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Act of 1996 (PRWORA) includes critical child support provisions that emphasize the importanc e of holding parents accountable for the financial support of their children. Wi th the passage of P.L. 104-193 came the strengthening of federal and state child support enforcement programs, more aggressive enforcement techniques, and addit ional provisions that give uniformity to state collection efforts. For more info rmation on child support as it relates to welfare reform, please see the followi ng Welfare Information Network (WIN) web pages: www.welfareinfo.org/childsupport .htm and www.welfareinfo.org/fatherho.htm. This Resources for Welfare Decisions highlights several innovations and changes in child support enforcement that hav e come about as a result of the 1996 welfare reform legislation. This publicatio n also provides contact information to learn more about these activities. Provisions of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliatio n Act Related to Child Support Enforcement National Directory of New Hires. Under PRWORA states must require employers to report all new hires to child support enforcement authorities. This provision aims to reduce the delay in establishing immediate wage-withholding for parents who are delinquent in their child support payments. The National Directory of N ew Hires is an electronic and centralized system that matches all employees with parents who owe child support and are listed in the federal case registry. Unde r the program, employers report information on newly hired employees to the stat e child support agency, and states then forward the data to the National Directo ry of New Hires. In fiscal year 1998, the National Directory of New Hires locate d 1.2 million parents who were delinquent in their child support payments; in fi scal 1999, the directory identified an additional 2.8 million parents. For more information, contact Mike Topey, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Administra tion for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20 2/401-5510. Financial Institution Data Match Program. PRWORA requires all states to ente r into agreements with financial institutions to match the records of parents wh o are delinquent in their child support obligations. These institutions include banks, savings and loans institutions, credit unions, benefit associations, insu rance companies, safe deposit companies, and money-market funds. When a match is identified, the information is sent to the state within 48 hours for placement of a lien on, and seizure of, the accounts identified to collect the past due ch ild support. Public Law 105-200, also known as the Child Support Performance and Incentive Act of 1998, modified PRWORA to better facilitate the data match for multistate financial institutions. In 1999, the U.S. Department of Health and Hu man Services (HHS) negotiated agreements with more than 2,300 financial institut ions. Passport Denial Program. States may request the State Department to deny U.S . passports at the time of application to non-custodial parents with child suppo rt debts of at least $5,000. Since the programâ s inception in June 1998, it has co llected more than $2.25 million in child support payments. For more information about the Passport Denial Program, contact Roy Nix, Office of Child Support Enfo rcement, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 202/401-5685. Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) seeks to consolidate and simplify the processing of interstate chil d support cases to increase the ability of a state or county to enforce and coll ect child support across state lines. UIFSA establishes a method to determine wh ich state is in charge of the support order, so that all parties are clear as to which state or county is required to take action in the case. For more informat ion, contact Dianne Offett, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 202/401 -5425. Also see the January 2000 Child Support Report "Reforming Interstate Case Processing." Federal Income Tax Withholding. States may request the Internal Revenue Serv
ice to withhold the federal income tax refunds of noncustodial parents whose chi ldren receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) when the unpaid chi ld support is $150 or more. HHS has reported that for tax year 1998, refunds wer e withheld on behalf of more than 919,000 families with children receiving TANF. For tax year 1998, the average collection for TANF families was $923. For more information, visit http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/news/childsup.htm. License Restrictions. PRWORA requires states to have laws granting agencies or courts the authority to withhold, suspend, or restrict the licenses of indivi duals who owe overdue child support or who fail to comply with subpoenas or warr ants. The majority of states have laws to restrict driverâ s, occupational, profess ional, recreational, and sporting licenses. Some states, such as Illinois, Vermo nt, and Virginia, have used these laws aggressively, while others have applied t hem much more narrowly. For more information, contact Teresa Myers, National Con ference of State Legislatures, 303/830-2200. Other Innovations Related to Child Support Enforcement Food Stamp Provision. A proposed Food Stamp program rule, published in the F ederal Register on December 17, 1999, would allow states to require food stamp r ecipients to cooperate with child support enforcement to be eligible for food st amps. For more information, contact Marilyn R. Cohen, Office of Child Support En