5175 Department of Child Support Services
Program Descriptions

The Department of Child Support Services is the single state agency designated to administer the federal Title IV-D state plan. The Department is responsible for providing statewide leadership to ensure that all functions necessary to establish, collect, and distribute child support in California, including securing child and spousal support, medical support, and determining paternity, are effectively and efficiently implemented. Eligibility for California's funding under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant is contingent upon continuously providing these federally required child support services. The Child Support Program operates using clearly delineated federal performance measures, with minimum standards prescribing acceptable performance levels necessary for receipt of federal incentive funding. The objective of the Child Support Program is to provide an effective system for encouraging and, when necessary, enforcing parental responsibilities by establishing paternity for children, establishing court orders for financial and medical support, and enforcing those orders.

The Child Support Administration program is funded from federal and state funds. The Child Support Administration expenditures are comprised of local staff salaries, local staff benefits, and operating expenses and equipment. The federal government funds 66 percent and the state funds 34 percent of the Child Support Program costs.

Pursuant to Federal law, the department created a single statewide child support automation system that meets federal certification. There are two components of the statewide system. The first is the Child Support Enforcement (CSE) system and the second is the State Disbursement Unit (SDU). The CSE component contains tools to manage the accounts of child support recipients and to locate and intercept assets from non-custodial parents who are delinquent in their child support payments. In addition, the program provides funding for the local electronic data processing maintenance and operation costs. The SDU provides services to collect child support payments from non-custodial parents and to disburse these payments to custodial parties.