This topic contains information on the following subjects:
When a CSS case is created and NO current mailing, residential, or potential address information AND No current employment information exists for the noncustodial parent (NCP), ACTS places the case in the Locate Processing Status.
When the current address for an NCP is changed to an "OLD" address and no current employer is present or new address entered in the system, ACTS moves the case to the Locate Processing Status, unless the case is already in the Delinquency Processing Status.
The Locate functions of ACTS allow it to exchange identifying NCP information through automated interfaces with other federal and state systems. When ACTS submits an NCP to these automated interfaces, it records these Locate attempts.
CSS caseworkers can use ACTS to generate Locate letters to postmasters, employers, and the military. These documents can help to locate NCPs and verify information that is obtained about the NCPs. When certain criteria are met, ACTS automatically generates the Postmaster Verification Request (DSS-4466) and Employer Verification Letter (DSS-4685).
NOTE: Information that is obtained through Locate sources can also be used to determine an NCP's financial assets when applying Enforcement remedies.
The custodial parent (CP) should be considered the primary source of information for locating the noncustodial parent (NCP); therefore, CSS caseworkers should interview the CP thoroughly for all information that could aid in identifying and locating the NCP. If necessary, this can be accomplished by telephone. Caseworkers should emphasize the importance of the CP’s cooperation and assistance.
If the CP is unable to furnish basic information, such as the NCP's Social Security number (SSN), caseworkers should attempt to obtain it from other sources. SSNs are essential to the location of NCPs and can also be provided by employers or NC Vital Records.
Within seventy-five (75) calendar days of determining that the NCP in a CSS case must be located, CSS must access all the appropriate location sources, including the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS), if necessary.
Locate activity is declared "successful" when a new mailing, potential, or residential address OR when new current employment information is found for the noncustodial parent (NCP), even if it has not been verified.
If an address is found for the NCP from an automated source, ACTS updates the NCP's address history with a “potential” address record, refers the case to the next appropriate processing status, and notifies the responsible caseworker, who then evaluates the address and takes the appropriate action. ACTS also updates the Locate submittal event that was created when the NCP was automatically submitted with a disposition code to record that an address was returned by the interface.
If an employer is found for the NCP through an automated source, ACTS updates the NCP's employment history, creates an Employer Verification Letter (DSS-4685) that is mailed from the State Print Shop in Raleigh, and refers the case to the next appropriate processing status. ACTS also updates the Locate submittal event that was created when the NCP was automatically submitted with a disposition code to record that an address was returned by the interface.
If an NCP is located through a manual source, the responsible caseworker enters a successful Locate disposition. Caseworkers can choose to close Locate activity immediately by manually referring the case to the next processing status. However, once a successful Locate disposition has been entered, ACTS refers the case to the next appropriate processing status during overnight processing, even if caseworkers do not manually refer the case.
If a noncustodial parent’s (NCP's) Social Security number (SSN) is not known, caseworkers might be able to obtain it from the NC Vital Records. Since January 1, 1991, both parents' SSNs are required to be recorded on the Certificate of Live Birth when a child is born.
When requesting birth record information, CSS caseworkers must provide the mother's maiden name, the father's name, the child's full name, the child's date of birth, and the child's county of birth. A $24.00 fee is charged for the search for this information, whether or not a record exists or a Social Security number (SSN) is found. The fee is paid by the state and charged to the county making the request through the CARS (County Administration Reimbursement System) process. This resource is available only for children born in North Carolina.
When a new case, a new participant, or a new or updated Social Security number (SSN) is added to ACTS, the Federal Case Registry (FCR) interfaces with the Social Security Administration (SSA)to verify the SSN.
To facilitate location, the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH) and the FCR perform proactive matching, which is an automated and continuous check of their databases to compare participants using SSNs. Proactive matching does not occur unless the FCR reports that the participant's SSN is verified by the SSA.
Each time the NDNH receives W-4, quarterly wage, or Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UIB) information on a person, the NDNH searches its database and the FCR for matches. Proactive matching occurs without worker intervention. For more information, see Federal Case Registry.
CSS "Locate Only" services to search for address, employment, or asset Information about a parent, putative father, or other relative of a child through State Parent Locate Service (SPLS) and Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) are available in certain circumstances. When the search is completed, CSS gives the results to the requestor, and closes the CSS case.
An application for services is required for all "Locate Only" requests. An application fee is required in some instances, however no additional fee is charged for submittal of a "Locate Only" case to FPLS.