forcement, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health a nd Human Services, 202/401-5366; or Paula Roberts, Center for Law and Social Pol icy, 202/328-5140. P.L. 106-113 includes the "Welfare-to-Work and Child Support Amendments of 1 999." The amendments include authority for Title IV-D agencies to disclose speci fied information on noncustodial parents to private industry councils (PICs). Th is enables PICs to identify and contact noncustodial parents about participation in welfare-to-work. In spring 1999, the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement and the Nati onal Head Start Association formed an alliance to ensure that all local Head Sta rt programs and child support offices develop partnerships to distribute informa tion on child support and help eligible parents access these services. As a resu lt, Indianaâ s State Child Support Bureau partnered with the Indiana Head Start Ass ociation to promote family well-being. The partners will exchange program inform ation, participate in joint training, and trade referrals. For more information about this initiative in Indiana, contact Geneva Bishop, 312/353-8416. For addit ional information on the national partnership agreement, contact John Doyle, pro gram collaboration specialist, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Administrati on for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 202/ 205-4590. In fiscal 1997, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) awarded funds to the state child support enforcement agencies of Alaska, Connecticut, Illinoi s, Maryland, and Minnesota to develop state-specific approaches for promoting an d facilitating access to child support services. See http://fatherhood.hhs.gov/c ollaboration-demos99/ for a report that provides early findings on the implement ation of these five state-initiated demonstrations designed to explore collabora tions among child support enforcement, Head Start, and child care programs. In summer 1999, the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement entered into cooperative agreements with the YMCA of America and the United Methodist Church . The partnership seeks to link the 2,200 YMCAs in the United States with the ch ild support offices in their communities. For more information about this outrea ch effort, contact John Jolley, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Administrat ion for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 202 /401-5051. In many state child support enforcement offices have teamed with community-b ased organizations to increase child support collections and promote responsible fatherhood. For examples of collaborative efforts, see the WIN Resource for Wel fare Decisions "Collaborations with Community-Based Organizations to Promote Res ponsible Fatherhood." In January 2000, the White House announced a new initiative to promote work, child support, and responsible fatherhood. Some of the proposed initiatives inc
lude booting the cars of deadbeat parents, intercepting winnings from gambling t o collect past-due child support, denying passports to parents who owe at least $2,500 in past child support (the current threshold is $5,000), prohibiting Medi care participation by providers owing child support, and requiring more frequent updating of child support orders. President Bill Clinton also has proposed simp lifying the distribution rules and providing incentives to states that pass thro ugh more child support payments directly to families. Although many of these eff orts went into effect prior to the Clinton announcement, the new White House ini tiative underscores the importance of child support enforcement as a way to make families self-sufficient. For an outline of the initiative, visit http://www.ac f.dhhs.gov/news/fath0126.htm. Resource Contacts Center for Law and Social Policy, Vicky Turetsky or Paula Roberts, 202/328-5 140. National Conference of State Legislatures, Child Support Project, 303/830-22 00. Office of Child Support Enforcement, Administration for Children and Familie s, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 202/401-9383. The Urban Institute, Elaine Sorenson, 202/833-7200. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children an d Families. Publications and Electronic Resources McMahon, Patricia, and Barry Blackburn. Getting Off the Ground: Early Implem entation Findings About Child Support Enforcement, Head Start, and Child Care Co llaboration Demonstrations. Washington, D.C.: American Institutes for Research, March 2000. Roberts, Paula. Guidance from the Federal Government on Implementation of th e Child Support-Related Provisions of the Personal Responsibility and Work Oppor tunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. As Amended by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and the Child Support Performa nce and Incentive Act of 1998. Rev. ed. Washington, D.C.: Center for Law and Soc ial Policy, December 1998. Sorenson, Elaine, and Ariel Halpern. Child Support Enforcement: How Well Is It Doing? Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute, November 1999. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children an d Families. "Press Releases Related to Child Support Enforcement." For further information contact Heidi Sachs. The Welfare Information Network is supported by grants from the Annie E. Casey F oundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Fou ndation, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Woods Fund of Chicago, and the Administration for Children and F amilies, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department o f Labor.
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