Question: What’s going on with the Child Support services I receive?
Answer: Friday afternoon, the House Judiciary, Rules, and Administration Committee tabled key Child Support Legislation (known as UIFSA) that governs how Idaho works with other other states in the U.S. and foreign countries to collect and distribute Child Support Payments. This means that the legislation did not pass, and as a result, Idaho’s Child Support Program no longer meets federal requirements.Idaho expects the federal government to take steps to impose financial sanctions against Idaho’s Child Support Program. Department of Health & Welfare leadership is meeting with top officials from the Federal Child Support Program this week to determine what will happen next and when actions will be taken.
Question: What is UIFSA?
Answer: UIFSA is the acronym used to describe the “Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.” States must be in compliance with this federal legislation as a condition of operating the Federal Child Support Program. As with many federal programs it is required that states comply with the federal requirements as a condition of receiving federal funds, using federal tools, and benefiting from federal processes. A short summary of UIFSA can be found here on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Interstate_Family_Support_Act
Question: What will happen next?
Answer: Idaho expects to receive instructions from the Federal Child Support Program this coming week. It is anticipated that Idaho will have 60 days to remedy the current non-compliance. If Idaho can come into compliance and pass the UIFSA legislation, the Idaho Child Support Program can continue to provide full services to families. If it does not, it is expected that over the course of a few months the Child Support Program in Idaho will only be able to provide minimal services to some families, and no services to other families. We are currently working on strategies to identify the impacts of losing authority to operate the federal program as well as federal funding and access to federal tools.
Question: Will my Child Support Services stop?
Answer: This is a new experience for Idaho. We have been told the federal support for Idaho’s Child Support Program will end if Idaho is not in compliance. We expect to have 60 days before actions begin from the federal government to end funding to the Idaho’s child support program. During this time we will work with the Legislature and Governor’s office to urge them to help Idaho come into compliance. The federal government does provide due process in situations such as these and we sincerely hope the situation can be resolved within the short amount of time given to Idaho.
Question: What should I do?
Answer: We cannot advise you of what action is appropriate for you. There is not a specific action you must take. However, you can always contact your legislator and ask about the legislation and express your opinions and or your concerns. Legislators are always interested in hearing from their constituents to better understand issues impacting them. Contact information is here: http://legislature.idaho.gov/howtocontactlegislators.htm
Question: How can I learn more?
Answer: The department will post regular updates at www.dhwblog.com and on Facebook and Twitter. This is a significant issue receiving a lot of media coverage at this time. You should expect to see newspaper, radio, and internet news reporting on Idaho’s situation. You can contact your legislator. You can watch for new information that will be shared with the media. Information will appear in news programs, blogs, and in most locations and publications where you typically hear local news about Idaho. News searches on the internet should provide current information.
Question: If I want to contact my Legislator how do I do that?
Answer: The Idaho Legislature provides a convenient way to identify you legislator and make contact on the Idaho Legislature’s web site: http://legislature.idaho.gov/howtocontactlegislators.htm. You can use the website to find the district where you live using the map on the website or you can call and ask your county clerk’s office. Then on the Legislature’s website, locate your legislator by the district you live in or by name. It was a House legislative committee that tabled the legislation so speaking to your Representative would be best; the Idaho Senate passed the UIFSA legislation.
— Niki Forbing-Orr, PIO