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Child Support Services Policy

Published Date: August 05, 2016
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03 Case Management

Applicant Assessment

Interview

Family Law Act Section 8 and Part 3
Alberta Child Support Guidelines and Tables


INTENT

To complete an applicant assessment by collecting all required information necessary to make case management decisions about child support action.

POLICY

The Child Support Worker (CSW) completes an assessment interview within 20 working days of the TOMIS referral date with all:

  • new applicants, or
  • applicants with re-opened files when the CSW is not the previous worker, or
  • applicants with re-opened files when circumstances have changed and current information or documentation is required
Note
Due to the nature of the Non-EI Learner referrals, the CSW does not need to complete the assessment interview within 20 days nor explain the reason for the delay.  Once the Non-EI Learner assessment interview is scheduled then all time expectations for CSS work standards apply.

When an assessment interview is not completed within 20 working days, the CSW documents the reason for the delay e.g. applicant did not keep appointment, limited monthly visits to rural visiting offices.

Note If the CSW has had previous involvement with the case and there are no changes in circumstance, the CSS file may be updated through phone contact. No personal interview is required unless current documentation for court is required.

Interview Process for Clients on Assistance

The CSW conducts the assessment interview to:

  • Explain the role of a CSW.
  • Discuss parental obligation and the intent of CSS. The discussion may include the following issues:
    • Every parent has the legal obligation to pay for the support of their children 
    • Children have the right to receive support 
    • Since the applicant is receiving assistance, the government and taxpayers have the right to expect parents, who are able, to help support their children 
    • Once the applicant is no longer receiving assistance, it is difficult to raise children without the financial help of the other parent
  • Determine if any agreements or orders exist i.e., child support, parentage, parenting, separation or divorce order.
  • Obtain information about Unenforceable Agreement payments the applicant is receiving.
  • Determine if the action of pursuing child support will increase the risk of family violence.  
  • Complete the CSS 4010 Applicant Affidavit so that the applicant’s sworn affidavit evidence is received prior to the CSW contacting the respondent about child support in order to provide the respondent with the applicant’s evidence during negotiations for child support.
  • Ensure all children, including those where the respondent’s relationship to the child is “Standing in the Place of a Parent”, are listed in the applicant’s affidavit CSS 4010 Applicant Affidavit to allow negotiations of a CSS 0045 Support Agreement or court action, if required. If there is no agreement, then all children listed in the Affidavit must be included in the court documents to obtain a support order.
  • Explain respondents are financially responsible for the children they have legally adopted.
  • Determine if the parents have split or shared parenting. If both parents have one or more children with full parenting time, or if parents share parenting, support determinations are made for each household according to calculations outlined in Section 8 and Section 9 of the Alberta Child Support Guidelines and Tables.
  • Inform the applicant they are required to fully cooperate in providing information about the respondent.
  • Discuss with the applicant the possibility of reconciliation. The CSW asks the applicant:
    • Whether there have been prior separations 
    • When the separations occurred and how long they lasted 
    • What circumstances caused any previous separations 
    • Whether the family has been involved with any other agencies or professionals
  • If the applicant believes that reconciliation will occur, the CSW brings forward (BFs) the file for 20 working days and does not pursue support action during this period. If a reconciliation has not occurred, the CSW proceeds with support action
  • Confirm the respondent’s current whereabouts and obtain names, addresses and telephone numbers of the respondent’s family and friends in addition to current or previous employers. 
  • Discuss the respondent’s ability and willingness to pay child support.
  • Advise the applicant that they would be unable to intervene in an action the CSW has     commenced.  
  • Advise that CSS does not request retroactive child support. The earliest start date for an order or agreement is the date the CSW requested the respondent in writing, to provide financial disclosure during the applicant’s current assistance period. The applicant can initiate their own action for retroactive support if they so choose.
  • Explain that disclosing their financial details to the respondent is necessary whenever the applicant’s finances are required for the child support calculation. 
    Note
    A caregiver’s finances are never used in the child support calculation.
  • Advise that they will be notified of any application regarding support action.
  • Explain they may be required to appear in court if the Judge requests oral evidence.
  • Discuss the action plan with the applicant.
  • Encourage the applicant to be involved in the action plan and the decision regarding support.
  • Explain to all applicants that the Director has the right to obtain, enforce or vary a support order or agreement and direct money to the Crown. Explain that after a support order or agreement is registered with the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP), the applicant is not able to withdraw while on assistance.
  • Determine if an existing agreement or order is registered in the Recalculation Program (RP) and explain any impacts of the RP for the applicant.   
  • Advise that CSS action may continue after the applicant’s assistance file is closed unless the applicant advises the CSW to stop action. The CSW informs the applicant that a term order may still be sought to recover monies owing to the Crown.
  • Determine whether support action is initiated or whether the CSS file should be closed.


Refer applicants to other government and related agencies or counsellors if required. e.g. Legal Aid, Family Court, Mental Health. The CSW advises the applicant the department cannot provide funding for these services. If requested by the applicant, the CSW may send a written referral directly to the particular service or agency or may send the referral document to the applicant.