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Commissioner’s Corner

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Vicki Turetsky

 

“Did You Know Chirp”
    from OCSE Commissioner, Vicki Turetsky

 

Chirp – New grants for tribal child support programs
Did you know?
OCSE published a competitive grant funding opportunity titled Tribal Child Support Innovation Grants: Building Family-Centered Services. Comprehensive tribal programs may apply by Aug. 12, 2014.

Chirp – New OCSE infographic
Our new infographic highlights collections, caseload, and cost-effectiveness. The FY2013 Preliminary Report has the latest stats on our program. Find the child support program reports to Congress on our website and on the Researchers page.

Chirp – Fatherhood network offers funding opportunities
Did you know? The newly launched Fatherhood Research & Practice Network supports rigorous evaluation of fatherhood programs. Funding opportunities are available at www.frpn.org

Chirp – New OCSE Section 1115 grants
Did you know? OCSE published two Section 1115 funding opportunity announcements: the first for Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services and the second for evaluation and technical assistance to these grants. State child support agencies are eligible for both. Apply by Aug. 5.

Chirp – Toolkit for military families with young children
Did you know? 
Talk, Listen, Connect offers strategies and resources to help children through difficult periods of transition and separation that can come with military service.  One resource is a website, Military Families Near and Far, where military families can create, communicate, and stay connected.

Chirp – 13th National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Did you know? 
Today is the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy is releasing key survey findings.  For example, while teen pregnancy and birth rates have declined, nearly 3 in 10 girls will get pregnant before age 20.  Fully 39% of teens have never thought about what life would be like if they were pregnant or caused a pregnancy.

Chirp – Toolkit for military families with young children
Did you know? 
Talk, Listen, Connect offers strategies and resources to help children through difficult periods of transition and separation that can come with military service.  One resource is a website, Military Families Near and Far, where military families can create, communicate, and stay connected.

Chirp – New OCSE guide: “Changing a Child Support Order”
Did you know? 
OCSE published “Changing a Child Support Order” with its accompanying state-specific modules to help parents and others understand the modification process.  The guide explains how parents can request a change in their order when their financial situation changes.  Also, we’ve compiled all of our incarceration and reentry resources on one web page.

Chirp – OCSE fact sheet examines who is owed arrears
Did you know? Today a quarter of all child support arrears are owed to the government, down from a half in 2002.  The new Story Behind the Numbers fact sheet examines changes over the past 10 years in child support arrears owed to the government and to custodial families.

Chirp – ACF launches Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!
Did you know?  As many as 1 in 4 children are at risk for a social delay or developmental disability, and most children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are diagnosed after age 4, according to CDC data.  Learn about ACF’s nationwide effort to promote developmental and behavioral screenings, Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!

Chirp – California collects $200,000+ through TSP
Did you know?  Through the OCSE Multistate Financial Institution Data Match program, Stanislaus County, CA, seized its largest ever, one-time child support payment of $204,532.66 from the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) program.  Stay tuned for details in an upcoming Child Support Report.

Chirp – OCSE publishes FY 2011 Annual Report to Congress
Did you know?  In FY 2011, the child support program collected more than $31 billion for children and families.  See the FY 2011 Annual Report to Congress, also accessible on the OCSE Researchers web page.  The report highlights child support programs in states, territories, and tribes.

Chirp – Knowing our social media users
Did you know? More than 95% of African Americans between 18 and 29 use an online social networking site and prefer Twitter. Organizations need to know their customers’ favorite social media sites.  Read more in the “African Americans and Technology Use” report from the Pew Research Center.

Chirp – #GetCovered messaging effort
Did you know? 
The Department of Health and Human Services launched a new effort to make sure everyone knows they only have until March 31st to #GetCovered – a Thunderclap!  The goal of this tool is to have as many people (the initial goal being 250) sign up to share the same message at the same time from Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr.  This will unleash a flood of #GetCovered messages onto a variety of networks, helping us reach millions of people.

Chirp – OCSE publishes FY 2011 Annual Report to Congress
Did you know? 
In FY 2011, the child support program collected more than $31 billion for children and families.  See the FY 2011 Annual Report to Congress, also accessible on the OCSE Researchers web page.  The report highlights child support programs in states, territories, and tribes.

Chirp – Census poverty rates in 2012
Did you know?
Census statistics show that the poverty rate in 2012 for whites (non-Hispanic) was 9.7%; for Asians it was 11.7%; for Hispanics (any race) 25.6%; for blacks 27.2%; and for single-race American Indians and Alaska Natives 29.1%—the highest of any race group.  Poverty data can guide child support professionals to improve services to families.  See more Census facts in honor of African American History Month.

Chirp – New grant forecasts
OCSE has published two Section 1115 grant forecasts.  The first is for Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services and the second for evaluating and providing TA to these grants.  The demonstration will explore the potential relevance and application of behavioral economics principles to child support services.  State child support agencies are eligible.

Chirp – Learn about the Premium Tax Credit
Did you know? 
IRS published a new flyer and brochure about the premium tax credit: Facts about the Premium Tax Credit: Your Credit, Your Choice – Get It Now or Get It Later and Facts about the Premium Tax Credit.  Please share them with your child support colleagues.

Chirp – Toolkit on developing workforce programs
Did you know? 
The Center for Policy Research (CPR), the evaluator for the Tennessee Section 1115 grant on workforce strategies and economic sustainability, prepared a generic guide to help other child support agencies develop collaborations to employ noncustodial parents.  See the Toolkit: Workforce Programs for Child Support Populations on the CPR website.

Chirp – New OCSE Story Behind the Numbers
Did you know? 
For families below the poverty level who received child support in 2011, the average amount of child support represented 52 percent of their average yearly income.  Learn more from the OCSE Story Behind the Numbers Fact Sheet “Custodial Parents Living in Poverty.”

Chirp – Federal Interagency Reentry Council
Did you know? 
OCSE is involved in the Federal Interagency Reentry Council.  See a list of all involved agencies and resources that can help in your reentry work, on the redesigned Council of State Government’s Justice Center website.  Learn more about OCSE’s role in the January Child Support Report.

Chirp – EITC Awareness Day is Jan. 31
Did you know? 
IRS will sponsor EITC Awareness Day on Jan. 31.  Community organizations, elected officials, state and local governments, schools, employers, and others will join a national grassroots effort to spotlight the Earned Income Tax Credit.  Child support agencies, too, can promote the tax credit for eligible working parents.  IRS estimates 4 of 5 eligible taxpayers claim and get this important credit.

Chirp – 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty
Did you know?  On Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the national War on Poverty.  You may want to look for related discussions, such as a Jan. 8 webcast sponsored by The National Poverty Center at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, the Russell Sage Foundation, and Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity.  In the February Child Support Report, we’ll highlight ways our program addresses poverty.

Chirp – Text4baby for dads, too
Did you know?  Text4baby now sends messages to encourage dads and dads-to-be to engage with their children early.  The expanded program follows the success of text4baby for moms and moms-to-be.  Dads, friends and relatives, and even health care providers can sign up to receive text4baby messages.

Chirp – New SSA reentry website
Did you know?  SSA launched a reentry website, Benefits After Incarceration: What You Need to Know, to help people successfully transition back into the community.  The homepage includes links to resources for children of incarcerated parents and Sesame Street toolkits to help children cope.  Take a look.

Chirp – New research hub on juvenile justice
Did you know?  The National Juvenile Justice Network has launched the Juvenile Justice Research Hub.  It pulls together resources on key issues and strategies for change, and includes research, toolkits, and links to national experts.

Chirp – Insurance Match continues to grow
Did you know?
The United Services Automobile Association has joined the OCSE Insurance Match program.  USAA is a licensed insurer with more than 9 million members in all 50 states and DC.

Chirp – DOJ brochure for servicemembers
Did you know?  Servicemembers and their families have certain rights that help protect them while they are on active duty and after they return to civilian life.  The Department of Justice offers a brochure for servicemembers that describes their civil rights concerning employment, voting, and financial protections.


Chirp – Resources for serving military families
Did you know?  5.4 percent of active duty military members are single parents.  That’s nearly 80,000 single moms and dads.  Two publications may help child support better serve military families: A Support and Resource Guide for Working With Military Families (HHS ACF grant by Healthy Marriage and Families.org) and Demographics 2010: Profile of the Military Community (Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Military Community and Family Policy).

Chirp – Nov. 14: OCSE ChangeMakers webinar
Did you know?  You can learn how California and Pennsylvania are engaging child support customers through mobile devices and text messaging when OCSE hosts a webinar, Thursday, Nov. 14, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. ET.  The webinar is part of the OCSE ChangeMakers series.  Register now.

Chirp – Child Support and the Affordable Care Act
Did you know?  A new OCSE web page provides information on what the Affordable Care Act means to the child support program.  It highlights helpful resources related to health care coverage for state and tribal child support programs, families, employers, and other stakeholders.  Please take a few moments to view the Child Support and the Affordable Care Act web page.

Chirp – Census:  Household income and poverty rate unchanged
Did you know?  The U.S. Census Bureau announced last month that the median household income and the poverty rate in 2012 were not statistically different from the previous year.  Median household income was $51,017 in 2012 and $51,100 in 2011.  The poverty rate in 2012 was 15%, 2.5 percentage points higher than in 2007, the year before the economic downturn.  See the report.

Chirp – ED shares video on bullying
Did you know? The Department of Education offers a video, “It Gets Better,” that identifies resources to address bullying for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.

Chirp – HealthCare.gov tools in Spanish
Did you know? 
HealthCare.gov now has a Spanish Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Cuidadodesaludgov) and Twitter account (@CuidadoDeSalud).  Follow important announcements and learn Marketplace and Insurance concepts on these interactive channels.

