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Access, Visitation, Paternity, & Child Support

The Child Support Enforcement Program is a joint federal, state and local partnership to ensure that parents provide support to their children.  The program involves 54 separate state and territory systems, each with its own unique laws and procedures.  The program is usually run by state and local human service agencies, often with the help of prosecuting attorneys and other law enforcement officials, as well as officials of family or domestic relations courts.  At the federal level, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides policy guidance, technical assistance, training and funding to states, operates the Federal Parent Locator Service, which uses computer matching to locate non-custodial parents in order to establish and enforce child support orders, and provides grants to states for child access and visitation services.

A father and his daughter.

Office of Child Support Enforcement

All states and territories run a child support enforcement program, usually in the human services department, department of revenue, or the state Attorney General's office, often with the help of prosecuting attorneys, district attorneys, other law enforcement agencies and officials of family or domestic relations courts.  Native American Tribes, too, can operate culturally appropriate child support programs with Federal funding.  Families seeking government child support services must apply directly through their state/local agency or one of the tribes running the program.  Services are available to a parent with custody of a child whose other parent is living outside the home.  Services are mandatory for families receiving assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

Child Support Enforcement Handbook

This Handbook on Child Support Enforcement is a guide to help you get the child support payments your children need and deserve. Although it is written for people who are working through Child Support Enforcement (CSE) offices, it will also be useful to parents who are working with private attorneys.

State Child Support Websites

Along with other child support issues all states have guidelines for setting child support orders.  Some states have links to their guidelines on their websites, or you can call the state CSE agency for a copy.  Links to the state CSE websites are at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/extinf.html

Child Support Guidelines

I understand there are guidelines for setting the amount of money that will be ordered.  How can I find the guidelines for my state?

Access & Visitation

I'm a noncustodial parent and I can't visit or talk with my child even though I have a visitation order.  What can I do?

CSE Questions and Answers Database

We store all answers to our frequently asked questions in this database.

Projects & Reports

Projects and reports about topics of interest.

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Last Revised:  July 22, 2011

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