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Frequently Asked Questions regarding the transfer of
State CSE offices to County Administration

Customer Service Center
Central Collections
Tax Intercept
Transition Plan
Caseload Management
Questions for Specific State Operated CSE Offices
Performance Goals
Financial Information
Fatherhood Initiatives

Customer Service Center

1.   Will the State continue to operate the Customer Service (CSC) Center (aka The Call Center)?

A.  There will be an assessment of all functions of the State CSE program including the customer support center.  At the present time the state will continue to operate the customer service center.

2.   How many calls are automatically routed to CSC?

A.  From January – August 2009, there have been approximately 4.3 million calls to the CSC.  See Appendix C of the CSE Transition Guide for the monthly calls to the CSC attributed to your county.  Information is not available about the number of calls that are automatically routed or transferred to CSC vs. the number of calls made directly by customers.  This includes calls routinely routed by State operated offices and those periodically routed by county operated CSE offices.

3.   Will routing of calls be allowed in the future? If so, is there a limit?

A.  No, the CSC, as currently configured, does not have the capacity to allow all counties to routinely route calls directly to the CSC.

4.   If these calls were handled in a local office how many FTEs would be needed to accommodate the calls?

A.  This would depend on the case size in a county, the volume of calls in the county being evaluated and the length of the calls.  As an example:

The average call length at the Customer Service Center is five (5) minutes.  If a county sends 10,000 calls to the center, then 10,000 x 5 minutes per call = 50,000 minutes divided by 60 minutes per hour.  This would equal 833 hours.  Divided by 40 hours per week would equal 21 weeks per year.  So, in this example a county would need only 0.4 of an additional FTE (21 weeks / 52 weeks = .4).  If you change the number of calls or the average length of a call, the number of FTEs would fluctuate accordingly. 

Refer to Appendix C of the CSE Transition Guide for the monthly number of calls to the CSC by county for the first 8 months of the current fiscal year.

5.   Are there any other actions the Customer Service Center performs that could be transferred back to the counties?

A.  While the functions performed at the CSC can be performed by CSE agents, there are functions such as the Interactive Voice Response Unit (‘IRV’), extended hours of availability and the volume of routine calls handled by the CSC on a daily basis that appear to be best handled by a centralized function.  It is anticipated that transferring these functions back to each county could be accomplished with the addition of staff in the county program to handle the volume of calls and extended hours and the addition of necessary computer hardware and software for the IRV.

6.   Is there a cost projection on phone lines to accommodate direct forwarding?

A.  Since routine direct forwarding of calls to the CSC by counties is not permitted, there is no cost projection.

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1.      What will happen to all the equipment in the offices? 

A.  Please refer to the Equipment and Furniture section of the CSE Transition Guide for information.

2.   Can this go to county as surplus?

A.  See the answer to question number 1 above.

3.   If equipment is not transferred to counties what will happen to it and who will be responsible?

AIt will be moved to storage by the state and the state will be responsible for the costs related to moving and storage.

4.   If a physical move (furniture, equipment, etc) occurs prior to July 1, will the state be responsible for the cost of the move (moving company, trucks, and laborers)?  

A.  If the state retains ownership, the state is responsible for the equipment and furniture and associated costs.  If the equipment stays with the county, the county is responsible for moving costs.

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1.   How will the Incentives to counties be determined for the next fiscal year starting July 1, 2010?

A.  The State is currently evaluating the impact on incentive funding distribution in relation to the transition of State operated office to county administration.  This decision is a priority of the Division and Department and will be made as soon as possible on how incentive funds and the IVD Collections will be distributed under the new organizational structure and transition counties will be notified via an update to this transition guide.   

2.   When can they expect these to be paid?

A.  See the answer to question number 1 above.

3.   If counties, A, B, C, D & E decide to form a regional CSE office, and County A agrees to house all staff, pay all expenses and report costs on 1571, how will the incentive be distributed? 

How will the other counties reinvest incentive?

A.  See the answer to question number 1 above.

4.   Will the counties in the above scenario still get AFDC returns and fee & shares? 

A.  See the answer to question number 1 above.

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Central Collections

1.   Currently the State operates this at no county cost, what are the plans for paying for this in the future?

A.  There will be an assessment of all functions of the State CSE program including Central Collections.  There are no plans, at this time, to charge the county for Central Collections costs. 

2.   Will the state continue to operate/oversee this contract?

A.  Yes, at this point in time.

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1.   If a county chooses to operate its child support program as a non-DSS agency, is the staff under state personnel requirements?

A. It depends on whether the county is under the State Personnel Act.  Counties are different and some are not under the State Personnel Act.  You will need to contact your local human resources office.

