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NCSEA “Shaping the Future of Child Support: A Conversation with the Commissioner”

Did anyone participate in the NCSEA webinar today “Shaping the Future of Child Support: A Conversation with the Commissioner”?  I took some notes I thought I’d share.  If anyone has a different recollection than me please share.  Also I don’t guarantee that I captured everything and I may have added my own paraphrase on a few things, but I tried to catch the highlights.  I understand that there will be a recording of the webinar available to view and share next week.

Talked about his background

  • Childhood

  • Law enforcement

  • AZ child support program

  • AZ adults with disabilities

  • Private sector – child support program vendor

  • Appointment as commissioner

  • Enjoying life in DC

Speaking regarding his priorities for states, tribes, and territories:

  • Communication

  • Collaboration

  • Efficiency

  • Fiscal conservation

On additional focuses:

  • Aim for independent, healthy individuals

  • Resurgence of fatherhood and veterans issues

  • Bringing modern technology to states (didn’t mention tribes when speaking about modern technology)

  • Also mentioned looking at the child support regulations.  His focus is on deregulation, not on adding regulations.

    • What can we eliminate?

    • What’s antiquated?

He will be rolling out his internal strategic plan next month

Mentioned some restructuring of his staff/team

Emphasized more than once that he has a good team around him

On the Modernization in Child Support Final Rule focused on by prior administration:

  • Emphasized that we shouldn’t expect new regulations from his administration

  • He is focused on de-regulation

On uncertainty of health insurance status (Obama Care/CHIP) right now:

  • Guidance he can offer is to encourage states to consider adopting broad medical support provisions

  • Focus on flexibility and reasonable cost

  • Make sure kids have medical support – this isn’t changed by Obama Care/CHIP, we still have a duty to ensure that children receive medical support

Talked about books he’s reading, movies and tv shows he’s watching (didn’t really take notes about this part, other than he’s taking advantage of his commute and reading more and he doesn’t really like going to movie theaters, prefers watching things from comfort of home)

Collaboration with partner agencies:

  • Very important

  • Mentioned that we’ll hear more about this at the NCSEA policy forum presentation next month

  • The directors (including him) have been going to a lot of listening/education sessions

  • He has been attending state conferences

  • We will see a fatherhood push à have to partner with community partners for this

    • A key to success for our program is engaging with fathers

Hypothetical – If he were to institute new/additional performance measures:

  • (1) Goes back to our core mission of collecting support, especially focusing on current support because that’s what families most need

    • Length of time from date of order to first payment

    • Length of time to resume payments after a lapse in payments

    • Length of time to return a case to paying status

  • (2) Efficiency in process improvement

    • How quickly & effectively matters are processed

  • (3) Customer Satisfaction

  • He’s a big data guy, but not positive yet how you’d measure/capture some of the above

Fundamental beliefs about child support:

  • Truly believes that our job is critical to families that find themselves in circumstances needing our assistance

  • Need for a holistic approach

  • Most successful poverty reduction program

  • We have the ability to get support to get families to independence

  • Which eases the burden on other programs

  • We are the sustaining program

All of what we do is important, but current support is a critical piece and should be a focus

Experience with/knowledge of tribal child support programs:

  • Opportunity to work with Navajo Nation while in Arizona

  • Currently approximately 60 tribal programs with another coming on board (apologies to tribes if he got this number wrong)

    • Sees potential for more tribal programs

  • Tribes serve a unique population

  • Wants to meet with tribes and sit down with them

    • Looking forward to doing that

    • Had a chance to speak to and learn from tribal meeting last year (NATCSD)

    • Was able to meet some tribal directors at the last consultation

  • Wants to continue to learn

  • Tribes have daily challenges not faced by states

  • Important to respect the nation-to-nation sovereignty

  • Critical for OCSE to remain involved with tribes

Intergovernmental Cases, Efficiencies in Processing, and the Role of Professional Organizations/Associations (such as NCSEA, ERICSA, and WICSEC) in Supporting Intergovernmental Cooperation (note: moderator didn’t mention any tribal associations):

  • Feds will continue to provide guidance

  • Professional organizations have a role to play in bringing attention to issues

Parting words regarding future of child support:

  • Work around our current goals

  • Source of money is changing

  • TANF cases are down

  • Caseload is declining

    • May not be a bad thing if it means families are reaching independence

  • Enhance current collection performance measures

  • Cost efficiency will be a focus

  • Revisit all performance measures

  • Bottom line: put our best efforts into program – that’s the future

  • Let’s be excellent in what we do with it today to ensure future legacy


4 Responses

  1. Hi Erin,
    I attended also, but not take such great notes. Thank you for sharing!
    My biggest takeaway from the video meeting was that the commissioner did think tribes served a valuable role in collecting child support, but that his only plan was to continue conversations with tribes, continue to learn, and that he respected tribe’s nation to nation sovereignty. Time will tell whether he will take that path.

    My second biggest takeaway that his primary goal/mandate was to eliminate unnecessary regulations, and that he has no plans for implementing new regulations. However, in the beginning of the conversation, he commented that he could not talk about any pending legislation, implying that there is something in the works, but that he couldn’t talk about it. He did state emphatically that we “won’t be seeing any new regulations in the future,” and his focus was to deregulate, eliminating unnecessary regulations to allow states and tribes to work together in a positive manner. Something is in the works but whatever it is, it is not new regulations. So it will be interesting to see if there are changes and what those will be.

  2. Thanks Jessie for your takeaways. That really coincides with my recollection. I was trying to catch a broad overview. I appreciate the succinctness on the pertinent issues.

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