Upon receiving a referral from a Public Assistance (PA) or other state agency or upon the completion of an application for services by a Non-Public Assistance (NPA) custodial parent (CP), CSS caseworkers must determine if they have sufficient information to begin actions for the case. If caseworkers have sufficient information, it is not necessary to interview the client before proceeding with case activities.
This topic contains information on the following subjects:
If additional information is needed after a referral or a Non-TANF application is received, caseworkers should attempt to obtain this information over the telephone or through written communication (whenever possible) to use their time and resources efficiently. Caseworkers should enter any obtained information into ACTS immediately.
An initial intake interview must be conducted with the custodial parent (CP). Scheduling and conducting a personal interview in the office is highly recommended; however, if necessary, an interview can be conducted by telephone or information can be transmitted in writing.
When a new case is received, information on the available services, parental rights and responsibilities, fees, and distribution policies must be given to each Non-Public Assistance (NPA) applicant/Public Assistance (PA) recipient. Within twenty (20) calendar of receiving a case, CSS must obtain and verify the information that is needed to determine the appropriate actions to be taken for the case. The initial interview is vital to providing the required information and to the assessment of the case.
As local CSS caseworkers obtain information is obtained from the CP during this interview, they can enter it directly into ACTS. During the interview, caseworkers should accomplish the following:
1. Explain the purpose of and services offered by the CSS program and provide the CP with brochures or other available program services information.
2. Explain the mandatory $25.00 annual fee for CSS services to "never assistance" CPs, including the criteria for assessment and recovery of this fee.
3. Obtain the NPA applicant’s signature on the application (DSS-4451) and collect the appropriate application fee. CSS omits this step for PA cases.
4. Have the NPA applicant/PA recipient complete and sign the Application Supplemental Data Sheet (DSS-4688).
5. Assure that all information that is received through the referral or application process is correct and current.
6. Obtain additional information about the CP and noncustodial parent (NCP), and child such as Social Security numbers (SSNs), date of birth, medical insurance coverage information, copies of court orders, birth certificates, other documents, etc.) This information should also include the name, address, and telephone number of someone who can be reached in the event of an emergency. Although the CSS agency should encourage the CP to provide all possible assistance, the agency is responsible for taking any available actions toward the delivery of services in a timely manner. If the CP does not provide all necessary information, CSS must not delay the application process or make a noncooperation referral for a PA case.
7. Inform both parties of the requirement to include the CP's or child(ren)'s address in new and modified support orders. Ask if any concerns exist regarding domestic violence that are related to the parties in the case. Have the CP complete and sign the Custodian Address Memorandum. Document the CP's response by entering the appropriate code in the PROTECT field and entering relevant information in the case history. If concerns exist regarding domestic violence, provide information on domestic violence services and inform the party that neither CSS staff nor agency attorneys can provide these services. CSS staff can provide documents containing information on domestic violence.
8. Explain both the direct deposit and "ncKIDScard" (debit card) payment options to the CP. If the CP previously had a child support case, verify if an active direct deposit account exists that should be used. If the CP chooses direct deposit, generate the Authorization For Automatic Deposit Of Child Support (DSS-4718) document for the CP to complete. Remind the CP to report any changes to his/her account information after enrolling in direct deposit. If the CP does not choose direct deposit, explain to the CP that he/she will be enrolled in the "ncKIDScard" program. Advise the CP that he/she needs to activate the “ncKIDScard” upon receiving it by calling The Bancorp Bank Customer Service at 1-877-776-9759.
9. Explain tax intercept, income withholding, and distribution procedures.
10. Explain the right of both parties in the action have to request a review and modification of a support obligation.
11. Request the SSNs of all parties in the case. As required by the Privacy Act (PL 93-579), inform the CP of how this information could be used.
12. Explain the reason for establishing paternity for children who are born out of wedlock. To determine if paternity is at issue for the child(ren) in this case, ask if any action has been taken to establish paternity (such as an Affidavit Of Parentage signed by the parents; or if a custody, visitation, or other order has been obtained). If paternity is at issue:
13. Emphasize the importance of both the CP and the NCP keeping the local CSS agency aware of all address changes throughout the history of the case, although this does not fulfill the obligation of advising the other appropriate social service agencies of this information.
14. Explain the right to request and the procedure for filing an administrative review to address the concerns of the CP or NCP regarding the management of a case. For additional information, refer to the “Administrative Review Policy” in the Child Support Program Basics chapter.
15. Answer any remaining questions and ensure that all essential information has been provided to the CP and NCP and documented on the CSS Initial Interview Checklist (DSS-7072).
Prior to any discussion with a minor custodial parent (CP), CSS must advise that minor of the right to have an adult present. It is strongly recommended that any discussion with a minor be conducted in the presence of a parent, legal guardian, or other adult who is responsible for or has an interest in the welfare of the minor. If the minor elects not to have an adult present, CSS must have the minor parent sign the Minor Parent/Adult Representative Statement (DSS-4540) BEFORE continuing with the interview. If an adult is present, CSS must have that person sign the DSS-4540 document. Retain the completed form in the case file.
The Non-TANF application is considered a contract for child support services. Since a contract made by a minor can be disavowed during his/ her minority or within three (3) years after his/her reaching the age of majority, it is strongly recommended that a minor child applying for services be accompanied by a parent or other adult representative.
Both the adult and the minor CP should sign and date the application. However, an application for services must be accepted even if the minor is not accompanied by a parent, guardian, or another adult.
CSS caseworkers must enter a disposition for an intake interview appointment so that their activities are recorded as events in the case record.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.