidivism in drug cases and to im-
sight. By asking questions in dependency, de-
prove the efficiency and effectiveness of court
linquency, guardianship, and family law cases,
interventions in cases where the same litigant
judges can ensure that the important issue of a
would typically appear multiple times.
child’s financial support is not overlooked.
Successes in applying these techniques in drug
cases spread to other court systems. Then, in Blend as Directed
2004, the Conference of Chief Justices and Judicial leadership is essential, for example, to
Conference of State Court Administrators apply the problem-solving principle of fre-
passed a resolution that supports the use of quent, close monitoring of and im-
problem-solving court principles in all courts. mediate response to behavior. Judge
These principles include: Karen Adam from Arizona describes
• Integration of treatment and rehabili- this process of regular review hear-
tation services with justice system pro- ings: “Within the first week of my
cessing; assignment to the family law bench,
• Team approach with judge as the I began a process of scheduling
team leader; regular review hearings at which I monitor the
• Ongoing, frequent judicial interac- parties’ progress in staying straight and sober,
tion with case participants; honoring custody and parenting time orders,
• Frequent monitoring of behavior and distributing debts and assets, and paying child
application of rewards and sanctions; support and spousal maintenance.”
• Partnerships with public agencies
and community-based organizations to As a result of close case supervision, the judge
facilitate the delivery of services; See RECIPE, next page
August 2006 
Management Illustrated

Public Relations Team Champions ‘Peer Power’


In Tulare County, CA
By Elaine Blackman derson branded the campaign “Champions for
CSR Editor Children,” Public Relations Manager Rester,

A
with Community Liaisons Simonich and
ugust is Child Support Awareness Month
Moreno, have created materials that are inspir-
in California, and another opportunity for
ing the approximate 200 staff members to im-
Tulare County’s Department of Child Support
prove the County’s performance on the federal
Services to offer quality activities and exhibits.
performance measures and to serve families.
Department Director Peggy Anderson is con-
To learn more about the campaign, the Central
fident “the promotion will be great” because
California Child Support Directors invited
she knows who’s behind it: public relations
Rester to make a presention, and neighboring
staffers Sondra Rester, Valerie Simonich, and
Kern County recently met with the team.
Lionel Moreno.

In addition to support from An- Motivation for Children


At the Champions for Children
derson, the team of three has been
launch, staff members selected a
attracting attention in the statewide
button that let them proclaim “I
child support community since
launching a motivational campaign
for staff in October 2004. After An- See CHAMPIONS, next page

RECIPE, from previous page Why Test the Recipe?


Managing the child support docket as a prob-
not only can intervene quickly, but can develop lem-solving court is effective because parents
a relationship with the noncustodial parent. pay child support and children and parents
The judge takes an active interest in the case have a chance at maintaining relationships that
and offers words of encouragement. might not otherwise have been encouraged.

Justice Maura Corrigan, Michigan Supreme Problem-solving court principles also should
Court, recognizes that child support cases be applied to child support dockets to increase
would benefit from a systemic change that fa- the amount of money collected for children, re-
cilitates collaborative settlements in family law duce arrearages, help parents stay involved in
cases: “Tinkering with child support formulas the lives of their children, and increase judicial
will do nothing to prevent the damage that our job satisfaction.
traditional adversarial process inflicts on a dis-
integrating family. Worse, courtroom warfare By fostering problem-solving principles and
actually makes it less likely that the noncus- methods in a wider array of trial courts, the
todial parent will provide future financial and child support community and its judicial part-
emotional support to the children.” ners can ensure that children receive the emo-
tional and financial support of both parents.
On this point, many courts provide nonadver-
sarial ways for parents to resolve their disputes For information about the National Judi-
and reach their own agreement about child cial/CSE Task Force, contact Larry Holtz at
support and parenting plans. lholtz@acf.hhs.gov or 202-401-5376. CSR
 Child Support Report
CHAMPIONS, from previous page

