How Can I Support Staff with their International Child Support Caseload?
International child support cases may be a very small percentage of your caseload, but they require a disproportionate amount of staff time. Very few states have designated international subject matter experts. That means most staff working international child support cases are not confident in their knowledge of laws and procedures governing international case processing. Nor are they familiar with how to complete an outgoing application to a Hague Child Support Convention country. It is common for states to amend their policies and procedures manual as laws change, which means that the sections governing intergovernmental cases are often disjointed.
Because Public Knowledge® has strong expertise in interstate and international case processing, we can:
- Update intergovernmental sections of a child support agency’s policies and procedures manual
- Evaluate a state’s processing of intergovernmental child support cases, suggest improvements, and work in partnership with the state to help implement agreed-upon improvements
- Based on a needs assessment, develop e-learning and instructor-led training modules on intergovernmental case processing.
Need Help? What to Ask an International Child Support Expert
What is an intergovernmental child support case?
As defined by federal regulations, an intergovernmental child support case involves one parent who lives or works in a different jurisdiction from the other parent and child. Those jurisdictions may be a state, tribe, or foreign country. In an intergovernmental case, the initiating jurisdiction has referred the case to a responding jurisdiction for services.
Are child support agencies required to process cases from all foreign nations?
No, international child support cases are handled differently depending on which country is involved. Certain foreign nations have a treaty relationship with the United States. The United States has established a bi-lateral arrangement with four countries – Australia, El Salvador, Israel, and Switzerland – and almost all of the provinces and territories of Canada. These are known as foreign reciprocating countries. The United States has also recognized a treaty relationship with most of the more than 40 countries that have ratified or acceded to the 2007 Hague Child Support Convention. Federal regulations only require child support agencies to process cases initiated by Central Authorities in one of these countries. The website of the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement has information about all countries with which the U.S. has a treaty relationship,
Do interstate child support laws also apply to international child support cases?
Yes, the primary law used in interstate cases also has provisions that apply to international child support cases. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) is a model law developed by the Uniform Law Commissioners. A federal law required U.S. states, but not tribes, to enact UIFSA. UIFSA provisions govern the establishment, enforcement, and modification of child support orders when the parties reside in different states, as defined by the Act. It also applies to a support proceeding involving: (1) a foreign support order; (2) a foreign tribunal; or (3) an obligee, obligor, or child residing in a foreign country. UIFSA’s definition of a foreign country includes most, but not all, foreign nations. There is one section of the Act that only applies to cases involving a Hague Child Support Convention country. If there is a support order from a foreign nation that does not meet UIFSA’s definition of a foreign country, the tribunal may, but is not required to, apply UIFSA.
Are there system tools that can help child support agencies process intergovernmental child support cases?
Yes, the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement offers tools and resources that can help agencies process intergovernmental child support cases. The secure systems and services include the following:
- The Child Support Enforcement Network (CSENet) is a secure network application that supports the electronic transfer of child support information among state child support systems using standard transactions. CSENet requires coding in each statewide system.
- The Child Support Portal is a secure web portal that allows child support agencies to send and receive vital case information. It also provides employers, insurers, and financial institutions a gateway to share required information with child support agencies. Only authorized users have access to the application.
- Electronic Document Exchange (EDE) is a Child Support Portal application that allows child support agencies to securely exchange documents and UIFSA forms electronically to expedite case processing.
- The Intergovernmental Reference Guide (IRG) is the Child Support Portal application that child support caseworkers are most familiar with. It allows users to access state, tribal, international, and federal child support profile and contact information. From the IRG profiles, users can get detailed information about a state’s or tribe’s laws and policies that are helpful in intergovernmental case processing.
- iForms is an application that will soon be available through the Child Support Portal. It will provide users with an online tool to produce Hague Child Support Convention forms in multiple languages.
2008 - Present
Public Knowledge®: Management Consultant
1999 - 2008
Tier Technologies: Director of State and Local Government
1996 - 1999
Service Design Associates: Managing Partner
1987 - 1995
American Bar Association: Director, Child Support Project
1990 - 1992
U.S. Commision on Interstate Support: Chair
1983 - 1984
Office District Attorney for Mecklenburg County, North Carolina: Assistant Distract Attorney