Chirp – Fertility rate in 2012 down only slightly
Did you know? 
The National Center for Health Statistics reports that the U.S. fertility rate in 2012 was down only slightly from 2011, a sharp contrast to the roughly 3% decline every year between 2007 and 2010.  This trend parallels the recent economic downturn and recovery, suggesting that families delayed having children during the recession and that the effects of the recession on childbearing have begun to wane.  See the full report.

Chirp – Census: 1 in 5 households have foreign-born spouse
Did you know? 
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that, in 2011, 1 in 5 married-couple households in the U.S. had at least one spouse born in another country.  Of these households, about 13% had two foreign-born spouses, and 7% had one native-born and one foreign-born spouse.  See Married-Couple Households by Nativity Status: 2011, a brief that analyzes data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Chirp – New cost of raising a child
Did you know? 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says it will cost $241,080 to raise a child born in 2012, from birth to age 18, according to a new report Expenditures on Children by Families.  Find out how much it will cost you annually by using the USDA’s Cost of Raising a Child Calculator.

Chirp – HHS National Recovery Month
Did you know? 
September is National Recovery Month, sponsored by the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  Recovery Month promotes the message that behavioral health is essential to overall health; prevention works; and treatment is effective.  Some local child support agencies connect parents with mental health services and other community organizations to help them remove barriers to providing support for their children.

Chirp – Characteristics of families in the child support program
Did you know? 
Custodial parents who participate in the child support program are much more likely to be poor, never married, under age 30, and have limited education than custodial parents outside the program.  Learn more in an Urban Institute report, Characteristics of Families Served by the Child Support (IV-D) Program: 2010 Census Survey Results, on the OCSE website.

Chirp – Iowa teaches realities of teen parenting
Did you know? 
Iowa’s Parenting: It’s a Life outreach program teaches middle and high school students about child support and other realities of teen parenting.  The collaboration of the Iowa Child Support Recovery Unit, Attorney General’s Office, and Iowa State University received an award for media and outreach campaigns from the National Child Support Enforcement Association.

Chirp – Impact of deployment on children
Did you know? 
A new study and accompanying video from Child Trends report that the reunion of a deployed parent can present a new set of risks and challenges—especially for young children—and particularly if the returning parent has serious physical or mental problems.  The study discusses ways to address the children’s needs.  Nearly half of our active-duty military members are parents.

Chirp – ACF releases study of abused and neglected children

Did you know?  A new study from the Administration for Children and Families suggests that children in the child welfare system may be at higher risk for developing any number of diseases in adulthood.  OCSE partners with the child welfare program in efforts to improve outcomes for children in foster care who are also in the child support caseload.


Chirp – 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book
Did you know? 
While America’s children have made strides in education and health measures, the poverty rate has also increased, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book.  Among the resources on the KIDS COUNT website is an interactive Data Wheel that tracks the well-being of children by state.


Chirp – New results for Interstate Case Reconciliation
Did you know? 
Thanks to the states’ work with Interstate Case Reconciliation, the child support program has progressed from finding no match in 33% of interstate cases in 2004, to finding a match (or lead) for all but 2.8% in 2013.  Idaho had the highest reconciliation rate this year, after North Dakota maintained the highest rate for the past seven years.


Chirp – Driver’s License Myth Buster
Did you know? 
While federal law requires that child support programs have processes to withhold, suspend, or restrict licenses for noncompliance with child support, states have flexibility to allow reinstatement or provisional licenses for employment.  Find out more in the new Reentry Myth Buster at the Council of State Governments’ National Reentry Resource Center.

Chirp – OCSE FY 2010 Annual Report
Did you know?  OCSE published its FY 2010 Annual Report to Congress, available on OCSE’s Researchers webpage.  The report highlights child support program functions in all states and several territories and tribes.

Chirp – Webinar for faith-based and community leaders
Did you know?  On July 9 at 2 p.m. ET, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the U.S. Department of Justice Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships will present “Faith in Action: Working with Children of Incarcerated Parents.” The webinar will inform leaders about trends in youth delinquency, substance abuse, and poor academic attainment due to parent incarceration and resulting absence.


Chirp – Child support bill passes House
On Tuesday, June 18, the House passed H.R. 1896 – International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 – by a vote of 394-27.  This bill, in part, amends the Social Security Act to ensure that the U.S. can comply with the requirements of the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance.  The next step toward ratification of the Hague Treaty is for the Senate to take up similar legislation.  (For a description of the required steps toward U.S. ratification of the Treaty, please see the Dear Colleague Letter on the OCSE website, DCL-10-20 .)

Chirp – New OCSE storybook for families
Did you know?  We published our first storybook for families, Let’s Work Together, available on the OCSE Families page.  The storybook illustrates the importance of both parents working with the child support program.
 
Chirp – New Fatherhood.gov PSAs
Did you know?  New PSAs from the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse feature “Despicable Me 2” animated movie character Gru and the unique role fathers play in their kid’s lives.  Happy Father’s Day from OCSE.

Chirp – Live webcast: White House honors Champions of Change
Did you know?  On June 12 from 9:30 to noon, the White House will host a Champions of Change event honoring 12 individuals who have dedicated themselves to supporting children of incarcerated parents and their caregivers, and otherwise helping families affected by incarceration.  The event will include two panels, one on the unique needs of these children and the second on the needs of caregivers.  Watch the live cast at www.whitehouse.gov\live.

Chirp – May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month
Did you know?  According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. has declined by 42% since its peak in 1990 and is at a nearly 40-year low.  However, 3 in 10 girls still get pregnant by age 20.  The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy is again hosting an interactive quiz through May 31.  The quiz has been successful in raising awareness among teens.  Please share.

Chirp – Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day
Did you know?  May 9 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, sponsored by the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health.  Learn about the benefits of collaborating on Awareness Day year-round.  You can watch an Awareness Day briefing on May 7 at 3 p.m. ET on www.samhsa.gov/children/benefits.asp

Chirp – New OCSE webinar series
Did you know?  On May 14, OCSE will debut The Change Makers Series—a forum to discuss ideas that are changing the way we do business.  At each webinar, our state and tribal partners will present an innovative practice, starting with representatives from Iowa and Washington who will share how they use the Geographic Information System analytic tool to improve program efficiency and performance.  Please register early.  For more, e-mail childsupportchangemakers@acf.hhs.gov.

Chirp – Infographic of the veteran population
Did you know? 
California, Texas, and Florida each have more than a million veterans.  Do you know your veteran population?  Check out this infographic from the Census Bureau.

Chirp –
Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act
Did you know?  The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 extends protection to Native American women, immigrants, and members of the LGBT community.

Chirp – Minority Health Month
Did you know?  April is Minority Health Month.  This year’s theme is Advance Health Equity Now: Uniting our Communities to Bring Health Care Coverage to All.  Local child support agencies can do their part by talking to families about the range of health care options available to children and adults.  Learn more about Minority Health Month.


Chirp – Military Families Handbook
Did you know?  If you are a military family and you have child support questions, there is a new tool to help you.  A Handbook for Military Families: Helping You with Child Support has just been posted on the Military & Families page of the OCSE website.


Chirp – e-IWO continues to grow
Did you know?  Wal-Mart, one of the largest private employers in the nation, joined the hundreds of employers participating in the OCSE electronic income withholding (e-IWO) process.  Sending IWOs electronically benefits states, employers and families.  If your state has not yet implemented e-IWO, join the 27 states that are reaping benefits of cost savings and increased collections.

Chirp – SSA garnishments
Did you know? 
SSA child support garnishments exceeded $80 million for January 2013, the highest monthly total to date.  Congratulations to states!  Is your state making full use of SSA information?  Contact your FPLS Technical Support Liaison for help to make this valuable resource available to your customers.


Chirp – OCSE Child Support Handbook gets new design
Did you know?  We redesigned the Child Support Handbook on our website.  The content is similar to the previous version, but the two-column text and colorful chapters have a more user-friendly appeal—and a QR code links to our website!

Chirp – Louisiana casino intercepts
Did you know?  In 2010, Louisiana changed its state law to allow casino intercepts for child support collections—and obtained the first intercept within two days of its September 2011 implementation.  The state has intercepted more than $850,000 from 18 casinos.  Louisiana also collected $8.4 million so far from Gulf oil settlement funds, another new collection tool.


Chirp – Divorce and military benefits
Did you know?  A divorce in a military family immediately affects the benefits entitled to the non-military ex-spouse.  To ensure easy access to healthcare benefits for the children, especially if they live with the non-military parent, the military parent must take certain steps.  Visit the Life Events: Divorce page on Defense Manpower Data Center MilConnect website for more information.


Chirp – Teen Dating Violence
Did you know?  February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.  Research also shows that the birth of a child, establishment of an order, and support enforcement activities can be triggers for violence.  Attend an event to learn how you can help prevent teen dating violence.  See the list of events.


Chirp – Report on Native Alaskans and domestic violence
Did You Know?  Chances are that over 50% of Native Alaskan females and 29% of Native Alaskan males will experience physical or sexual violence before reaching adulthood.  A new report, Healthy Native Families: Preventing Violence At Any Age, brings together data on Native Alaskans’ experiences with domestic and sexual violence.  It was funded by the Office of Minority Health and produced by the Alaska Native Epidemiology Center.

 
Chirp – Seeking public comment on health insurance application
Did you know? 
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is seeking public comment on the new single, streamlined application for health insurance to prepare for the launch of the Health Insurance Marketplace next fall.  To demonstrate how users may interact with the online application, CMS has posted two videos—one for an individual applicant and the other for a family.