2.   Can a social worker or income maintenance worker split their time between programs with CSE?

ANo.  Under Federal Regulations § 303.20 Minimum Organizational and Staffing Requirements, it states that (e) “no functions under the state plan may be delegated by the IV-D agency if such functions are to be performed by caseworkers who are also performing the assistance payments or social services functions under title IV-A or XX of the Act.”   Therefore, a caseworker such as an income maintenance worker or a CSE agent cannot do both Work First and IV-D work.

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1.   DSS had promised counties a meeting/workshop on how various child support offices are set up,  Ex. County DSS operated, County operated Non DSS, Contracted, or Regional.  Where does this stand?

A.  Two CSE Service Model workshops have been scheduled for the following:

For the Western Region, on Friday, October 16th (12:45pm – 3:45pm) @ the Comfort Suite Biltmore Square Mall, Asheville NC.

For the Eastern Region on Wednesday, October 21st (10am – 1pm) @ Quorum Center, Raleigh, NC.

On October 2, notification was sent to the CSE Transition Planning contacts in each county about these meetings with instructions on registration. 

Tax Intercept

1.   Who will handle the appeals when the child support programs are transitioned to the counties?

A.  This process will not change.  The NC Attorney General’s Office will continue to handle these appeals for the new county operations as they do now the existing 72 county programs.

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Transition Plan

1.   What type of format does the plan need to be in for the January 1 deadline?  Are the counties going to get a sample plan?

A.  The template for the county planning document was sent out to the designated CSE Transition Planning Contacts on Monday, October 12, 2009.

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Caseload Management

1.   Discuss the relationship between a case worker and custodial parent, and case worker and non-custodial parent.  Discuss the customer experience of a custodial parent and non-custodial parent from start to finish.

A.  Best practice requires service provision to the entire family, the custodial parent or custodian and non-custodial parent. Relationship building and engagement is essential with all customers to ensure better outcomes for their children. Customers either initiate their relationship with CSE by applying for services or they are referred by DSS. In either case their cooperation with the agency is essential to good service provision. There are specific program requirements for each person. Their cooperation and provision of information is critical for the delivery of appropriate services.

Custodial Parent (CP) or Custodian - The custodial parent may be asked to come in for an interview and depending on the nature of the case may be asked to attend court hearings. Once an order is established custodial parents frequently call to ask about the status of payments or enforcement actions and sometimes come into the office as well. Orders can be reviewed every three years for possible modifications and clients are subject to additional interviews and/or court hearings during those reviews.

Non-custodial parents (NCPs) are contacted by CSE to explore the possibility of voluntary acknowledgements of paternity and/or securing a voluntary agreement to pay child support and carry medical insurance. If adequate information is not available about the NCPs address or place of employment, CSE efforts center on location. NCPs are also interviewed when possible. If voluntary methods of obtaining child support fail, court hearings are necessary. Agents speak with NCPs in the courtroom prior to hearings to solicit voluntary agreements if possible. Once an order is in place, continued contact is maintained with the NCP, especially if payments are missed. Agents spend significant time making phone calls to NCPs to encourage regular payments or implementing other administrative enforcement methods. When administrative methods fail NCPs are served for contempt hearings. Again, agents speak with NCPs prior to court to elicit payments when possible.

2.   Can a Customer Service Specialist handle interactions with the custodial parent or NCP or does the customer need to speak directly to the CSE agent assigned to their case?

A.  Some duties can be assigned to customer service representatives, such as payment information or gathering of information. However, the majority of case management activity is handled by the CSE agents who are trained to provide that type of service.

3.   Why would a customer need to come to the office to see a worker?

A.  See the answer to question number 2 above. Other than initial interviews and follow up interviews for reviews there is little need for the customer to come to the office. Most of the information can be gathered by phone and/or Fax or mail. However, many customers prefer face to face interaction with their agents and come to the office whether it is necessary or not.

4.   How are cases assigned?

A.  Cases are assigned by ACTS alphabetically based on NCP last name. Worker profiles are entered into ACTS to facilitate this process.  The system will allow overrides when necessary to reassign cases to other workers or to a supervisor if the case is sensitive in nature.

5.   How does DSS referral process work?

A.  The referral process is automated through an interface between the eligibility information system (EIS) and the automated collections and tracking system (ACTS). When a referral is received from the EIS, ACTS automatically creates the participant record and a case record based on the information in the referral. If ACTS cannot process the information, a notification is sent to a case worker in CSE to correct the information so that it can process. Sometimes the referral cannot process in an automated fashion and case managers/agents have to create the cases manually.

In Foster Care cases the cases are not sent to CSE from Foster Care directly. Rather, foster children are referred by Foster Care staff to Medicaid and those Medicaid cases are then set up in the EIS.    

