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Child Support Services Policy

Published Date: April 23, 2010
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03 Case Management

Applicant

Screening Process

INTENT

To determine whether an assessment interview will be conducted.

POLICY

Screening Accepted Referrals

Previously Closed Files
The Child Support Worker (CSW) refers to both the Tracking of Maintenance Information System (TOMIS) file and the paper file to determine whether an assessment interview will be conducted. The CSW uses the following criteria to make this decision:

  • Previous involvement with the file
  • Knowledge of the applicant’s current circumstances
  • Degree of change in the applicant’s circumstances since previous file involvement
  • Need to obtain current information and documentation to make a decision on future file activity


New Referrals – No CSS Activity
If there is no previous Child Support Services (CSS) involvement, and if the worker determines no action can be taken (e.g. the assistance file closes before an assessment interview has been completed and the applicant does not respond to the CSW’s request for contact or an appointment sent prior to the assistance file closure), the worker records all appropriate information and closes the file.

New Referral – CSS Activity
Because an applicant assessment interview is required for all new referrals, the CSW books an appointment for each new referral. The worker requests the Administrative Assistant (AS) staff to create a client paper file after the applicant assessment is completed.

If the applicant’s assistance file closes prior to the assessment and the applicant does not attend the assessment interview that was scheduled prior to the assistance file closure, a paper file is not created.

Guidelines for Case Management
CSS staff within Delivery Services determine case management strategies to best meet the needs of CSS eligible clients in their area in a reasonable and timely manner.

Income Support ETW/BFE/Non-EI Learners, AAHB and AISH clients are automatically eligible for CSS. Other Albertans with low incomes must meet suitability and income eligibility requirements. CSS staff manage their caseload so all eligible Albertans can access and receive CSS.

Staff consider the following guidelines when determining how to prioritize their work:

  • Negotiating a support agreement for a client when both parties indicate they want to cooperate before starting court action for another client as agreements can be finalized more quickly.
     
  • Making every effort to provide services to clients while they are eligible based on the client’s presenting circumstances.  For example, the CSW may:

     

    • Start support action for an employed ETW client before starting action for an BFE client as support income will help the ETW client become financially independent.
       
    • Provide services to an Albertan with low income who indicates the other parent is planning to move to a non-reciprocal jurisdiction before providing services to an BFE client who will receive Income Support and remain eligible for CSS for a long period of time.
       
    • Pursue a support order with a finding of parentage for a client before initiating a variation application for another client as it is important to have child support in place for low income clients. Varying an existing order would be less complex for former CSS clients than obtaining a new order on their own.

     

  • Helping families achieve and/or maintain financial independence resulting in long term benefits for their child(ren).  For example, offering CSS to an Albertan with low income helps the family maintain their independence and attachment to the workforce and can prevent the person from needing financial help in the future.