Chirp –
Stalking Awareness Month

Did you know?  January is National Stalking Awareness Month.  How much do you know about stalking?  Take the quiz on the website from the National Center for Victims of Crime.  Learn more on the Department of Justice Stalking web page

Chirp – Proposed rule – comments due Feb. 13
Did you know?  On Jan. 15, the HHS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a proposed rule titled: Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Programs, and Exchanges: Essential Health Benefits in Alternative Benefit Plans, Eligibility Notices, Fair Hearing and Appeal Processes for Medicaid and Exchange Eligibility Appeals and Other Provisions Related to Eligibility and Enrollment for Exchanges, Medicaid and CHIP, and Medicaid Premiums and Cost Sharing.  Section I.B.15, beginning on page 121, addresses medical support.  Comments on the proposed rule must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Feb. 13, 2013.

Chirp – More states using State Services Portal
Did you know?  As this year begins, 47 states are using at least one application on the State Services Portal.  We expect four more to join the portal this month.  Congratulations to all who worked to reach this goal!  Our website has information about portal applications.

Chirp – EITC time
Did you know?  EITC Awareness Day is Jan. 25.  The child support program is again promoting the IRS Earned Income Tax Credit to low- and middle-income working parents.  Custodial parents particularly can benefit from EITC, one of the largest antipoverty programs.  Noncustodial parents also may be eligible for a small benefit.  Last year, 26.5 million people received $60.7 billion.  Four of five eligible people claim it.

Chirp – Webinar on texting service for moms-to-be

Did you know?  Text4Baby is a free texting service that helps improve maternal and child health and reduce infant mortality.  Register for a webinar on Jan. 16 at 12:30 p.m. ET to learn how Text4Baby works, why it is effective, and how to share this resource with others.

Chirp – Mentoring resources
Did you know? 
January is National Mentoring Month.  You can plan by visiting the National Mentoring Partnership’s website for mentors, The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring, with research findings on youth mentoring.  For additional mentoring resources, see the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Chirp – Federal Offset collections exceed $2 billion again
In 2012, the Federal Offset Program collected $2.1 billion, the fifth year it exceeded $2 billion.  The Federal Income Tax Refund Offset program collected the majority ($2.09 billion), states voluntarily reported $22.8 million in passport denial collections (an 8.8% increase over 2011), and the Administrative Offset program collected $5.5 million.


Chirp – Insurance Match program continues to grow
This year, the Insurance Match program added over 150 insurers and state workers’ compensation agencies, raising the number of participants to 777.  Liberty Mutual Group, the third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S., is one of the newest participants in the program.


Chirp – Downward trend for marriage
Did you know? 
The number of marrying adults has declined since 2008, according to a new Pew Research Center report based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.  In both 2010 and 2011, about 4.2 million adults married, compared to 4.5 million newlyweds in 2008.  The Pew report concludes that the recent decline in marrying adults reflects a long-term trend:  “Marriage increasingly is being replaced by cohabitation, single-person households and other adult living arrangements.”  In 2010 and 2011, 51% of adults married compared with 72% in 1960.


Chirp – Brochures for victims of domestic violence
Did You Know?  The Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice, published a series of brochures for crime victims.  Topics are assault, child abuse, domestic violence, impaired driving, homicide, robbery, sexual violence, stalking, and “What Adults Need to Know about Child Abuse.”  You can download the Help Brochure Series from the DOJ website.

Chirp –VA health care for veterans
Did you know?  Veterans who served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are eligible for VA health care for five years.  Yet, according to VA data, more than a quarter of these veterans have no health insurance and are not part of the VA health system.  Child support agencies can help ensure that veterans in their caseload are aware of VA health benefits.  See the Veterans Health Benefits Handbook.

Chirp –New Forecast for Tribal Innovation Grants
Did you know?  OCSE published a grant forecast for: Tribal Innovation Grants: Building Family-Centered Services.  Eligibility for this grant program is open to tribal child support agencies operating comprehensive programs.  Applicants will have the opportunity to compete for funds to develop and administer innovative, family-centered child support services that help parents provide reliable support for their children as they grow up.  The grant forecast gives advance notice of grant funding opportunities with basic details that applicants can use for planning until OCSE publishes the full funding opportunity announcement.

Chirp – Grandparents as caretakers
Did you know? 
About 700,000 more grandparents resided with their grandchildren during 2008-2010 than 2005-2007; for each period, about 40 percent of these grandparents were primarily responsible for their grandchildren.  See new, state-level data from Child Trends, based on the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.


Chirp Interpreting poverty measures
Did you know?  The Institute for Research on Poverty recently published “A consumer’s guide to interpreting various U.S. poverty measures” to help practitioners ease confusion about various poverty measures used by federal, state and local governments.  Poverty measures help child support professionals develop our priorities and projects that will best serve families.

Chirp Helping veterans find employment
Did you know?  The unemployment rate improved in the past year for younger veterans who have served in the U.S. military since September 2001, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  However, this September’s unemployment rate for veterans (9.7%) is still well above the rate for nonveterans (7.4%).  Child support agencies can refer veterans in their caseload to employment resources at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor.

Chirp Hispanic domestic violence resource
Did you know?  In their lifetime, about 1 in 4 Latinas will experience intimate partner violence.  The National Latin@ Network, a new bilingual website, contains resources to promote healthy Latino communities, including blogs and other social media that address domestic violence.

Chirp – Relationship violence
Did You Know?  Four in 10 young adult couples report some type of relationship violence.  Check out Child Trends’ research brief, Relationship Violence Among Young Adult Couples, for a description of the study.

Chirp – One-millionth e-IWO
Did you know?  Tennessee issued the one-millionth electronic income withholding order (e-IWO) nationwide to the employer Express Services on Sept. 29.  The e-IWO concept started in 2004, and by 2008, states and employers began to exchange IWOs electronically using the OCSE portal.  We average 40,000 e-IWOs per month—a number that’s rising as more states and employers join the electronic exchange and see cost savings and, most importantly, increased collections.

Chirp – Domestic abuse info for immigrant and refugee women
Did you know?  Immigrant and refugee women can find help 24 hours a day—in Spanish and 170 other languages—from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).  Their website is also viewable in Spanish.

Chirp – OCSE awards grants for parenting time pilots
Did you know?  Five child support agencies—San Diego, CA; Monroe County, IN; Fairfield County, OH; Florida; and Oregon—received Parenting Time Opportunities for Children Pilot Program grants from OCSE.  They will develop, implement, and thoroughly evaluate service delivery models to establish parenting time orders along with child support orders.  Family violence safeguards are required.

Chirp – OCSE awards eight grants
Did you know?  OCSE awarded eight grants for the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration.  Grantees will develop and implement programs that provide employment services to noncustodial parents in the child support system as part of a national demonstration framework.  All will participate in a rigorous cross-site evaluation that will use a random assignment design.  California, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin received the grants.  Wisconsin also received a grant to manage the evaluation.

Chirp – Oct. 9 broadcast on domestic violence
Did you know?  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  HHS invites you to an event on “Bridging the Gap: Screening and Counseling for Intimate Partner Violence in Health Care Settings,” Oct. 9, from 1 to 3 p.m. ET.  Register for the webcast (or attend the presentation in the Hubert H. Humphrey Bldg. in DC).

Chirp – NCSL publishes child support resources
Did you know?  The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) publishes a child support website, which includes a Family Law Legislative Database and a clearinghouse of resources on child support policy. The NCSL also issued its first quarterly Child Support Digest.  To subscribe to the Digest, send an email to cyf-info@ncsl.org

Chirp – National call on domestic violence
Did you know?  The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence will host the 2012 National Call of Unity, Oct. 2, at 3 p.m. ET.  This call remembers those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrates advancements to support those who have survived, and connects those within the movement to end violence against women and girls.  Register here.

Chirp – NDNH to turn 15
Did you know?  Since October 1997, the National Directory of New Hires has posted nearly 10 billion records used to match against child support case information and for other data match purposes.  In FY 2011, 683 million records posted, including 49 million Unemployment Insurance records, 585 million Quarterly Wage records, and 49 million New Hire records.

Chirp – E-newsletter for and about Latino community
Did you know?  The Administration for Children and Families (the HHS agency that oversees OCSE) introduced a monthly e-newsletter to display its work with the Latino community: Infόrmate:  Information on ACF Programs, Outreach, Resources and Employment Opportunities.

Chirp – Preventive health care services for women
Did you know? 
Forty-seven million women can access eight new prevention-related services without paying more, under new rules in the health care law, explains HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in her recent blog.  See all 22 covered preventive services for women, including pregnant women, at HealthCare.gov.

Chirp – New Fact Sheet: Improving outcomes through employment programs
Did you know?  Employment programs for noncustodial parents that partner with child support agencies can increase child support payments and help parents work.  The keys to their success appear to be strong monitoring and comprehensive employment services.  Learn more in OCSE’s new fact sheet:  Improving Child Support Outcomes through Employment Programs

Chirp – Turner v. Rogers panel presentation
Did you know?  On June 20, 2012, OCSE and the Department of Justice Access to Justice Initiative sponsored a panel discussion, “Turner v. Rogers Anniversary Forum: Fundamental Fairness and the Ability to Pay in Child Support Proceedings.”  You can view a videocast of the entire event.

Chirp – Portrait of teen fathers
Did you know?  New estimates from Child Trends show that 9 percent of young men between the ages of 12 and 16 in 1996 became fathers before they turned 20.  The report fills in some of the information about characteristics of teen fathers at the birth of their first child.
 
