Child Support Enforcement:

Certification Process for State Information Systems

AIMD-98-134: Published: Jun 15, 1998. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) certification process for state child support enforcement systems, its administration of the process and the certification status of the state systems.

GAO noted that: (1) certification guidance issued by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) addresses the system requirements of the Family Support Act of 1988 and HHS' implementing regulations; (2) analysis of the certification process shows that OCSE has administered this process consistently across states since it began certifying child support enforcement systems in 1993; (3) it has used the same guidance for certification reviews and conducted reviews that were similar in scope and length for each level of certification; (4) while OCSE published many certification reports on the results of its certification reviews, its reporting was not always consistent; (5) as of March 31, 1998, OCSE had either certified or conditionally certified 25 of the 54 child support enforcement systems; and (6) OCSE had also conducted 13 additional reviews and was preparing certification reports for those systems.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families should increase OCSE's oversight of the reporting process to ensure that the reports consistently address criteria for evaluating the financial components of state systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services: Administration for Children, Youth, and Families


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