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Questions for Specific State Operated CSE Offices

Information on some of these questions is available in the CSE Transition Guide and has been noted in the answer where applicable.  However, for much of the information (first questions with no answers shown), you will need to coordinate with the manager of the State operated CSE office that serves your county or with your CSE transition liaison team.  These individuals will be ready and able to provide this type of information.

1.   What security is provided at the CSE office?

2.   How many CSE customers receive services from DSS (TANF, Medicaid, and Child Welfare)?

3.   What is the daily walk-in traffic?

4.   How are group interviews scheduled and conducted?

5.   What is the staff turnover occurrence?

6.   How much time does staff spend out of the office?

7.   What is the workload by position?

8.   Do you have staff that conducts quality reviews?  Is so, please identify which staff will conduct the quality reviews.

9.   How many calls does a State operated CSE office take per day?

10. How many of each type of staff does each office have?

A.  See Appendix C of the CSE Transition Guide for a listing of staff for the State CSE office that serves your county along with other staffing information.

11. What are the qualifications?

A.  See the Staffing section in the CSE Transition Guide for job descriptions.

12. How long does it take to train new staff?

A.  See the section on Training in the CSE Transition Guide for information on training.

13. Is the attorney on staff or contracted?

A.  See Appendices E and F in the CSE Transition Guide for this information.

14. How many calls does the centralized call center handle on your office’s behalf?  Do a lot of those calls still get referred back to you?

A.  See Appendix C in the CSE Transition Guide for the number of calls by county answered by the CSC.  Information is not available about how many of those callers require local county intervention.

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1.   Is there any technology to enhance ability to locate non-custodial parents?

A.  Federal regulation 45CFR §303.3 requires that Child Support Enforcement agencies use all appropriate means to locate non-custodial parents (NCPs) and the sources of their income/assets, when needed to take necessary CSE actions. To assist, in part, with implementation of this requirement, North Carolina established ACTS which electronically interfaces with all appropriate sources to obtain and verify locate, asset and other information on the non-custodial parent. One such database is the Federal Case Registry (FCR), which hosts locate information from many sources including the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state agency data bases such as the Division of Motor Vehicles, Employment Security Commission and the Administrative Office of the Courts. Most offices have discovered other fee and web-based locations including:

2.   What other systems do CSE staff access?  Web-based or software access?

A.  CSE staff has access to several databases to assist in their case activities.  Listed below are some of these databases:

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Performance goals

1.   Performance currently seems to be trending downward.  What are the barriers to improvement?

A.  Last year, statewide collections increased by 2% which is significantly below the typical 6%.  The primary barrier seems to be job losses and the economy.

2.   Have goals been reached to obtain incentive money over the past few years?

A.  Yes, the State and County operated CSE offices earned and has received incentive money in the past few years.

3.   How are performance goals tied to incentives? 

A.  See the Performance Reporting Section of the CSE Transition Guide.

4.   What are the incentive targets and how are they weighted?

A.  The Federal incentive goals are as follows:

i.      Paternity – 90%
ii.      Percentage of Cases Under Order – 80%
iii.      Current Support Collection Rate – 80%
iv.      Payment to Arrears – 80%
v.      Cost Effectiveness - $5.00 for every dollar spent

In determining incentive payments, goals iv. And v. are calculated at 75%.

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 Financial information

1.   How much incentive money has been received over the last several years?


SFY 09-10 (July – Sept 2009)

$  4,691,523.79

SFY 08-09


SFY 07-08


 2.   If we hire a management/transition consultant, can we receive the 66% reimbursement on that expense, or will any other start up costs be allowed for reimbursement? If so, how soon can we begin to report those costs?

A.  The Division has submitted to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement a State Plan amendment to reflect this change and a question about the ability of counties to claim reimbursement for planning and other start-up transition costs prior to July 1.  We will update this response as well as the CSE Transition Guide as soon as a response is received from the federal agency. 

3.   What other costs do we need to consider?

A.  Following are some costs to consider, however, this is not an all inclusive list.

4.   What about any other costs that might be necessary prior to July 1 in preparation for the transition; will they be claimable under CSE?

A.  The Division has submitted to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement a State Plan amendment to reflect this change and a question about the ability of counties to claim reimbursement for planning and other start-up transition costs prior to July 1.  We will update this response as well as the CSE Transition Guide as soon as a response is received from the federal agency. 

5.   Will the county have to hold expenses until after July 1 when CSE becomes part of DSS?

A.  See the answer to question number 4 above.

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Fatherhood Initiatives

1.   Do offices currently partner with any community agencies that help non-custodial parents strengthen parent-child bond?

A.  There is no statewide effort, but there are a few counties that have local efforts underway.  None of the State operated offices have any initiatives for helping non-custodial parents strengthen parent-child bond.

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