Chirp – Federal Offset Program:  Corrected Social Security Numbers
Did you know?  Since June 2011, state child support agencies have resubmitted 2,300 corrected SSNs to the “debtor file,” resulting in $535,000 in tax refund offsets—and the referral of 1,300 noncustodial parents to Department of State for passport denial.  Read about the “Corrected Unverified State Submitted SSN” process in the Federal Offset Release 11-01 Specifications or the Federal Offset Program User Guide, Section 2.2.1.

Chirp – Women in prison
Did you know? Women are a fast-growing prison population, and 66,000 women incarcerated nationwide are mothers of minor children, according to the National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women.  A recent publication reveals ten truths that matter when working with “justice involved” women.

Chirp – Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse
Did you know?  Child Support is one of 12 browse areas in the Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse, a one-stop portal with self-sufficiency information to connect research to policy and practice.  ACF’s Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation sponsors the site.

Chirp – Survey:  Growing Up LGBT in America
Did you know?  Twice as many LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) youth as non-LGBT youth have reported being battered, kicked or shoved at school.  Fifty-four percent have been called names and verbally harassed.  High numbers of these youth are homeless, in foster care or at risk.  Learn more in a new report by the Human Rights Campaign.

Chirp – Census: Child support payments average $430 per month
Did you know?  Monthly child support payments averaged $430 in 2010, or $5,150 per year, according to Support Providers: 2010, the new Census Bureau statistics in the Survey of Income and Program Participation.

Chirp – Conference call for interoperability grant applicants

Did you know?  OCSE will host a pre-application conference call for potential applicants to the State Systems Interoperability and Integration Projects grant opportunity, this Thursday, June 28 at 3:30 ET.  See details on the interoperability webpage.

Chirp – New report:  Promoting Responsible Fatherhood
Did you know?  A new White House report summarizes the Administration’s accomplishments in “Promoting Responsible Fatherhood.”  It features the child support program’s Family-Centered Initiative, including our competitive grants to implement employment programs for noncustodial parents and our involvement in reconnecting homeless veterans with their children, and announces the future availability of child support waivers.

Chirp – State Systems Interoperability grant forecast
Did you know?  The Administration for Children and Families issued a competitive grant forecast for State Systems Interoperability and Integration Projects.  OCSE is providing project management for the interoperability initiative.  We plan to invite applicants for the new awards this fiscal year.

Chirp – Single mothers in poverty
Did you know?  Single-mother families are nearly five times as likely to be poor than married-couple families, says the Center for American Progress in a new report.  But when single mothers have a full-time, year-round job, the poverty rate for these families falls from 40.7 percent to 14 percent.

Chirp – Forum:  Turner v. Rogers – one year later
Did you know?  OCSE and DOJ’s Access to Justice Initiative will sponsor a forum on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Turner v. Rogers case, June 20, 2012.  Hear how state child support agencies have developed innovative and cost-effective ways to screen cases before referring, initiating or litigating any civil contempt action for nonpayment that could lead to incarceration.  Register for the event in DC or watch the webcast.

Chirp – Why OCSE partners with HUD
Did you know?  In a recent interview with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Public Housing Authority, I encouraged PHAs to connect with child support agencies, not only for their annual Father’s Day activities in the community, but year-round on our mutual objectives to reconnect fathers to their children and create economic stability for the family.

Chirp – New teen poll data
Did you know?  Teens say parents most influence their decisions about sex, according to a survey from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Chirp – 49 states have anti-bullying laws
Did you know?  South Dakota was the 49th state to implement an anti-bullying law.  Find more on cyber-bullying, techniques to prevent bullying, who’s at risk, and how to get help at www.stopbullying.gov.

Chirp – African Americans and the ACA
Did you know?  New data on the Affordable Care Act suggests that 3.8 million uninsured African Americans will gain coverage by 2016.  Find the facts on the ASPE Brief: The Affordable Care Act and African Americans.


Chirp – New OCSE grant announcements
Did you know?  OCSE published two Section 1115 funding opportunity announcements:  National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration Projects and Evaluation of National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration Projects.  Applications due Friday, July 27.  Watch the grants website for details on an upcoming pre-application conference call.


Chirp – EEOC updates enforcement guidance
Did you know?  In a historic vote on April 25, the EEOC updated its enforcement guidance on employer use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  This new guidance provides an important tool to educate employers and job seekers on appropriate use of criminal records in employment decisions.

Chirp – Teen birth rates reach historic lows
Did you know?  A CDC report says teen birth rates in 2010 were the lowest in 70 years for all ages and ethnic groups—dropping 9% in one year.

Chirp – May 2 recognizes teens and prevention
Did you know?  May 2 is the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy to draw teens’ attention to avoiding early parenthood through an interactive online quiz and game.  A new OCSE fact sheet and an upcoming Child Support Report article share ways the child support program is helping to educate youth about parental responsibilities.


Chirp – Response to domestic violence in Indian Country
Did you know?  A 2008 CDC survey found that 39% of Native American women had been victims of intimate partner violence—a rate higher than any other race or ethnic group.  Learn how some addressed the problem in the HHS-funded “Building Domestic Violence Health Care Responses in Indian Country:  A Promising Practices Report.”

Chirp – New judicial bench card on IWO and SDU
Did you know?  A bench card on the OCSE website explains the requirements to use the OMB-approved income withholding order form and to send employer-withheld child support payments to the State Disbursement Unit.

Chirp – Conference call on health disparities and the ACA
Did you know?  April is National Minority Health Month.  Join us for a conference call on April 25 at 2 p.m. ET to learn about Health Disparities and the Affordable Care Act: Creating Healthier Communities and Congregations.  Call-in information will be sent to registrants 24 hours in advance of the call.  To register, submit your email address.


Chirp – Meeting survivors’ needs
Did you know?  Economic needs were among the highest ranked services or supports requested by domestic violence survivors, according to a multistate study out of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.


Chirp – Domestic violence resource for courts
Did you know?  The OCSE website offers resources for judicial officers on child support-related topics, including the new bench card on Domestic Violence and Child Support


Chirp – Guide for domestic violence trainers
Did you know? 
The OCSE website offers a guide for trainers who use OCSE material to help child support agencies identify and address domestic violence issues and help their customers safely pursue child support.

Chirp – Minority Health Month
Did you know?  April is Minority Health Month, and this year’s theme is: Health Equity Can’t Wait. Act in your CommUNITY!  Find events in your area and register your own event on the Office of Minority Health website.

Chirp – HUD initiative
Did you know?  Each year, half a million people are released from prisons and 7 million released from jails.  About 55 percent of these are parents.  Now HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan is encouraging multifamily housing owners to develop policies and procedures that allow formerly incarcerated individuals to rejoin their families in HUD-assisted housing while maintaining safety for residents.


Chirp – Women’s poverty rates by ethnicity
Did you know?  In 2010, poverty rates for women in all racial and ethnic groups were higher than white, non-Hispanic men, says a report by the National Women’s Law Center.  Poverty rates were highest among black (25.6 percent), Hispanic (25.0 percent), and Native American (26.4 percent) women.


Chirp – Women still earn less than men
Did you know?  Census Bureau data show that, on average, a female worker still makes only 77 cents for each dollar earned by a comparable male worker, according to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center.  See the ranking of median earnings on the NWLC website.


Chirp – Reported Insurance Match collections
Did you know?  About half of the 53 states and territories that participate in OCSE’s Insurance Match program collected more than $4.4 million for families in 2011.  Although reporting the data is voluntary, we estimate that states not reporting also collected significant amounts.  Since the program began in 2007, states have reported more than $9 million.  Now 20 state workers’ compensation agencies, 646 insurance companies, and the Department of Labor participate.


Chirp – Women living in poverty
Did you know?  An analysis  of 2010 Census data by the National Women’s Law Center reports 17.2 million women—and 4 in 10 women who head families—lived in poverty. The poverty rate among women climbed from 13.9 percent in 2009 to 14.5 percent in 2010, the highest rate in 17 years


Chirp – International Women’s Day
Did you know?  March 8 is International Women’s Day, first observed in 1909.  In 1981, Congress set the second week of March as National Women’s History Week.  In 1987, the week expanded to a month.  Every year since, the President has issued a proclamation for Women’s History Month.  Visit womenshistorymonth.gov.

Chirp – New Forecast for Competitive Grant
Did you know?  OCSE issued a third forecast for a competitive grant program, Evaluation of National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration Projects.  The other two are National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration Projects and Parenting Time Opportunities for Children in the Child Support Program.  We plan to invite applicants for the new awards this fiscal year.

Chirp – State Innovations—New on OCSE Website
Did you know?  At least 29 states and D.C. operate mostly local work-oriented programs for noncustodial parents.  Three new resources describe these work-oriented programs and two other innovative practices in child support agencies across the country—debt compromise policies and programs to ensure child support orders reflect current earnings.


Chirp – What Women Earn
Did you know?  The median annual earnings in 2010 for women 15 or older who worked year-round, full time was $36,931, unchanged from 2009.  (From Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010.)  See data briefs about women on Census.gov in honor of National Women’s History Month.


Chirp – New OCSE Website
Did you know?  We launched the first phase of our new OCSE website as part of an Administration for Children and Families initiative.  We hope you will find it easier to read and navigate, as well as more engaging with videos, slides and links to media that will help you stay connected to what’s happening in the program.  We plan to redesign the entire old website in several phases during the year—and launch a function that lets you search, browse and sort resources on the website.

