Child Support Enforcement

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Administered by:

Purpose of this program:

To enforce the support obligations owed by absent parents to their children, locate absent parents, establish paternity, and obtain child, spousal and medical support.

Possible uses and use restrictions...

States and some tribes provide support enforcement services directly to individuals who are receiving federally-funded Foster Care Maintenance Payments, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) (or those who cease to receive TANF), and to individuals not otherwise eligible for such services. TANF, Medicaid, and certain federally-funded Foster Care applicants or recipients must have assigned support rights to the State. Non-TANF individuals other than those who cease to receive TANF and/or who provide authorization to the IV-D agency to continue support enforcement services, must have signed a written application for support enforcement services. The State must provide services to locate absent parents, establish paternity and enforce support obligations.

Who is eligible to apply...

All States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and Guam. Each of these jurisdictions is required to establish or designate a single and separate State Child Support Enforcement Agency. Tribes are eligible and we currently have nine tribal child support programs.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:

The State IV-D agencies and tribes must be operating in accordance with an approved Title IV-D State plan. Costs eligible for Federal funding will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 and 45 CFR 304.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

Applications are made in the form of a State Plan, prepared in the format provided by the Office of Child Support Enforcement. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

States are awarded funds quarterly based on their estimates of funds needed to provide support enforcement services to individuals eligible under an approved Title IV-D State plan.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...


State estimates must be submitted 60 days prior to the period of the estimate.

Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

State Plans and amendments submitted as new State Plans, and Plan amendments may require up to 90 days for approval.

Preapplication Coordination

State officials prepare and review state plans and amendments. Regional Office staff are available for consultation or assistance in preparation of State plans and amendments. The standard application forms, as furnished by Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and required by OMB Circular No. A-102, must be used for this program. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review. High level State officials review State Plans and amendments before they are submitted. Regional ACF Office staff are available for consultation or assistance in preparation of State plans and amendments. The standard application forms, as furnished by Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and required by OMB Circular No. A-102, must be used for this program. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.


The State may request reconsideration of plan disapproval or plan amendment disapproval within 60 days after that disapproval.

Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).


Once approved, State IV-D plans remain in effect until amended or revised.

Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

The State must provide support enforcement services to: (1) All applicants for, or recipients of TANF, Foster Care Maintenance Payments, and Medicaid, for whom an assignment to the State of support rights has been made and who are in need of such services; (2) all individuals who cease to receive TANF; (3) individuals who provide authorization to the IV-D agency to continue support enforcement services; and (4) any other individual who is in need of such services and who has applied for them.

About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Formula Grants

Allocations of money to States or their subdivisions in accordance with distribution formulas prescribed by law or administrative regulation, for activities of a continuing nature not confined to a specific project.

How much financial aid...

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

In FY 2003, from $800,417,421 to $2,863,064; $74,815,354; FY 2004, from $858,594,841 to $3,071,163; $80,253,222; FY 2005, from $861,571,423 to $3,081,810; $80,531,444.

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.


(Grants): FY 03 $4,053,186,000; FY 04 est $4,351,674,000; and FY 05 est $4,386,698,000.

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification


Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

Not applicable.

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

In all fiscal years, 54 grants are expected to be awarded to States. Tribal programs received $13,156,880 in FY 2003; estimated $18,000,000 in FY 2004; and estimated $38,000,000 in FY 2005. Child Support collections were $21 billion in FY 2003, estimated $22.4 billion in FY 2004; and estimated $23.8 billion in FY 2005.

Criteria for selecting proposals...

Not applicable.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Federal funds are awarded quarterly on a fiscal year basis. The Electronic Transfer System is used for monthly cash draw from Federal Reserve Banks based on quarterly awards.

Formula and Matching Requirements

Federal Financial Participation (FFP) for States and territories is 66 percent of the administrative costs incurred by the State pursuant to an approved Title IV-D State plan. This includes costs incurred by certain court and law enforcement officials pursuant to cooperative agreements with the IV-D agency. Incentive payments are made to States from the Federal share of TANF recoupments. For Paternity Laboratory costs the Federal financial participation is 90 percent. Tribal Child Support programs receive 90 percent Federal Financial Participation.

A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

Post assistance requirements...


Quarterly financial reports of administrative expenditures and child support collections and annual program reports including caseload data are required by Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE).

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.


Periodic audits are made as part of the recipient's systems of financial management and internal control in accordance with Public Law 98-502, the Single Audit Act of 1984. "In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 24, 1997), Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations, nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $300,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $300,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133." In addition, grants and cooperative agreements are subject to inspection and audits by DHHS and other Federal government officials. OCSE conducts data reliability audits of variables used to compute performance measures. These audits were mandated by The Child Support Incentive Act of 1998.

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).


The IV-D agency must maintain records necessary for the proper and efficient administration of the State IV-D plan.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.



Social Security Act, Title IV-D, as amended, Public Laws 94-46, 94-88, 94-365, 95-30, 95-59, 95-171, 95-598, 96-178, 96-265, 96-272, 96-611, 97-35, 97-248, 98-369, 98-378, 100-485, and 101- 508; 15 U.S.C. 1673; 26 U.S.C. 6103(i); 26 U.S.C. 6305; 26 U.S.C. 6402(c); 29 U.S.C. 49b; 42 U.S.C. 651-667; 42 U.S.C. 1310; 42 U.S.C. 1315.

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

Regulations, Guidelines, And Literature

45 CFR, Chapter III, 45 CFR 16, 45 CFR 74, 45 CFR 95, 45 CFR 213, 45 CFR 232.

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office

Regional Representative, Department of Health and Human Services. (See Additional Contact Information - FMR Help for addresses and telephone numbers.)

Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters Office

Joyce Pitts, Director of the Planning, Research and Evaluation Division in the Office of Child Support Enforcement,Department of Health and Human Services, 4th Floor, 370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW., Washington, DC 20447. Telephone: (202) 401-5374. FTS is not available.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: