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STATE PLAN FOR CHILD AND SPOUSAL SUPPORT

Sec454[42 U.S.C. 654]  A State plan for child and spousal support must—

(1) provide that it shall be in effect in all political subdivisions of the State;

(2) provide for financial participation by the State;

(3) provide for the establishment or designation of a single and separate organizational unit, which meets such staffing and organizational requirements as the Secretary may by regulation prescribe, within the State to administer the plan;

(4) provide that the State will—

(A) provide services relating to the establishment of paternity or the establishment, modification, or enforcement of child support obligations, as appropriate, under the plan with respect to—

(i) each child for whom (I) assistance is provided under the State program funded under part A of this title, (II) benefits or services for foster care maintenance are provided under the State program funded under part E of this title, (III) medical assistance is provided under the State plan approved under title XIX, or (IV) cooperation is required pursuant to section 6(l)(1) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2015(l)(1))[181], unless, in accordance with paragraph (29), good cause or other exceptions exist;

(ii) any other child, if an individual applies for such services with respect to the child; and

(B) enforce any support obligation established with respect to—

(i) a child with respect to whom the State provides services under the plan; or

(ii) the custodial parent of such a child;

(5) provide that (A) in any case in which support payments are collected for an individual with respect to whom an assignment pursuant to section 408(a)(3) is effective, such payments shall be made to the State for distribution pursuant to section 457 and shall not be paid directly to the family, and the individual will be notified on a monthly basis (or on a quarterly basis for so long as the Secretary determines with respect to a State that requiring such notice on a monthly basis would impose an unreasonable administrative burden) of the amount of the support payments collected, and (B) in any case in which support payments are collected for an individual pursuant to the assignment made under section 1912, such payments shall be made to the State for distribution pursuant to section 1912, except that this clause shall not apply to such payments for any month after the month in which the individual ceases to be eligible for medical assistance;

(6) provide that—

(A) services under the plan shall be made available to residents of other States on the same terms as to residents of the State submitting the plan;

(B)(i) an application fee for furnishing such services shall be imposed on an individual, other than an individual receiving assistance under a State program funded under part A or E, or under a State plan approved under title XIX, or who is required by the State to cooperate with the State agency administering the program under this part pursuant to subsection (l) or (m) of section 6 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008[182], and shall be paid by the individual applying for such services, or recovered from the absent parent, or paid by the State out of its own funds (the payment of which from State funds shall not be considered as an administrative cost of the State for the operation of the plan, and shall be considered income to the program), the amount of which (I) will not exceed $25 (or such higher or lower amount (which shall be uniform for all States) as the Secretary may determine to be appropriate for any fiscal year to reflect increases or decreases in administrative costs), and (II) may vary among such individuals on the basis of ability to pay (as determined by the State); and

(ii) in the case of an individual who has never received assistance under a State program funded under part A and for whom the State has collected at least $500 of support, the State shall impose an annual fee of $25 for each case in which services are furnished, which shall be retained by the State from support collected on behalf of the individual (but not from the first $500 so collected), paid by the individual applying for the services, recovered from the absent parent, or paid by the State out of its own funds (the payment of which from State funds shall not be considered as an administrative cost of the State for the operation of the plan, and the fees shall be considered income to the program);

(C) a fee of not more than $25 may be imposed in any case where the State requests the Secretary of the Treasury to withhold past-due support owed to or on behalf of such individual from a tax refund pursuant to section 464(a)(2);

(D) a fee (in accordance with regulations of the Secretary) for performing genetic tests may be imposed on any individual who is not a recipient of assistance under a State program funded under part A, and

(E) any costs in excess of the fees so imposed may be collected—

(i) from the parent who owes the child or spousal support obligation involved; or

(ii) at the option of the State, from the individual to whom such services are made available, but only if such State has in effect a procedure whereby all persons in such State having authority to order child or spousal support are informed that such costs are to be collected from the individual to whom such services were made available;[183]

(7) provide for entering into cooperative arrangements with appropriate courts and law enforcement officials and Indian tribes or tribal organizations (as defined in subsections (e) and (l) of section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450B)[184]) (A) to assist the agency administering the plan, including the entering into of financial arrangements with such courts and officials in order to assure optimum results under such program, and (B) with respect to any other matters of common concern to such courts or officials and the agency administering the plan;

(8) provide that, for the purpose of establishing parentage, establishing, setting the amount of, modifying, or enforcing child support obligations, or making or enforcing a child custody or visitation determination, as defined in section 463(d)(1) the agency administering the plan will establish a service to locate parents utilizing—

(A) all sources of information and available records; and

(B) the Federal Parent Locator Service established under section 453,

and shall, subject to the privacy safeguards required under paragraph (26), disclose only the information described in sections 453 and 463 to the authorized persons specified in such sections for the purpose specified in such sections;