Chirp – FPLS Debt Inquiry Service
Did you know? The Debt Inquiry Service lets employers report lump-sum and bonus payments through the FPLS Portal to states.  From national companies to local “mom and pop” stores, employers are getting on board.  Ten employers and 19 states participate.  To learn more, contact Erica Holliman.


Chirp – Young Adults Find Economy Tough
Did you know?  A new Pew Research Center survey finds that young adults (ages 18 to 34) say the slow economy has affected decisions about career, marriage, parenthood and schooling.  For example, nearly half (49%) have taken a job in the past few years that they didn’t really want just to pay the bills; 24% moved back in with their parents; 22% postponed having children; and 20% postponed getting married.  At the same time, they maintain long-term optimism.

Chirp – EFT Collections Increase

Did you know?  Child support collections through Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) in 2011 reached an average 56% nationwide—a 4% increase over the previous year.  States that require EFT and offer free or low-cost online services to employers saw a greater increase than others.

Chirp – New OCSE Website
Did you know? 
We launched the first phase of our new OCSE website as part of an Administration for Children and Families initiative.  We hope you will find it easier to read and navigate, as well as more engaging with videos, slides and links to media that will help you stay connected to what’s happening in the program.  We plan to redesign the entire old website in several phases during the year—and launch a function that lets you search, browse and sort resources on the website.
 
Chirp – FY 2009 Annual Report
Did you know?  The FY 2009 Annual Report to Congress is now on the OCSE website.  Child support collections decreased to $26.4 billion from $26.6 billion in FY 2008.  Statistics in the FY 2010 Preliminary Report show the trend is up again, with collections at $26.6 billion, a 0.6 percent increase.

Chirp – Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
Did you know?  February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  One in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men who ever experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced relationship violence between age 11 and 17.  Check out the ACF National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth.

Chirp – Young Fathers and Incarceration
Did you know?  Data from National Center for Family and Marriage Research finds that 20% of young fathers report being incarcerated by age 25 compared to only 6% of young men without children.

Chirp – Forecast for Grants 
Did you know?  Today OCSE issued forecasts for two competitive grant programs, the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration Project and Parenting Time Opportunities for Children in the Child Support Program.  We plan to invite applicants for new awards this fiscal year.

ChirpEITC Time
Did you know?  EITC Awareness Day is Jan. 27.  The child support program is again promoting the IRS Earned Income Tax Credit to low-and middle-income working parents.  Custodial parents particularly can benefit from EITC, one of the largest antipoverty programs.  Last year, 26 million people received $59 billion.  Four of five eligible people claim it.

Chirp – Census: Custodial Mothers & Fathers in 2009
Did you know?  A new Census report, Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009, shows a decline in child support payments since 2005, with more custodial parent households living below the poverty level.  Watch for an OCSE fact sheet based on the report, coming soon.

Chirp Survey on Intimate Partner Violence
Did you know?  On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, according to results from a 2010 survey by CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

Chirp Foster Teens and Pregnancy
Did you know?  Teens in foster care have a higher rate of teen pregnancy and childbearing than the national sample of teenagers, according to an analysis by Child Trends.  The states surveyed were Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Chirp Record Low for Marriages
Did you know?  Barely half of all adults in the U.S.—a record low—are married, and the median age at first marriage has never been higher for brides (26.5 years) and grooms (28.7), reports a new PEW Research Center analysis of U.S. Census data.  The number of new marriages in the U.S. declined by 5% between 2009 and 2010, a sharp one-year drop that may or may not be related to the economy.

Chirp Second Chance Grant Announcement
Did you know?  The Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, is accepting applications—by March 2, 2012—for the Second Chance Act Technology Careers Training Demonstration Projects for Incarcerated Adults and Juveniles. States, local government, territories and tribes can apply for funds for programs to train individuals in prisons, jails or juvenile residential facilities for technology-based jobs and careers during the three-year period before their release. See details.

Chirp  Welcoming Home Military Parents
This month, we welcome home returning military service members from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Many are fathers and mothers helping to raise their children, and some face unique challenges in their child support cases.  A new section on the OCSE website—Working with our Military and Veteran Parents—gives links to several fact sheets and other resources for military and veteran service members and families.  


Chirp More People Live in Poverty
Did you know?  Recent Census Bureau figures show that the number of poor people in 2010 (46.2 million) is the largest number in 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published.

Chirp – Fewer Poor Children in Married Families
Did you know? 
The recent Census Bureau publication “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010” reports that among children under age 6 in female-headed households, 58.2 percent were poor in 2010, about four times the percentage of children of the same age in married-couple families.

Chirp New Poverty Measure
Did you know? The Census Bureau just released a report using a new, more comprehensive poverty measure that supplements the official measure developed in the 1960’s by Mollie Orshansky.  The new alternative measure takes into account public assistance receipt, expenses, and geographic region.  The Census Bureau found that 18.2 percent of children under 18 years old are living in poverty under the alternative measure, lower than the official rate of 22.5 percent.

Chirp –  More OCSE Fact Sheets on Veterans
Did you know?  To commemorate Veterans Day, we issued two new fact sheets:  one on military services and child support partnerships and another on the child support collaboration for homeless veterans with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Bar Association.  These complement our recent fact sheet on veterans in the child support caseload.
 
Please read the three fact sheets as we welcome home military service members from Iraq and Afghanistan, and thank all veterans for their sacrifices on behalf of our country.

Chirp –  New OCSE Fact Sheet on Veterans
Did you know?  About half of the states have more than 10,000 veterans in their child support caseload.  See the first fact sheet in a series called the Story Behind the Numbers to learn about veterans in the child support caseload.  We issued a Story Behind the Numbers series several years ago; the new series also will offer data analyses to help us better understand child support issues.

Chirp –  Create Demographic Tables
Did you know? 
The National Center for Children and Poverty (Columbia University) offers an online tool to create custom state and national tables about low-income or poor children.  Choose areas of interest, such as parental education or employment, marital status, and race or ethnicity.  The Demographics Wizard may be helpful for your presentations related to poverty, economic stability, and family structure.

Chirp –  Tax Info for Prisoner Reentry Programs
Did you know? 
Did you know?  The IRS offers a free training package of tax information that organizations can use in prisoner reentry programs.  The package includes a training video, facilitator’s guide and participant brochure (in English and Spanish).

Chirp –  Recession’s Ripple Effects
Did you know?  Did you know? Census Bureau data shows that only 11.9% of Americans relocated between 2007 and 2008—the lowest rate since tracking began in the 1940s according to the Brookings Institution. In particular, long-distance moves declined. Although slow economic growth and high unemployment challenge us, fewer long-distance moves could make both child support enforcement and access and visitation arrangements easier on families.
 
Chirp –  HHS Tweets in Spanish
Did you know?  Did you know?  HHS launched a Spanish twitter account—@HHSLatino—to improve efforts to reach the Latino community.  (See the White House announcement.)  The twitter posts will highlight ongoing HHS activities important for Latino families.

  Chirp –  Data on Birth Rates
Did you know?  Did you know?  According to preliminary 2009 data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the birth rate for unmarried women declined almost 4 percent in 2009 compared to 2008.  (The number of births to unmarried women fell 2 percent, the first decline since 1996-1997.)  Birth rates for women in their early 20s fell, the largest decline for this age group since 1973.  Teen birth rates reached historic lows.  Rates fell significantly for all race and Hispanic origin groups.  However, the proportion of all births to unmarried women increased.

Chirp –  New Resources Concerning Teens
Did you know?  Two new resources from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy are available:  the Latino Resource Center and information based on a survey, “Under Pressure: What African-American Teens Aren’t Telling You About Sex, Love, and Relationships.” See OCSE’s related fact sheet on preventing the need for child support.

Chirp Poverty Rates – New Census Data
Did you know?  The U.S. Census Bureau announced this week that in 2010, median household income declined 2.3 percent from 2009; the nation’s poverty rate was 15.1 percent, the highest level since 1993.  The poverty rate for children increased to 22 percent in 2010.  See details in the news release.
 

Chirp How Long Do Marriages Last?
Did you know?  A new Census Bureau report titled Marital Events of Americans: 2009 looks at marriage, divorce and widowhood in America.  It’s the first of its kind to describe the detailed characteristics of marital events using the American Community Survey, according to the Census Bureau blog posted on Aug. 25, 2011.


Chirp Visualizing Income and Poverty Estimates
Did you know?  Recently the U.S. Census Bureau added interactive maps to the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program’s (SAIPE) website.  You can select, map, and display estimates of poverty by state, county and school district, and median household income by state and county.  Learn more in the blog posted on Aug. 26, 2011 at http://blogs.census.gov/.

Chirp PRWORA’s 15th Anniversary
Did you know?  Today is the anniversary of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.  President Clinton signed PRWORA into law on August 22, 1996, paving the way for the modern child support program. 


Chirp Grants to Enroll Children in Health Coverage
Did you know?  HHS has $40 million in grants available to enroll eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP.  As a result of the economic downturn, more children became eligible for Medicaid and CHIP; due to outreach efforts, the number of children eligible but not enrolled in these programs significantly dropped.  See the OCSE Health Coverage Bubble Chart Fact Sheet to learn how the child support program is connecting kids to coverage!


Chirp Tax Credit for Employers
Did you know? The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which ends December 2011, provides a tax incentive (up to $9,000) to employers that hire certain qualifying low-income individuals (veterans and ex-felons among them).  The DOL website explains how employers in your area can participate in this important program.


 Chirp Next Annual Wage Reporting Data Sweep
Did you know?  The next sweep of the Annual Wage Reporting (AWR) data will occur in September 2011.  The AWR returns wage data reported to SSA and includes self-employment, uncovered employment and regular employment.  Contact your State Technical Support Liaison for more information.


