Child Support Services Policy

Published Date: September 25, 2006
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06 Other Client Groups

Former Assistance Clients Continuing CSS

IESA Section 29

INTENT

To ensure former assistance clients continue to have appropriate access to Child Support Services (CSS) according to legislative authority, program policy and CSS guiding principles.

POLICY

The Income and Employment Supports Act (IESA) Section 29(8) enables the Child Support Services (CSS) program to continue with services to an applicant after their assistance file is closed. The intent of CSS is to obtain a support order or agreement for the applicant. The Child Support Worker (CSW) authorities are the same as for assistance clients and the CSW has presumed authority pending the applicant indicating they want CSS to stop. When the worker has obtained a support agreement/order, the CSS file is closed. If an adjournment is required to obtain respondent financial information, a short-term interim order may be requested pending a final order.

If the CSW has information that indicates the respondent will be able to pay a higher amount at a specified future date, this increased support amount and effective date of increase should be included as a term of the original order.

If the CSW has started an application to vary a support order before the assistance file closes, the worker continues with the application.

Any future action related to the support order/agreement, e.g. varying the amount, is the responsibility of the applicant, as for all other Albertans with low income.

The CSW ensures the applicant is aware of any action that is undertaken. Although the applicant is not required to consent to CSS activity, applicant cooperation is required. This cooperation is determined when the CSW consults with the applicant and obtains the applicant’s participation in obtaining child support. The applicant is required to sign the EMP 3677 Acknowledgement of Legal Services if the matter is proceeding to court and the applicant must attend court unless the worker knows in advance the matter will be adjourned, e.g. DNA testing. As the CSW cannot confirm the applicant’s current circumstances from Community and Social Services records and as the Director does not have the applicant’s rights to ongoing support, the applicant must be available to confirm their situation to the court.

If the applicant indicates they do not want to proceed with child support action and the CSW is not proceeding with a term order, the CSS file is closed. If an applicant does not respond to a contact request by the CSW to discuss the continuing support actions, this means the applicant is refusing services. If the applicant contacts the CSW for services at a later date, the CSW applies the eligibility and suitability criteria for an Albertan with low income.

If an applicant’s assistance file closes before a CSS assessment is completed, and the applicant does not respond as required to the CSW’s request for contact or appointment sent prior to the assistance file closure the CSW does not provide continuing CSS. The worker applies the eligibility and suitability criteria for an Albertan with low income if the applicant subsequently contacts the CSW for CSS.