(9) provide that the State will, in accordance with standards prescribed by the Secretary, cooperate with any other State—

(A) in establishing paternity, if necessary,

(B) in locating a noncustodial parent residing in the State (whether or not permanently) against whom any action is being taken under a program established under a plan approved under this part in another State,

(C) in securing compliance by a noncustodial parent residing in such State (whether or not permanently) with an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction against such parent for the support and maintenance of the child or children or the parent of such child or children with respect to whom aid is being provided under the plan of such other State;

(D) in carrying out other functions required under a plan approved under this part;

(E) not later than March 1, 1997, in using the forms promulgated pursuant to section 452(a)(11) for income withholding, imposition of liens, and issuance of administrative subpoenas in interstate child support cases;

(10) provide that the State will maintain a full record of collections and disbursements made under the plan and have an adequate reporting system;

(11)(A) provide that amounts collected as support shall be distributed as provided in section 457; and

(B) provide that any payment required to be made under section 456 or 457 to a family shall be made to the resident parent, legal guardian, or caretaker relative having custody of or responsibility for the child or children;

(12) provide for the establishment of procedures to require the State to provide individuals who are applying for or receiving services under the State plan, or who are parties to cases in which services are being provided under the State plan—

(A) with notice of all proceedings in which support obligations might be established or modified; and

(B) with a copy of any order establishing or modifying a child support obligation, or (in the case of a petition for modification) a notice of determination that there should be no change in the amount of the child support award, within 14 days after issuance of such order or determination;

(13) provide that the State will comply with such other requirements and standards as the Secretary determines to be necessary to the establishment of an effective program for locating noncustodial parents, establishing paternity, obtaining support orders, and collecting support payments and provide that information requests by parents who are residents of other States be treated with the same priority as requests by parents who are residents of the State submitting the plan;

(14)(A) comply with such bonding requirements, for employees who receive, disburse, handle, or have access to, cash, as the Secretary shall by regulations prescribe;[185]

(B) maintain methods of administration which are designed to assure that persons responsible for handling cash receipts shall not participate in accounting or operating functions which would permit them to conceal in the accounting records the misuse of cash receipts (except that the Secretary shall by regulations provide for exceptions to this requirement in the case of sparsely populated areas where the hiring of unreasonable additional staff would otherwise be necessary);

(15) provide for—

(A) a process for annual reviews of and reports to the Secretary on the State program operated under the State plan approved under this part, including such information as may be necessary to measure State compliance with Federal requirements for expedited procedures, using such standards and procedures as are required by the Secretary, under which the State agency will determine the extent to which the program is operated in compliance with this part; and

(B) a process of extracting from the automated data processing system required by paragraph (16) and transmitting to the Secretary data and calculations concerning the levels of accomplishment (and rates of improvement) with respect to applicable performance indicators (including paternity establishment percentages) to the extent necessary for purposes of sections 452(g) and 458;

(16) provide for the establishment and operation by the State agency, in accordance with an (initial and annually updated) advance automated data processing planning document approved under section 452(d), of a statewide automated data processing and information retrieval system meeting the requirements of section 454A designed effectively and efficiently to assist management in the administration of the State plan, so as to control, account for, and monitor all the factors in the support enforcement collection and paternity determination process under such plan;

(17) provide that the State will have in effect an agreement with the Secretary entered into pursuant to section 463 for the use of the Parent Locator Service established under section 453 and, provide that the State will accept and transmit to the Secretary requests for information authorized under the provisions of the agreement to be furnished by such Service to authorized persons, will impose and collect (in accordance with regulations of the Secretary) a fee sufficient to cover the costs to the State and to the Secretary incurred by reason of such requests, will transmit to the Secretary from time to time (in accordance with such regulations) so much of the fees collected as are attributable to such costs to the Secretary so incurred, and during the period that such agreement is in effect will otherwise comply with such agreement and regulations of the Secretary with respect thereto;

(18) provide that the State has in effect procedures necessary to obtain payment of past-due support from overpayments made to the Secretary of the Treasury as set forth in section 464, and take all steps necessary to implement and utilize such procedures;

(19) provide that the agency administering the plan—

(A) shall determine on a periodic basis, from information supplied pursuant to section 508 of the Unemployment Compensation Amendments of 1976[186], whether any individuals receiving compensation under the State’s unemployment compensation law (including amounts payable pursuant to any agreement under any Federal unemployment compensation law) owe child support obligations which are being enforced by such agency; and

(B) shall enforce any such child support obligations which are owed by such an individual but are not being met—

(i) through an agreement with such individual to have specified amounts withheld from compensation otherwise payable to such individual and by submitting a copy of any such agreement to the State agency administering the unemployment compensation law;

(ii) in the absence of such an agreement, by bringing legal process (as defined in section 459(i)(5) of this Act) to require the withholding of amounts from such compensation;