Chirp New Apps on State Services Portal
Did you know?  Three new applications are available on the State Services Portal—FPLS Locate, DOD Entitlement Records and Debt Inquiry Service.  Twelve states are on board with the new “apps”.  Will your state be next?  You’ll learn more about this tool in the August Child Support Report!  For more information, contact the End User Support Team at 800-258-2736 or CSENet.200@lmco.com.


Chirp – Parents’ Day is July 24
Did you know?  July 24th is Parents’ Day!  In 1994, President Clinton signed into law a resolution establishing the fourth Sunday in July as Parents’ Day.  Parents’ Day promotes recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in bringing up their children.
 

Chirp – Public Costs of Teen Childbearing
Did you know?  Although the number of births to teen mothers declined between 2007 and 2008, for the second year in a row, teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $10.9 billion in 2008.  The national and state estimates include costs associated with child welfare, criminal justice, public health and public assistance, as well as lost tax revenue.  For more information, visit www.TheNationalCampaign.org/costs.


Chirp –  Insurance Match Program Update
Did you know?  In the last year, 24 of the states participating in OCSE’s Insurance Match program collected a combined $6 million for families—a 220% increase. 544 insurance companies now participate.

Chirp – Domestic Violence Contact Info Now in IRG
Did you know? The online Intergovernmental Referral Guide now includes up-to-date addresses and telephone numbers for domestic violence coalitions in each state.  The info may be useful for child support program workers who have customers with possible issues involving domestic violence.  For more information, contact Ella Wood.
 
Chirp – Bubble Chart Fact Sheet Series Kick-off
Did you know? We just launched OCSE’s Promoting Child Well-Being and Family Self-Sufficiency Fact Sheet Series!  A fact sheet for each bubble in the “bubble chart” describes program innovations in that area and highlights state examples.  Keep an eye on this series for promising practices, new research, and other useful information.  And let us know what you think.

Chirp – VETS Grant Opportunities
Did you know?  DOL/Veteran’s Employment and Training Service announced that funding is available through the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.  Grant applicants will design programs that expedite the reintegration of eligible homeless veterans into the labor force by providing job placement services, job training, counseling, supportive services, and other assistance.  Visit DOL’s website for more information. 

Chirp –  New Guide for Community Organizations
Did you know?  HHS and the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships launched Partnerships for the Common Good, a guide for faith-based and community organizations. It provides opportunities to form partnerships across government and covers issues on housing, job creation, supporting healthy children and families, and responsible fatherhood.

Chirp –  Child Support “Mythbusters”
Did you know?  The National Reentry Resource Center has 13 “mythbusters,” including one on child support:
       MYTH:  Noncustodial parents who are incarcerated cannot have their child support orders reduced.
       FACT:  Half of all states have processes to reduce child support orders during incarceration; three-quarters have laws that permit incarcerated parents to obtain a reduced or suspended order.  See the mythbusters on the Center’s website.

 Chirp – Employers to Report Date of Hire
Did you know? Effective June 8, the Claims Resolution Act will require employers to report each new employee’s date of hire to the State Directory of New Hires.  See more information on the OCSE website.
 
Chirp –  Join the President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative
Did you know?  You can join the President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative at www.fatherhood.gov/initiative.  The goal is to encourage individuals, especially fathers, to be positive role models and mentors not only for their own children but for all the children in their lives and communities.  Fathers, mothers, and all role models are invited to participate!

Chirp –  Teen Pregnancy Rates Down
Did you know?  Nationally, the number of births to teen mothers (age 15-19) declined for a second year in a row after a brief increase in 2007.  A new Child Trends analysis shows that between 2007 and 2008, the teen birth rate decreased in 28 states, increased in 9 states, and remained the same in 13 states. 

Chirp – Building Assets for Fathers and Families
Did you know?  The Building Assets for Fathers and Families (BAFF) initiative is a collaboration of the ACF Office of Community Services and OCSE to improve the economic stability of children and families in the child support program. BAFF is part of the larger ASSET Initiative across ACF to bring the benefits of asset building to more low-income individuals and families. To learn more: http://www.idaresources.org/

Chirp –  Four New OCSE Grant Opportunities
Did you know?  OCSE announced three Section 1115 and one Special Improvement Project (SIP) grant funding opportunities on grants.gov (type OCSE in the keyword search). Two will develop partnerships (with universities and the workforce community); the third responds to the economic downturn; the fourth tests a data warehouse model. Section 1115 grant applications are due by June 27; the SIP grant by June 29. (None require applicant matching funds.)

Chirp – National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Did you know?  May 4 is the tenth annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, which stresses the importance of preventing teen pregnancy and challenges teens to think before they act “in the moment.”  Information, resources, and ideas to promote the day are available on the National Campaign’s website. You can also download the National Day brochure.

Chirp – Public Service Recognition Week
Did you know?   May 1-7 is Public Service Recognition Week. Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy said, “Let the public service be a proud and lively career. And let every man and woman who works in any area of our national government, in any branch, at any level, be able to say with pride and with honor in future years: ‘I served the United States Government in that hour of our nation’s need.’” I thank all of you in our federal, state, and local government offices for your daily hard work in the child support program.
 
Chirp – Alaska Permanent Fund
Did you know? Alaska Permanent Fund has benefited Alaskans for generations. Several states have found this fund to be a resource for collecting past-due child support. The states send a list of individuals to the Alaska child support agency to perform a match against the fund. Cases must be submitted by June 1 of each year for the money to be intercepted. For information about the data match, contact Lisa Taylor.

Chirp – Now 41 Comprehensive Tribal Programs
Did you know? Three new comprehensive tribal child support programs have been added so far this year, bringing the total to 41. The newest programs are from the Suquamish Tribe in Washington, and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, both in Minnesota.

Chirp – Don’t Forget EITC Refunds
Did you know?  The Earned Income Tax Credit can help workers in your state keep more of their earnings. For tax year 2009, more than 26 million people received EITC, lifting 6.6 million people out of poverty according to IRS estimates. For 2010, the maximum credit amount is $5,666. See the OCSE website or the EITC Toolkit.

Chirp – Resources for DOL Transitional Jobs Grant Applicants
Did you know? The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced $40 million in grant funds to provide enhanced transitional jobs programs to non-custodial parents or ex-offenders reentering their communities. The National Transitional Jobs Network offers online resources for those interested in applying for a grant. See www.heartlandalliance.org/ntjn/

Chirp – Could You Handle Unemployment?
Did you know? Although numbers improved slightly in January, nearly 14 million Americans are unemployed. See if you could make it through the month with limited funds at http://playspent.org/, a game sponsored by SPENT—a nonprofit initiative that uses social networking to engage, educate and inspire people to think about poverty and homelessness.

Chirp – E-Payments are Big Part of Collections
Did you know? In 2010, electronic payments accounted for 52.9 percent of states’ collections from employers, payroll service providers, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, interstate cases, and noncustodial parents paying online.

Chirp –Tour HealthCare.gov on March 10
Did you know?  The Affordable Care Act is helping to expand access to health care for millions of Americans. We can play an important role in connecting vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations to quality, affordable health care. Join the HHS Partnership Center for a virtual tour of HealthCare.gov, Thursday, March 10, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. Call 888-323-9813 (no passcode/RSVP needed).

Chirp – Incarceration’s Effect on Economic Mobility
Did you know? About 1 percent of the adult population is behind bars in the United States. Some of the top challenges for many reentering offenders are financial obligations such as child support and court-related fees. Learn more in a report from Pew Charitable Trusts:  “Collateral Costs: Incarceration’s Effect on Economic Mobility”

Chirp – FPLS Goes Green with Online Reports        
Did you know? State and regional offices now can access semi-annual FPLS State Profile reports and monthly New Hire (W-4) reports online, rather than receive paper reports in the mail. Contact ella.wood@acf.hhs.gov for information.

Chirp – Homeless Veterans Have Our Attention
Did you know? About one-third of the adult homeless population in the United States is veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Learn more on the VA’s website for the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. Stay tuned to updates on OCSE’s collaboration with the VA and American Bar Association to end homelessness, and other projects that reach out to veterans.

Chirp – FPLS: TSP Matches on the Way
Did you know? The FPLS will begin matching in February against the federal Thrift Savings Plan, one of the largest 401(k) plans in the nation. No additional programming is required by the states to accept these matches. They will be returned the same way as MSFIDM responses. For more information, please contact Matt Marsolais

Chirp – text4baby Turns One
Did you know? A happy and healthy public-private partnership is celebrating its first birthday this month. text4baby is a free text-messaging service that delivers timely health information during pregnancy and throughout a baby’s first year. Women can sign up for the service by texting BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411. Read about its success at whitehouse.gov.

Chirp – New Web Apps: Federal Offset and Passport Denial
Did you know? Federal Offset and Passport Denial are the newest web applications available through the State Services Portal. These applications, along with Query Interstate Cases for Kids (QUICK), provide near real-time access to case information via the portal. To learn about web applications, contact the End User Support Team at 800-258-2736 or csenet.2000@lmco.com.

Chirp – FPLS: TSP Matches on the Way
Did you know? The FPLS will begin matching in February against the federal Thrift Savings Plan, one of the largest 401(k) plans in the nation. No additional programming is required by the states to accept these matches. They will be returned the same way as MSFIDM responses. For more information, please contact Matt Marsolais.

