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Overview of the NCSEA's 2010 Policy Forum and Training Conference

The 2010 National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA) Policy Forum and Training Conference, was held January 25-27, 2010 in Washington, DC. NCSEA serves child support professionals, agencies, and strategic partners worldwide through professional development, communications, public awareness, and advocacy to enhance the financial, medical, and emotional support that parents provide for their children. The Policy Forum and Training Conference held annually, is a way for the child support community and partners to come together and discuss major issues in Congress and new ways of practice implemented throughout the nation. The theme of the Policy Forum this year was, "The Changing Faces of Families".

The main focus of the conference revolved around shifting the Child Support Program's (CSP) vision, towards avenues such as prevention, agency-collaboration and advancements in technology. The Conference brought in professionals and representatives from each state with varying subject matter expertise. The Conference consisted of seven Plenarys where a panel of representatives shared insight on various issues from policy changes affecting the Child Support Program to collaboration and implementation strategies states should be taking into consideration.

The Conference began with a general overview of child support, highlighting current issues. Much attention was paid to the verity that the spotlight must ultimately be placed on the child. Emphasis went towards the importance of child support in low-income custodial families and the reality of CSE reaching more people when compared to any other program. The first plenary also spoke about what the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Reauthorization would mean for CSE. Funding seemed to be a key concern for CSE, in which having enough money to execute the bill was a burning matter. Attention was given on the need for improvement with TANF, a program in dire need of increased funds. Surprisingly enough, funding for TANF has not increased since 1996, and states have responded to this by holding on to funds in order to prolong its use. The lack of funding provided through TANF disallows execution of programs designated for training and education. The Plenary went on further to talk about how TANF must be the entry point for parents to access jobs, trainings, and strategies, and how techniques must be explored to align program goals.

Yvette Riddick, Deputy Director from the Division of Policy for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, (DHHS/ACF/OSCE) stated the mission of the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) was to locate parents, establish paternity and enforce orders. OCSE serves as a gateway to these services for 1 in 4 kids in the country.

Riddick highlighted Six Domains that must be considered in the improvement CSE:

  1. Prevention
  2. Engagement of Fathers from Birth
  3. Economic Stability Strategies
  4. Health Family Relations
  5. Healthcare Coverage
  6. Family Violence Collaboration

Other issues on OSCE's radar for 2010 included termination of the $25 Child Support Collection fee, deeming it unfair, and the costs of births under the Medicaid Program.

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