5175 Department of Child Support Services
Program Descriptions

The Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) is the single state entity designated to administer the federally mandated Title IV-D child support program in California. The Department is responsible for providing oversight of California's Title IV-D program to establish and enforce child support orders, locate parents, establishing paternity, and collect and distribute support. The Department is also responsible for oversight of county and regional Local Child Support Agencies (LCSAs) that work directly with families in the community. 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 in accordance with the federal performance measures, with minimum standards established for 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 provides funding for the salaries and benefits for local and state staff, and operating expenses and equipment for the operation of California's child support program at State DCSS and LCSAs. The federal government provides 66 percent of the funding and the state funds 34 percent of the Child Support Program Administration 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 Child Support Enforcement (CSE) system and the State Disbursement Unit (SDU). The CSE provides local child support staff tools to manage child support customer accounts, and locate and intercept assets of non-custodial parents delinquent in their child support payments. The Child Support Automation program provides funding for the vendor-operated SDU. The SDU collects child support payments from non-custodial parents and disburses payments to custodial parties. In addition, the Child Support Automation program provides funding for electronic data processing maintenance and operation costs at LCSAs.