Knowing the location of the case participant is essential to the success of the Child Support Enforcement Agency’s (CSEA) efforts to provide services. From the disbursement of payments, establishment of paternity, establishment and modification of child support, enforcement of the support obligation, or keeping the participants informed about child support matters that affect them, the agency’s locate process is an integral component of the functions of the agency.
Locate processes query external sources to obtain information regarding non-custodial parents (NCPs), alleged fathers (AFs), custodial persons (CPs) and children. Such data includes, but is not limited to address, social security number, date of birth, employer, medical insurance, income and assets.
Sources queried include:
The Federal Parent Locator Service is a national location system operated by the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to support States efforts in locating parents, putative fathers, and custodial parties. The FPLS compiles data from all states child support agencies as well as external locate sources such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Social Security Administration (SSA), Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Developed in cooperation with the States, employers, Federal agencies, and the judiciary, the FPLS was expanded by welfare reform to include two databases:
- The National Directory of New Hires (NDNH): a central repository of employment, unemployment insurance, and wage data from State Directories of New Hires, State Employment Security Agencies, and Federal agencies. The NDNH has been operational since October 1, 1997.
- The Federal Case Registry (FCR): a national database that contains information on individuals in child support cases and child support orders. The FCR has been operational since October 1, 1998.
The FPLS works in three ways to support State IV-D child support programs:
- The FPLS performs automatic locate functions. Using a process known as proactive matching, the FPLS compares data from the NDNH to data in the FCR. As soon as the FPLS finds that a non-custodial parent or custodial party in the FCR has a job or is claiming unemployment insurance benefits or if new quarterly wage information is available, it automatically notifies any State with a related child support case, so the State child support agency can take immediate action to establish, modify, or enforce a child support order. The FPLS also automatically performs an internal search that identifies all States that have a common interest in an individual in a child support action
- At the request of a State child support agency’s Parent Locator Service, the FPLS will search various other Federal agency databases (referred to as external locate sources) – such as the IRS or SSA-in an attempt to locate non-custodial parents and/or their assets, for the purpose of establishing or enforcing a child support order.
- The FPLS can be used in certain circumstances to help enforce child custody and visitation orders, and to assist in cases of parental kidnapping.
All partners in the child support community recognize that ensuring the security of FPLS data is vital to the success of child support programs, and for protecting the privacy of American citizens.
The National Directory of New Hires (NDNH) is a national repository of employment, unemployment insurance, and quarterly wage information. The “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act” of 1996, commonly known by its acronym “PRWORA” or as the Welfare Reform Act, required that States develop a State Directory of New Hires (SDNH). Here in Hawaii, the program was created under the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations then moved under the umbrella of the Department of the Attorney General, Child Support Enforcement Division beginning October 1, 1998 (HRS §576D-16).
The data residing in the NDNH includes: records from the State Directory of New Hires; quarterly wage and unemployment insurance data from the State Employment Security Agencies (SESAs); and new hire and quarterly wage data from Federal agencies. New hire reports are used by child support enforcement agencies to match against child support case records to locate parents for the establishment of paternity, establishment of a support order, or the enforcement of an existing order through the issuance of income “withholding orders.”
The NDNH help states establish and collect child support obligations. The NDNH interacts with the Federal Case Registry (FCR), another key component of the FPLS. The FCR contains information about persons in all child support cases being handled by state child support agencies, and in all support orders issued or modified after October 1, 1998. The FPLS automatically and regularly compares the data in the NDNH against child support cases and order data in the FCR. In addition, states can make a locate request to the FPLS, which includes an NDNH search. When there is a match, the FPLS provides the new hire, quarterly wage, or unemployment information concerning the custodial or non-custodial parent to appropriate states. Those states use the information to establish initial child support obligations, or enforce (through income withholding) existing orders.
In many instances, The FPLS will learn through the NDNH that a non-custodial parent is living and/or working in a state different from his or her dependents. With this information, a state can take appropriate actions regarding interstate establishment, modification, or enforcement of a child support order.
Responsibilities of the Employers:
Employers have up to 20 days from the date of hire – depending on state law – to report the following information for a newly hired employee to their SNDH:
- Name, address and Social Security Number (SSN) of employee
- Name, address and Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of employer
- Any state-specific required data
States have five business days to enter the new hire data into the SDNH, then two business days to search for a match against their child support cases and issue an income withholding (if appropriate). States have three business days to forward the new hire information to the NDNH after entering it into the SNDH.
Once a state learns that a non-custodial parent has a new employer, the state must take the next appropriate action on the corresponding child support case(s).
The Child Support Enforcement Agency is the State Parent Locator Service (SPLS) for Hawaii and provides data entry, storage and interface services for Hawaii’s new hire reporting system the State Directory of New Hires (SDNH)
The SDNH is a mandatory program for all states. SDNH reports statewide employment information to the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH). New hire information from NDNH is used by all state child support enforcement agencies to track non-custodial parents who are working out of state.
In addition to providing new hire information to NDNH, the records entered into the new hire reporting system are available to the Hawaii State Department of Labor and to the Hawaii Department of Human Services. Both of these agencies rely on updated employment information to verify the eligibility of applicants for services.
Federal law mandated the creation of the Federal Case Registry (FCR). Implemented on October 1, 1998, the FCR is a database that contains basic case and participant data from each of the State Case Registry (SCR). The SCRs, also mandated by federal law, are central registries of child support cases and orders in each state. The FCR is integral to the success of the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS).
The FCR is a national database that includes all child support cases handled by state IV-D child support agencies (referred to as IV-D cases), and all support orders established or modified on or after October 1, 1998 (referred to as non IV-D orders). It assists states in locating parties that live in different states to establish, modify, or enforce child support obligations; establish paternity; enforce state law regarding parental kidnapping; and, establish or enforce child custody or visitation determinations.
While information in the FCR is provided through the SCRs, the FCR is not a duplication of all of the data maintained in each state’s automated child support system. Rather, it is a database of the most basic case and participant information.
When a state sends the FCR information about persons in a new case or child support order, this new information is automatically compared to existing person information in the FCR. If matches are found, the FPLS notifies all appropriate state child support enforcement agencies of the record match. In this way, a state will know if another state has a case or support order with participants in common with them, and can take appropriate action. The data in the FCR is also compared to the employment data in the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH). This process is discussed in the National Directory of New Hires section.
The State Case Registry (SCR) is a central registry of child support cases and orders in Hawaii. The SCR sends the Federal Case Registry information about persons in a new case or child support order.
The Hawaii State Parent Locator Service provides valuable information to authorized child support agencies to help quickly locate the non-custodial parents for use in establishing and enforcing court ordered child support.
- Unemployment compensation claims data
- State income tax records
- Public assistance and food stamp records
- State licensing boards
- Military records
- Motor vehicle registration and driver license records
- Department of Health records
- Contacting and interviewing relatives and friends