What is the Child Support Services program?
Child Support Enforcement (CSE) is a national program established by Congress in 1975 to ensure that both parents are responsible for the support of their children to the best of their ability. This program, now known in North Carolina as Child Support Services (CSS), provides CSS Services to the custodians of minor children, regardless of income level.
CSS agents help locate noncustodial parents (NCPs), establish the paternity of the child(ren), and petition the court to order child support payments. Once a court order has been established, incoming child support payments are receipted at CSS’s Centralized Collections Operation, which manages the collection and disbursement of all ordered child support payments in the state. To enforce child support orders, CSS agents can initiate legal action against the NCP, withhold support payments from the NCP’s wages, and intercept the NCP’s tax refunds
Anyone with a child support case can get information on their case using the web or telephone, eChild Support: The North Carolina eChild Support web site was implemented in February 2002 and has been a tremendous success with custodial and noncustodial parents. They use this tool to quickly obtain information about their case and payment information. Registered users are up to 76,950. About 6,500 people go to the website daily, and send an average of 100 emails requesting such services as case information or address changes.
Customer Service at 1-800-992-9457:The state-of-the-art customer service center assists callers 24 hours a day with an automated voice response system as well as personalized assistance between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm. The facility received an average of 140,000 calls a week. Monthly surveys were conducted from January to July of 2003, and found that 94 percent of callers were satisfied with the service received and 96 percents agreed that the customer service representative was courteous and professional.
North Carolina CSS Organization
The Governor of North Carolina has designated the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as the CSS Agency. N.C. General Statutes 110-128 through 110-142.2 authorize DHHS to supervise the child support program. DHHS has designated the Division of Social Services (DSS) to be responsible for this program. The Child Support Services (CSS) Section exists within DSS.
Some counties have placed their CSS program under the authority of county DSS, some counties have placed it under Revenue or the County Attorney, and recently some counties have elected to offer services by contracting with private companies. There are currently 101 Child Support Offices- 76 under the authority of County DSS, 7 under the authority of Revenue or the County Manager, 17 under contract with private companies and 1 Tribal Office. Regardless of who operates the local CSS office, the same regulation, laws, and state policies apply.
A staff of CSS Regional Program Representatives is responsible for providing consultation and program assistance to all local programs.
Role & Responsibilities of the CSS Agency
- Gather all available information from individuals and other agencies.
- Evaluate their cases and determine the support activities to be pursued.
- Contract with attorneys to represent cases in civil court actions. These attorneys represent the CSS agency and not the individual custodial parent in a case.
- Work with all parties in a case, providing information or explanation of case activities when appropriate.
- Keep the information that they receive confidential. Only information that is public record can be divulged. (N.C. law requires CSS to list the Social Security numbers of all parties who are involved in a child support case on documents that establish paternity and support.)
- Abide by federal regulations and state laws when handling child support cases. Automation has increased the speed and accuracy of information gathering, taking actions, and disbursing support payments for children.
- Are required to continue providing the necessary services to all cases after Public Assistance is terminated, unless the custodial parent requests that services not be provided and no amounts are due and owed to the state.