CSS accepts "Locate Only" requests from the following sources:
1. Application for "Locate Only" services from the custodial parent (CP) of the child - A CP can request services to locate a parent or putative father for the purpose of obtaining child support. This request must include a completed Application For Child Support Services (DSS-4451), an Application Supplemental Data Sheet (DSS-4688) and any appropriate application fee. Information on the address, employment, or other identifying data that is obtained is given to the CP, and the CSS case is closed. If evidence of domestic violence or child abuse exists, CSS should not disclose information to the requesting party. In this instance, the court should determine whether it is safe for the requesting party to have that information.
2. Referral from the Department of Social Services - DSS can make requests to locate a parent, putative father, or other relative of a child who is receiving child welfare or foster care services.
3. Referral from a judicial official - A judge or a designated agent of the court can request assistance in a child custody or child kidnapping case.
Federal regulation at 45 CFR 302.35 authorizes the use of child support services by agencies that provide services for children under Title IV-B (Child Welfare Protective Services) and Title IV-E (Foster Care Services) of the Social Security Act. County Department of Social Services (DSS) representatives can request "Locate Only" services for cases with children who are receiving these services. DSS can make these requests regardless of whether a child is in the custody of DSS or living inside or outside his own home.
DSS can request "Locate Only" services to obtain information about the location of a parent, putative father, or other relative of a child in its efforts to keep a child within the family unit or to terminate parental rights in order to facilitate the adoption of the child. Upon request, NC CSS searches for address and/or employment information about the individual using SPLS (State Parent Locate Service) and FPLS (Federal Parent Locator Service) resources and returns the search results to the requestor.
DSS "LOCATE ONLY" REQUEST PROCESS
The DSS request to NC CSS for "Locate Only" services must include a completed Application For Child Support Services (DSS-4451) and an Application Supplemental Data Sheet (DSS-4688). These documents can be obtained from county CSS or from the NC Child Support Services website: http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/cse/index.htm. No application fee is charged.
DSS requestors must mail these documents to:
P.O. Box 20800
Raleigh, NC 27619
Upon receiving these documents, SPLS Unit workers create a Locate Only case and conduct the search for information from SPLS and FPLS sources. A search of all resources requires a 33-day cycle. SPLS does not verify information returned in the search. Results are returned to the requestor by mail within approximately thirty-five (35) days and the case is closed.
NCGS 110-139.1(a) provides that requests for location assistance in parental kidnapping and child custody cases shall be accepted by the State Parent Locator Service (SPLS) for referral to the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS). Judges, Clerks of Superior Court, District Attorneys, or United States Attorneys can make requests for location assistance when a request is made to locate a parent or child for the purpose of enforcing state or federal law with respect to:
1. The unlawful taking or restraint of a child;
2. Making or enforcing a child custody determination, including visitation orders;
3. Establishing paternity; or
4. Establishing, setting (or modifying) the amount of, or enforcing child support obligations.
Services cannot be provided in cases involving international child abduction.
Requests to locate parents for any other purpose cannot be accepted. The Department shall not disclose any information from or through the parent locator service if there is reasonable evidence of domestic violence or child abuse and the disclosure of the information could be harmful to the custodial parent or child.
When a request is made by an authorized individual, a Request For Access To The Federal Parent Locator Service form is required. It must be completed by the authorized individual only and forwarded to the SPLS Unit at the CSS Central Office. The form can be obtained from the local Clerk of Court.
Upon receipt of the request, SPLS transmits identifying information about the parent to the FPLS. When all responses are received from sources accessed by FPLS, the information obtained is forwarded to the requesting individual without verification of the information. As with other referrals to FPLS, no fee is collected from the requesting individual.
JUDICIAL REQUEST PROCESS
Requests must include a completed Application For Child Support Services (DSS-4451) and an Application Supplemental Data Sheet (DSS-4688). These documents can be obtained from county CSS or from the NC Child Support web site: http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/cse/index.htm. No application fee is charged. A court order or other verification that the requestor is an officer of the court who is authorized to make the request, as allowed by NCGS 110-139.1, is necessary.
Requestors must mail these documents to:
P.O. Box 20800
Raleigh, NC 27619
Upon receipt of the request, SPLS transmits identifying information about the parent to the FPLS. When all responses are received from sources accessed by FPLS, the information obtained is forwarded to the requesting individual without verification of the information. Then the case is closed. As with other referrals to FPLS, no fee is collected from the requesting individual.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.