(20) provide, to the extent required by section 466, that the State (A) shall have in effect all of the laws to improve child support enforcement effectiveness which are referred to in that section, and (B) shall implement the procedures which are prescribed in or pursuant to such laws;

(21)(A) at the option of the State, impose a late payment fee on all overdue support (as defined in section 466(e)) under any obligation being enforced under this part, in an amount equal to a uniform percentage determined by the State (not less than 3 percent nor more than 6 percent) of the overdue support, which shall be payable by the noncustodial parent owing the overdue support; and

(B) assure that the fee will be collected in addition to, and only after full payment of, the overdue support, and that the imposition of the late payment fee shall not directly or indirectly result in a decrease in the amount of the support which is paid to the child (or spouse) to whom, or on whose behalf, it is owed;

(22) in order for the State to be eligible to receive any incentive payments under section 458, provide that, if one or more political subdivisions of the State participate in the costs of carrying out activities under the State plan during any period, each such subdivision shall be entitled to receive an appropriate share (as determined by the State) of any such incentive payments made to the State for such period, taking into account the efficiency and effectiveness of the activities carried out under the State plan by such political subdivision;

(23) provide that the State will regularly and frequently publicize, through public service announcements, the availability of child support enforcement services under the plan and otherwise, including information as to any application fees for such services and a telephone number or postal address at which further information may be obtained and will publicize the availability and encourage the use of procedures for voluntary establishment of paternity and child support by means the State deems appropriate;

(24) provide that the State will have in effect an automated data processing and information retrieval system—

(A) by October 1, 1997, which meets all requirements of this part which were enacted on or before the date of enactment of the Family Support Act of 1988,

(B) by October 1, 2000, which meets all requirements of this part enacted on or before the date of the enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996[187], except that such deadline shall be extended by 1 day for each day (if any) by which the Secretary fails to meet the deadline imposed by section 344(a)(3) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996;

(25) provide that if a family with respect to which services are provided under the plan ceases to receive assistance under the State program funded under part A, the State shall provide appropriate notice to the family and continue to provide such services, subject to the same conditions and on the same basis as in the case of other individuals to whom services are furnished under the plan, except that an application or other request to continue services shall not be required of such a family and paragraph (6)(B) shall not apply to the family;

(26) have in effect safeguards, applicable to all confidential information handled by the State agency, that are designed to protect the privacy rights of the parties, including—

(A) safeguards against unauthorized use or disclosure of information relating to proceedings or actions to establish paternity, or to establish, modify or enforce support, or to make or enforce a child custody determination;

(B) prohibitions against the release of information on the whereabouts of 1 party or the child to another party against whom a protective order with respect to the former party or the child has been entered;

(C) prohibitions against the release of information on the whereabouts of 1 party or the child to another person if the State has reason to believe that the release of the information may to that person result in physical or emotional harm to the party or the child;

(D) in cases in which the prohibitions under subparagraphs (B) and (C) apply, the requirement to notify the Secretary, for purposes of section 453(b)(2), that the State has reasonable evidence of domestic violence or child abuse against a party or the child and that the disclosure of such information could be harmful to the party or the child; and

(E) procedures providing that when the Secretary discloses information about a parent or child to a State court or an agent of a State court described in section 453(c)(2) or 463(d)(2)(B), and advises that court or agent that the Secretary has been notified that there is reasonable evidence of domestic violence or child abuse pursuant to section 453(b)(2), the court shall determine whether disclosure to any other person of information received from the Secretary could be harmful to the parent or child and, if the court determines that disclosure to any other person could be harmful, the court and its agents shall not make any such disclosure;

(27) provide that, on and after October 1, 1998, the State agency will—

(A) operate a State disbursement unit in accordance with section 454B; and

(B) have sufficient State staff (consisting of State employees) and (at State option) contractors reporting directly to the State agency to—

(i) monitor and enforce support collections through the unit in cases being enforced by the State pursuant to section 454(4) (including carrying out the automated data processing responsibilities described in section 454A(g)); and

(ii) take the actions described in section 466(c)(1) in appropriate cases;

(28) provide that, on and after October 1, 1997, the State will operate a State Directory of New Hires in accordance with section 453A;

(29) provide that the State agency responsible for administering the State plan—

(A) shall make the determination (and redetermination at appropriate intervals) as to whether an individual who has applied for or is receiving assistance under the State program funded under part A, the State program under part E, the State program under title XIX, or the supplemental nutrition assistance program, as defined under section 3(l) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2012(l)[188]), is cooperating in good faith with the State in establishing the paternity of, or in establishing, modifying, or enforcing a support order for, any child of the individual by providing the State agency with the name of, and such other information as the State agency may require with respect to, the noncustodial parent of the child, subject to good cause and other exceptions which—