Chirp – Promote Those Tax Credits
Did you know? During tax season, every one of us can be a messenger about the Earned Income Tax Credit and other credits like the Child Tax Credit. These refundable tax credits put much needed income into the hands of working parents and families. Find more information on the expanded Tax Credit Outreach Campaign website at www.eitcoutreach.org or visit http://www.eitc.irs.gov/central/main/ to see if you or someone you know may be eligible.

Chirp – EITC Awareness Day
Did You Know? January 28 will mark the fifth annual EITC Awareness Day.  Earned Income Tax Credit is a federal tax credit for low and middle-income workers. Last year more than 25 million people received nearly $58 billion in EITC. Learn more about EITC on the OCSE website.

Chirp – New OCSE Grant Opportunities                          
Did you know? Four new OCSE grant opportunities are posted on the HHS Grants Forecast website. Two are designed to develop partnerships—one with universities and the other with the workforce community; the third responds to the economic downturn; and the fourth is to test a data warehouse model. You can find more information on grant projects on the OCSE website.   

Chirp – Insurance Match Collections Top $4 Million
Did you know? Since the Insurance Match Program began in 2007, 20 states voluntarily reported collections totaling more than $4 million. Now, 53 of the 54 states and territories participate in the program, along with 448 insurance companies, 12 state workers’ compensation agencies and the U.S. Department of Labor. The real winners are the families with children who continue to benefit from this program!   

Chirp – Use FPLS to Identify ‘Review & Adjustment’ Cases    
Did you know? The quarterly wage record information provided by the FPLS now shows the amount of change in income from the previous quarter. States can use this information to identify cases for review and adjustment. For more information, contact your State Technical Support Liaison.

Chirp – OCSE Launches Blog Site                          
Did you know? OCSE has launched a blog titled Commissioner’s Voice—a reprint of the monthly Child Support Report column. Child support professionals and other stakeholders can engage in discussion by posting comments. The first is October’s “The Child Support and Domestic Violence Connection.”  I hope to hear from you soon in the blogosphere.

Chirp – APD Reform Published                      
Did you know? Advance Planning Document (APD) reform finally arrived on Oct. 28, with the final rule at 45 CFR Part 95. APD reform significantly changes how the Federal government oversees spending of federal dollars by states and localities on human services computer systems. APD reform classifies procurements by risk, allowing for a more limited review of low-risk procurements and dropping the requirement to include an annual cost-benefit analysis.

Chirp – New “Fragile Families” Research
Did you know? By age 5, a third of children born to unmarried parents see their father less than once a month, 55 percent of mothers have formed new relationships, and some children are showing problems in test performance and behavior, according to a report on Fragile Families published by The Future of Children.

Chirp – APD Reform Published                     
Did you know? Advance Planning Document (APD) reform finally arrived on Oct. 28, with the final rule at 45 CFR Part 95. APD reform significantly changes how the Federal government oversees spending of federal dollars by states and localities on human services computer systems. APD reform classifies procurements by risk, allowing for a more limited review of low-risk procurements and dropping the requirement to include an annual cost-benefit analysis.


Chirp – FPLS Match with National Change of Address System
Did you know? The FPLS can match your participant addresses with the Post Office’s National Change of Address. States will receive verified new addresses that will significantly reduce undeliverable mail and qualify your postage for bulk-rate discounts. Think of all the time and money the match can save you! For more information, contact your State Technical Support Liaison.

Chirp – SSA to Implement eIWO Process
Did you know? SSA has agreed to participate in the electronic income withholding order (eIWO) process to expedite garnishment of SSA benefits. Plans are just beginning, but we hope by year-end to know the implementation schedule. For more information, contact sherri.grigsby@acf.hhs.gov.

Chirp – Amounts Received by Poor Mothers          
Did you know?  In 2008, 35 percent of poor custodial mothers received child support, and the average amount of support received among those who received it was $3,477 per year. Also, 43 percent of near poor custodial mothers (those between 100 and 200 percent of the federal poverty line) received support, and the average amount received among those who received it was $4,294.    
 
Chirp – Hague Convention Approved
Did you know? On Sept. 29, the U.S. Senate approved the “Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance.” Once implementing legislation is passed and UIFSA 2008 is enacted and adopted by states, the Convention should lead to easier international child support case processing. To learn more, contact Anne Miller at anne.miller@acf.hhs.gov

Chirp – Insurance Match Program Collects Millions    
Did you know? Of the 53 states and territories participating in the insurance match program, 22 voluntarily reported more than $2.55 million collected. FL was the highest at nearly $1M; then Indiana at more than $500,000. 12 state workers’ compensation agencies, US DOL and 380 insurance companies participate. By year end, states can expect to receive matches from the first participating life insurer! Contact erica.holliman@acf.hhs.gov

Chirp – States Legislate Electronic Payments (replaces Chirp sent 9/1/10)
Did you know? Thirteen states have passed legislation or taken administrative action to require employers to remit their child support payments electronically. (The requirements target employers of a certain size or those deducting for a certain number of child support orders.) The 13 states are California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

Chirp – States Legislate Electronic Payments
Did you know? Twelve states have passed legislation or taken administrative action to require employers to remit their child support payments electronically. (The requirements target employers of a certain size or those deducting for a certain number of child support orders.) The 12 states are California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. (See Chirp sent 7/21/10 for the number of states using electronic disbursement.) For more information, contact nancy.benner@acf.hhs.gov.

Chirp – August 27 is ‘Power IT Down’ Day                  
Did you know?  Friday, Aug. 27, will mark the third annual Power IT Down Day, an event that encourages the public and private sectors to turn off their IT equipment at the end of the workday to save energy. If all of the 3.8 million state and local government employees in the nation shut off our computer, monitor and printer at the end of a workday, it would save enough energy to power more than 5,300 homes for one month—a good idea in a time of shrinking budgets and heightened awareness of “going green.”

Chirp – FPLS Annual Wage Reporting “Sweep”           
Did you know? The FPLS returns annual wage data from SSA, helping state child support agencies find people whose wage records are not in the National Directory of New Hires (i.e., self-employed and farm workers). State directors can request—by the end of August—to participate  in the annual “sweep” of the SSA data file, conducted each year when most W-2 records have been received for the prior calendar year. The director (or designee) can send the AWR Data Election form to the state Technical Support Liaison. (The SSA wage data is considered to be federal tax information, so the standard IRS safeguarding rules will apply.)  

Chirp – New HealthCare.gov Website
Did you know? As required by the Affordable Care Act, HHS recently launched www.HealthCare.gov. It’s the first central database of health coverage options. It combines information about public programs, from Medicare to the new Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan, with information from more than 1,000 private insurance plans. You can enter information about an individual or family, by state, and find a range of coverage options. The site will grow over time in response to consumer feedback and new information (price estimates for health insurance plans will be added in October). The site has become the complete source for information about health reform implementation, and even includes personalized health tips.

Chirp – Markets for Debit Card Spending
Did you know? With increasing use of debit cards to disburse child support, states can determine the primary markets and merchants where custodial parents use their child support debit cards. One bank provider for 14 states determined the top 3 market categories where child support debit cards were used in 2009: supermarkets, fuel and fast food restaurants (58 percent of all transactions). More than a million cards have been issued in those states. One of the states using this bank provider broke the data down further and identified the top 3 merchants for the child support debits: Walmart, Safeway and King Soopers. This information can help reassure the noncustodial parent that their payments really are being spent on the kids.
 

Chirp – Electronic Disbursement Nearly Nationwide     
Did you know? The majority of states have recognized the cost savings from electronic disbursement and issue child support payments via direct deposit or a debit card. It can cost a dollar per check versus less than a dime per electronic deposit. Now, 47 states offer debit cards and 4 are in the planning stage. The recent trend shows that 24 states have opted to mandate electronic disbursement. Among those that don’t have statutory authority to mandate electronic disbursement, some are promoting its use; even states without authority report its use at 80 and 90 percent.

Chirp – 25 States using QUICK!
Did you know?
Louisiana implemented OCSE’s Query Interstate Cases for Kids (QUICK) system in May, Kansas in June and Oklahoma in early July 2010. Now 25 states are on board with QUICK! Kansas was the first state to access QUICK using OCSE’s new State Services Portal.

Chirp – 35th Anniversary of Child Support Program
Did you know? July 1, 2010, marks the 35th anniversary of the national child support program. Public Law 93-647, signed by President Ford on January 4, 1975, and effective July 1, established Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act. The program has shifted from a welfare cost recovery to a family support program. Our goal is to ensure steady support of children throughout their childhood. We have the opportunity to help a generation of children if we can help their parents stabilize their lives and build stronger families.

Chirp – Reminder:  Beware of Scams            

Did you know?The FBI issued a warning in June 2008 about scammers who send e-mails or text messages to people about problems on their debit card accounts and then steal account numbers and PINs. This is still happening. You may want to remind parents in your caseload about your state’s policy on communications regarding electronic disbursements and offer a child support contact name and number to verify the validity of messages that ask them to provide personal information.

Chirp # 25  Insure Kids Now! Widget Available                                      

Did you know?  OCSE is continuing to play our part in Secretary Sebelius’s Challenge to enroll all eligible uninsured children in CHIP and Medicaid within 5 years.  See the Insure Kids Now! widget (in English and Spanish) on the OCSE website.  The widget links to information about programs by state and to another widget that links to the Children’s Health Insurance Toolkit.  (Toolkit materials are available in Spanish, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Vietnamese.) You can customize these materials to distribute in your community.

