Division of Child Support Services Program Overview
Established in 1975 as Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, the Child Support Services program is a federal/state/local program that collects child support from parents who are legally obligated to pay. The goals are threefold:
- To ensure that children are supported by their parents,
- To foster family responsibility by offering services and resources to families that will help them become more self-reliant, and
- To reduce the costs of welfare to the taxpayer.
Research has shown that noncustodial parents who are involved financially in their child’s life by paying their child support are also more likely to be involved in other aspects of their child’s life, such as school or extra-curricular activities. When a parent does not pay child support, it places their child at risk of not having their basic needs met. This may put the custodial parent at risk of needing government-funded programs, such as cash assistance or food stamps, in order to meet those needs. There are a number of reasons why a noncustodial parent may have difficulty in paying their child support. Perhaps they may lack the skills and training to get and keep a job, or they may have issues related to mental illness or substance abuse problems. These issues make it difficult to find and keep a job.
The Child Support Services program works with the DES food stamps, cash assistance, vocational rehabilitation, jobs and child care programs to ensure that both the custodial and noncustodial parents have the support they need in order to take steps toward their well-being and self-sufficiency and that of their family’s.
The Child Support Services program does not handle custody or visitation issues that often accompany child support problems. Problems such as property settlement, visitation and custody are not, by themselves, support service issues, and by law the Child Support Services program cannot extend its services to enforce court orders pertaining to them.
Any person who needs assistance in establishing paternity, a child support or medical support order, or a person who needs help enforcing a child support order, is eligible for services. This person may be a custodial parent, a caretaker with physical custody of a child(ren), an alleged father wanting to establish paternity, or a noncustodial parent wanting to establish or enforce a child support order. If they are receiving public assistance from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Medicaid, or federally assisted Foster Care, they are automatically referred to the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) for services.
Applying For Services
Individuals receiving cash assistance benefits are automatically referred for DCSS. All other individuals must apply for services. There are several ways to obtain an application: call our Interactive Voice System (IVR) at 602-252-4045 (Maricopa County) or Toll Free at 1-800-882-4151 to request an application which will be sent you by mail; walk into the nearest DCSS office to pick up the application; or download the "Request for Title IV-D Child Support Services" and mail it in. Custodial parents should provide as much information and as many documents as they can about the noncustodial parent. If there are any court orders, a divorce decree, marriage license, or other legal documents, they will need to be provided with the application.
There is no fee to apply for child support services. Once your case is opened, some fees may apply.
For More Information Contact:
Both custodial and noncustodial parents can get detailed information about their case, including payments due or made, etc., on our telephone Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. To use this system, both custodial and noncustodial parents will be asked for their ATLAS (Arizona Tracking and Locate Automated System) number. This number is on every page of mail that the program sends to the custodial and noncustodial parent, usually next to their name and address. The IVR system is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 602-252-4045 in Maricopa County and Toll Free at 1-800-882-4151.