am a Champion for ...” The buttons show first


names of children in the caseload and stock
(not actual) photos of children. “Seeing your
coworkers wearing the buttons encourages
commitment to each other and motivation to
reach the goals,” says Rester. “It gives staff a
feeling of peer power—working together—and
personalizes the work they do every day to
help children.” Public Relations Manager Sondra Rester, left, with Community
Liaisons Lionel Moreno and Valerie Simonich in the Tulare
County, CA, Department of Child Support Services. The three
Last October, they renewed the campaign by have served in the department 6 years, 3 years, and 15 years,
respectively.
adding a component to promote both current
collections and collections of arrears. To help
equipment and a lot of creativity.” With a laser
motivate staff, the team designed round cubicle
printer, large-format poster printer, graphic-arts
signs that match the buttons. Each month, the
software, logo embosser, and a few scrap-
small cubicle button signs go to the teams with
booking supplies, Rester says, the three pro-
the highest percentage of increase of current
duce eye-catching and educational materials
support and arrears. These snap easily onto
for both internal and external audiences. These
the top of a cubicle wall and are clearly visible
include posters, brochures, public service
to all staff. Quarterly, large buttons (made of
announcement campaigns, and slide presenta-
lightweight foam core board) hang from the
tions, as well as the items for staff.
ceiling over the two highest-performing team’s
work areas, and performance details appear on
a Champions Challenge Checkpoint display, Kudos and Complements
Rester attributes the Champion campaign’s
updated monthly.
“great reactions” to more than a powerful
theme and frugal tactics. She explains that with
For a newer Champions for Children effort,
any public relations effort, they first match
Moreno created a Champions Moment bulle-
their desired outcomes with the department’s
tin board with cards that match the Champion
goals, vision, and mission. They also employ
theme to let staff members applaud one anoth-
motivational principles gleaned from Harvard
er’s good work. Rester explains, “When a staff
Law Review’s “Harnessing the Science of
member wants to acknowledge a coworker for
Persuasion.” In addition, they tailor the moti-
good customer service or any other good work,
vational items for staff to fit the need.
they can write about it on a Champions Mo-
ment card and post it on the board.”
Moreno adds that their projects are success-
ful “because we complement each other very
Prior to the Champions campaign, the three or-
well.” He’s referring to his expertise in graphic
ganized “Every Penny Counts,” a campaign to
design, along with Simonich’s skills in orga-
focus on the department’s collection goal. Staff
nization and creative direction, and Rester’s
received a penny lapel pin “custom-made here
managerial, media relations, and writing expe-
in the office,” says Simonich. “It’s an inexpen-
rience.
sive way to keep the message in the forefront.”
Director Anderson agrees: “They’re a winning
More With Less
team.”
Rester hopes other public relations offices will
be inspired to create similar programs. “We’re For further information, contact Sondra Rester,
self-sufficient; we operate with a few pieces of 559-713-5749 or SRester@co.tulare.ca.us. CSR
August 2006 
‘Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative’
Requirements to Expedite Travel, Enhance Security
By Rebecca Hamil
OCSE

C ruising in the Caribbean next year? Ski-


ing in the Canadian Rockies or traveling
to Mexico for your honeymoon in 2008? The
first thing you may want to pack is your pass-
port.
From left, Theresa Meredith, Lamonda Fraley, Margaret Carter,
In the past, your birth certificate and/or driver’s and Rebecca Hamil work with OCSE’s Passport Denial, Tax, and
license would have sufficed as ID when return- Administrative Offset Programs.

ing home. Not any more. Under the Intelli- change in the threshold amount for certifica-
gence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of tion of obligors to the Passport Denial Program
2004, those who travel by land, air, and sea to lowering it from $5,000 to $2,500. This will
and from the Americas, the Bahamas, Ber- increase the number of obligors submitted to
muda, Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico will DoS from 3.6 to over 4 million.
need a passport or other secure, accepted docu-
ment establishing their identity and nationality The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative re-
when they enter or re-enter the United States. quirements, combined with the lower threshold
certification amount, are expected to generate a
The plan to make this happen is called the significant increase in child support collections
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Air and and more calls to local child support offices. In
sea travel requirements are slated to start in fact, some state child support agencies already
the next year or so, with the border crossing are seeing results from the Western Hemi-
requirement beginning as early as 2008. sphere Travel Initiative:

In addition to the familiar book passport, the • Arkansas collected $35,025 from an
Department of State (DoS) is planning to issue obligor who frequently travels to Mexico
a card-format passport for border crossings. for medication.
Both types will be issued under the same law • New York received $20,277 from an
and be subject to the same adjudication and is- obligor traveling to the Dominican Re-
suance process, although appearing in different public to visit relatives.
formats. • An obligor going to Mexico to help
build an orphanage paid Nevada $16,182.
Whether an individual applies for the book or • A truck driver, with a route that takes
card passport, their application will be matched him through Mexico and Central America,
against the DoS Consular Lookout and Sup- paid Washington $9,000.
port System – Enhanced. The passport will be • A pit crew member for a race car
denied if their name has been certified by HHS team traveling to Mexico paid Missouri
for child support arrearages. The DoS expects $3,360.
to issue as many as 12 million passports this • Illinois collected $3,117 from an
year, 14 million in 2007, and 17 million in obligor so he could go on the cruise his
2008. parents gave him for his birthday.