(i) in the case of the State program funded under part A, the State program under part E, or the State program under title XIX shall, at the option of the State, be defined, taking into account the best interests of the child, and applied in each case, by the State agency administering such program; and

(ii) in the case of the supplemental nutrition assistance program, as defined under section 3(l) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2012(h)), shall be defined and applied in each case under that program in accordance with section 6(l)(2) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2015(l)(2))[189];

(B) shall require the individual to supply additional necessary information and appear at interviews, hearings, and legal proceedings;

(C) shall require the individual and the child to submit to genetic tests pursuant to judicial or administrative order;

(D) may request that the individual sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, after notice of the rights and consequences of such an acknowledgment, but may not require the individual to sign an acknowledgment or otherwise relinquish the right to genetic tests as a condition of cooperation and eligibility for assistance under the State program funded under part A, the State program under part E, the State program under title XIX, or the supplemental nutrition assistance program, as defined under section 3(l) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2012(h)); and

(E) shall promptly notify the individual and the State agency administering the State program funded under part A, the State agency administering the State program under part E, the State agency administering the State program under title XIX, or the State agency administering the supplemental nutrition assistance program, as defined under section 3(l) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2012(h)), of each such determination, and if noncooperation is determined, the basis therefor;

(30) provide that the State shall use the definitions established under section 452(a)(5) in collecting and reporting information as required under this part;

(31) provide that the State agency will have in effect a procedure for certifying to the Secretary, for purposes of the procedure under section 452(k), determinations that individuals owe arrearages of child support in an amount exceeding $2,500, under which procedure—

(A) each individual concerned is afforded notice of such determination and the consequences thereof, and an opportunity to contest the determination; and

(B) the certification by the State agency is furnished to the Secretary in such format, and accompanied by such supporting documentation, as the Secretary may require;

(32)(A) provide that any request for services under this part by a foreign reciprocating country or a foreign country with which the State has an arrangement described in section 459A(d) shall be treated as a request by a State;

(B) provide, at State option, notwithstanding paragraph (4) or any other provision of this part, for services under the plan for enforcement of a spousal support order not described in paragraph (4)(B) entered by such a country (or subdivision); and

(C) provide that no applications will be required from, and no costs will be assessed for such services against, the foreign reciprocating country or foreign obligee (but costs may at State option be assessed against the obligor);

(33) provide that a State that receives funding pursuant to section 428 and that has within its borders Indian country (as defined in section 1151 of title 18, United States Code[190]) may enter into cooperative agreements with an Indian tribe or tribal organization (as defined in subsections (e) and (l) of section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b)), if the Indian tribe or tribal organization demonstrates that such tribe or organization has an established tribal court system or a Court of Indian Offenses with the authority to establish paternity, establish, modify, or enforce support orders or, and to enter support orders in accordance with child support guidelines established or adopted by such tribe or organization, under which the State and tribe or organization, under which the State and tribe or organization shall provide for the cooperative delivery of child support enforcement services in Indian country and for the forwarding of all collections pursuant to the functions performed by the tribe or organization to the State agency, or conversely, by the State agency to the tribe or organization, which shall distribute such collections in accordance with such agreement; and

(34) include an election by the State to apply section 457(a)(2)(B) of this Act or former section 457(a)(2)(B) of this Act (as in effect for the State immediately before the date this paragraph first applies to the State) to the distribution of the amounts which are the subject of such sections and, for so long as the State elects to so apply such former section, the amendments made by subsection (b)(1) of section 7301 of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005[191] shall not apply with respect to the State, notwithstanding subsection (e) of such section 7301.

The State may allow the jurisdiction which makes the collection involved to retain any application fee under paragraph (6)(B) or any late payment fee under paragraph (21). Nothing in paragraph (33) shall void any provision of any cooperative agreement entered into before the date of the enactment of such paragraph, nor shall such paragraph deprive any State of jurisdiction over Indian country (as so defined) that is lawfully exercised under section 402 of the Act entitled “An Act to prescribe penalties for certain acts of violence or intimidation, and for other purposes”, approved April 11, 1968 (25 U.S.C. 1322).


[181]  See Vol. II, P.L. 88-525, §6(l).

[182]  See Vol. II, P.L. 88-525, §6(l) and (m).

[183]  See Vol. II, 31 U.S.C. 9701, with respect to fees and charges for Government services and things of value.

[184]  See Vol. II, P.L. 94-437, §4.

[185]  See Vol. II, 31 U.S.C. 9309, with respect to priority of sureties.

[186]  See Vol II, P.L. 94-566, §508.

[187]  August 22, 1996 [P.L. 104-193, 110 Stat. 2105].

[188]  See Vol. II, P.L. 88-525, §3(l).

[189]  See Vol. II, P.L. 88-525, §6(l)(2).

[190]  See Vol. II, 18 U.S.C. 1151.

[191]  P.L. 109-171.