Chirp # 24  New Grant Opportunity in Teen Pregnancy Prevention
Did you know . . .  State child support agencies are eligible to compete for HHS demonstration grants that address teen pregnancy prevention. Up to $25 million is available for research and demonstration grants to develop, replicate, refine, and test additional model and innovative strategies for preventing teenage pregnancy.  In addition, a total $10 million is available to implement and test innovative strategies using funds through the Personal Responsibility Education Program provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 2010.  The HHS Office of Adolescent Health and the ACF Administration for Children, Youth and Families will manage the grants. The deadline for applications is June 8.

Chirp #23     Search Engine for Child Support Resources
Did you know . . . You can search for federal, state and tribal child support program information through a search engine on the OCSE Web site called The National Electronic Child Support Resource System (NECSRS). The system has been recently updated to index child support program materials from federal and state websites using Google Custom Search. It also includes a glossary of child support related terms and state and tribal contacts.

Chirp #22      $26 Billion Distributed in FY 2009     
Did you know . . . In FY 2009 the child support enforcement program distributed more than $26 billion in collections. Of that amount, about $24 billion was sent directly to families.  That means that nearly 92 percent of all collections distributed actually went to children and families.

Chirp #21   FY 2009 Paternity Establishment Percentage   
Did you know. . .    In FY 2009, the national IV-D Paternity Establishment Percentage (PEP) was around 98 percent, an increase of nearly 3 percentage points over FY 2008.  At 95 percent, the Statewide PEP is down about 1 percentage point from what was reported in FY 2008.  This change is indicative of a national trend extending over the past 10 years where the IV-D PEP has continued to increase and the Statewide PEP has declined.

Chirp #20   Census 2010 Videos
Did you know . . . The Census 2010 public awareness campaign “Children Count Too” offers promotional videos in English and Spanish to remind parents to count their babies and young children on the 2010 Census forms.  See the Toolkit for Parents and Child Care Providers for more information.  As census results can impact funding for children’s programs, ACF is an active partner in this campaign.

Chirp #19   Addressing the IWO and NMSN
Did you know…  You can find correct addresses for sending income withholding orders (IWO) and National Medical Support Notices (NMSN) to all federal agencies posted quarterly on the OCSE Web site.   Use these addresses to ensure you deliver prompt services for families.  On the list, you’ll see four major payroll providers, but there are exceptions.  And, usually the NMSN address is different than the IWO address.  (Remember, you needn’t send any notices for active duty and military retirees.)  For more information contact Cheri Davidson at cheri.davidson@ngc.com. 

Chirp #18   New OCSE Grant Opportunities
Did you know… Four new OCSE grant opportunities are posted on the HHS Grants Forecast Web site. (Type OCSE in the search field.) They respond to increasing needs for child support services to help active duty military members, veterans, fathers and families, and to collaborate with other agencies to prevent child support debt.  In addition, see summaries of recently awarded and previous OCSE grant projects on the grants page of the OCSE Web site.  Consider displaying this link on your child support agency intranet—or saving it in your bookmarks—to stay informed about upcoming grant opportunities and results.  Your experiences and lessons learned in testing new methods through grant projects serve as valuable tools for all of us in the child support community.

Chirp #17      Health Reform Fact Sheets
Did you know… The White House just released a series of fact sheets about how health reform affects different groups, like families, children, and young adults.  These documents are available at www.healthreform.gov and on the White House Web site at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/04/01/what-health-reform-means-you-and-your-community

Chirp #16         SSA Title II Benefits
Did you know … States collect almost $58 million for children every month through income withholding on SSA Title II disability benefits?  That’s almost $700 million per year.  But there’s more … Children may be eligible, as “auxiliary beneficiaries,” to receive their own SSA benefits.  And, the child’s benefits might result in the noncustodial parent owing less child support.  For more information, contact your State Technical Support Liaison.
 
Chirp #15   Parent Responsibility in New Health Reform Law    
Did you know… The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R.3590) amends the Internal Revenue Code to require that the parent who claims the child as a dependent on their federal tax return—usually the parent with whom the child resides for more than half of the year—is responsible for demonstrating that the child has acceptable health care coverage.  The new law says: “An applicable individual shall for each month beginning after 2013 ensure that the individual, and any dependent of the individual who is an applicable individual, is covered under minimum essential coverage for such month.”  § 1501. (b), new Subtitle D of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, Chapter 48, § 5000A (a).  Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code defines “dependent.”

Chirp #14   Health Care Coverage
Did you know … In The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R.3590), acceptable health care coverage is private, public or publicly subsidized.  Parents can meet their responsibility to cover their children through eligible employer-sponsored plans, subsidized coverage purchased through a new health insurance exchange, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE and other coverage.

Chirp #13   Health Care Reform Bill Signed                
Did you know… The President signed The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R.3590) into law today.  This legislation includes new guidelines, enforced by the IRS, for who will be responsible for covering themselves and their children.  Effective 2014, the parent who claims the child as a dependent on their federal tax return is responsible for showing that the child has acceptable private or public health care coverage or else paying a tax penalty.  Those who cannot afford coverage are exempt.

Chirp #12  Health Care Reform Bill Passed                
Did you know… Last night the House passed The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R.3590).  This national health reform legislation makes quality, affordable health care coverage available to 95 percent of all Americans—through their employers, insurance exchanges, and public coverage programs—and brings a host of new consumer insurance protections.  The President is expected to sign this bill into law shortly.

Chirp #11   New OFA Policy Guidance
Did you know … TANF emergency funds authorized under the Recovery Act can be used to pay a benefit to a noncustodial parent to reduce or pay off child support arrearages owed to the family?  Other examples of services that may be provided to either parent or other adults under the fund include jobs skills training or retraining activities, employment placement services, subsidized employment, employment counseling services, mentoring and tutoring services, premarital and marital counseling, parental counseling or mediation services, teen pregnancy prevention services, and financial counseling services.  See the new OFA policy guidance.

Chirp #10           New SIP Grant Opportunity
Did you know … OCSE has announced a new Special Improvement Project (SIP) grant opportunity titled “Creating Family-Centered Approaches to Improve Child Support Enforcement Outcomes”?  Applicants should demonstrate strategies that educate and involve both parents in child support enforcement processes, and coordinate referral of both parents to needed non-child support services, such as workforce development and employment.  The closing date for applications is May 17.  See the announcement on the Grants.gov Web site.

Chirp #9
Did you know… When the federal government in D.C. closed for four days due to record-breaking snowstorms, the FPLS operated without interruption?  We re-routed our customer service lines, and data processing continued for federal tax offset, passport denial, the National Directory of New Hires and other systems, with staff monitoring via “VPN access” from their homes—despite the blizzard conditions.  Staff also continued with conference calls and provided technical support to states.  Rest assured that even when the federal government closes, the FPLS keeps operating.

Chirp #8
Did you know…1 in 4 children in the United States participates in the child support program, and the program serves half of all poor children?
The child support program lifts 1 million people out of poverty each year and provides about 30 percent of income for the poor families who receive it.

Chirp #7
Did you know…that the Federal Offset Program collected over $2 billion for America’s children in 2009?  Sources for these collections included noncustodial parents’ federal income tax refunds, administrative non-tax payments and the special one-time $250 Economic Recovery Payments issued as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  That’s nearly 8 percent of the total child support.  For more information about the Federal Offset Program, please contact Rebecca Hamil at 202-205-5612.

Chirp #6
Did you know…Feb. 4, 2010, was the first anniversary of the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA)—one of the first bills President Obama signed?   CHIPRA provides new tools and significant funding to increase CHIP and Medicaid coverage for uninsured children, including those in the IV-D program.  More than 4 out of 5 uninsured children in custodial mother families are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP.  To find out more about CHIPRA and health insurance for children in your state, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services’ newly revamped Web site www.InsureKidsNow.gov.

Chirp #5
Did you know … Hispanics are the largest and youngest minority group in the United States?  Research has shown that 1 in 4 newborns and 1 in 5 schoolchildren are Hispanic.  Among families receiving child support services, nearly one-fifth are Hispanic.  Find out how to conduct effective outreach to the Hispanic community on the OCSE online Hispanic Child Support Resource Center and the Hispanic Toolkit DVD materials.  (Call Ja-Na Bordes with questions at 202-401-5713.)  Will you be the first to get the TV or radio PSA spots aired?

Chirp #4
Did you know…that you can make life easier for the noncustodial parent who has paid to get his or her passport?  OCSE’s new online Passport Denial screen is at your fingertips!  Not only can you enter the release, but you also can report the dollar amount of the lump-sum payment.  You can see whether another state needs to take action, too.  Online releases are submitted to the Department of State daily.  For more information, contact Rebecca Hamil at 202-205-5612.

Chirp #3
Did you know…1 in 4 children in the United States participates in the child support program, and the program serves half of all poor children?   The child support program lifts 1 million people out of poverty each year and provides about 30 percent of income for the poor families who receive it.

Chirp #2
Did you know … beginning in January 2010, the Federal Offset Program will start sending you weekly tax refund and administrative offset collections, instead of biweekly?  This will help OCSE and the states keep the data in sync.  More importantly, it will allow you to disburse offset collections to families more quickly!  For more information, contact Rebecca Hamil at 202-205-5612.

Chirp #1
Did you know…the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pays billions of dollars in crop subsidies?  And now, for the first time, we are able to intercept these subsidies for past-due child-support obligations.  USDA sends out millions of payments annually, with most of the checks being issued in October.  You can ensure your families’ share of these payments by submitting obligors for administrative offsets through the Tax Offset Program.  As a reminder, States’ participation in the Administrative Offset is voluntary. This is time sensitive, so don’t miss out on this excellent source of collections!  For more information, contact Rebecca Hamil at (202) 205-5612.