Effective Oct. 1, 2006, Congress enacted a See TRAVEL, page 8


 Child Support Report
Community Connections
PA Answers to Changing Nature of Customer Service
By John Clark assist new customers, for example, by calling
Region III OCSE to explain answers to questions from defen-

T
dants. Staff in these counties report often get-
his spring, Region III OCSE, in coop-
ting a sincere “thank you” from the customer
eration with the Pennsylvania Bureau of
for the explanation.
Child Support Enforcement, arranged three
conference calls with various county child sup-
Other initiatives to better serve Pennsylvania
port offices throughout Pennsylvania to exam-
customers include the following:
ine how customer service has changed. More
• Numerous counties are offering
than 50 of the 67 counties participated in one
telephonic testimony on internal and ex-
of the three separate calls for rural, mid-size,
ternal county cases, which are especially
and large counties.
helpful to noncustodial parents who just
started working and have difficulty tak-
Participating counties confirmed that customer
ing time off for a hearing. In addition, one
service has changed dramatically over the past
county is using telephonic testimony on
five years. As a result, many counties continue
in-county cases for TANF mothers. This
to modify their customer service operations.
substantially increases participation and
reduces noncooperation due to no-shows.
More Complex Calls • Many counties provide new custom-
These days, many Pennsylvania customers can ers with a packet of information to help
call a central 800-number and/or access their reduce their confusion.
account information via an Internet portal. In • Bucks and Montgomery Coun-
addition, almost every custodial parent re- ties have extensive community outreach
ceives payments either through debit cards or programs to provide child support infor-
direct deposit. Calls from custodial parents mation to all stakeholders including court
pertaining to payment used to comprise about organizations, case workers, adult proba-
80 percent of the inquiries. With the exception tion, and County Assistance Offices.
of occasional calls about postings to the debit
card, calls about receipt date and amount have As they continue to modify their child support
disappeared. programs, the Pennsylvania counties are view-
ing their improvements in customer service
However, receptionists often cannot answer as an opportunity to achieve the goal in the
the more case-specific, time-consuming, and National CSE Strategic Plan that states: “The
complex questions of today. Counties also in- IV-D Program will be efficient and responsive
dicated that new clients may feel overwhelmed in its operations.” CSR
by the amount and complexity of material they
receive from the agency. New customers may Lisa Pozza, left,
remain angry and only hear selective items or Director, Do-
mestic Relations
not listen at all. And, while many clients are Section for Jef-
accessing their case via the Internet, counties ferson County,
gives a packet of
have observed that poor clients have difficulty information to
using the Web. a new plaintiff.
“We encourage
customers to
maintain court
Expanding Services papers in the
Pennsylvania counties that have initiated early same folder,”
says Pozza.
intervention programs also are taking steps to
August 2006 
U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services FIRST CLASS MAIL
POSTAGE & FEES PAID
Administration for Children Administration for
and Families Children and Families
Office of Child Support Enforcement Permit No. 275
Division of Consumer Services
Mail Stop OCSE/DCS
370 L’Enfant Promenade
Washington D.C. 20447
Return this sheet to above address if
you do not want to receive this material
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‘Openin
g
Doors Register Now!
for
Childre OCSE’s 16th National
n’ Training Conference
Sept. 11-13, 2006

Register online at:


www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse

Contact Charlene Butler Child Support Report


for more information:
Child Support Report is published monthly by the Office of
202-401-5091 Child Support Enforcement, Division of Consumer Services.
cbutler@acf.hhs.gov We welcome articles and high-quality photos. We reserve
the right to edit for style, content, and length. Contents are
for informational purposes only; no official endorsement of
any practice, publication, or individual by the Department of
Health and Human Services or the Office of Child Support
Enforcement is intended. Use of this material is welcomed.
Please identify Child Support Report as the source.

Wade F. Horn, Ph.D.


Assistant Secretary for Children and Families

Margot Bean
Commissioner, OCSE
TRAVEL, from page 6 Robert Cohen
Director, Division of Consumer Services

Elaine Blackman
For the latest updates concerning the Western Editor
202-401-5353, (fax) 202-205-5927
Hemisphere Travel Initiative and the passport eblackman@acf.hhs.gov

application process for adults and children, Michell D. Butler


Subscriptions
visit the DoS Web site at www.travel.state.gov. 202-401-5605
mdbutler@acf.hhs.gov

For more information on the Passport Denial CSR online:


Program, or to report your own success story, www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse
contact Rebecca Hamil at rebecca.hamil@acf. Click on News
hhs.gov. CSR