Congress established the Child Support Enforcement Program in 1975 under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act to collect child support. The program's goal is to ensure that all children are supported financially by both parents and to reduce the number of children receiving public assistance.
Structure of Child Support in Arkansas
The responsibility for implementation of the Child Support (IV-D) program is shared by federal and state agencies. The federal agency responsible for child support enforcement is the Office of Child Support Enforcement which is located in the Department of Health and Human Services. It establishes standards for state programs. In Arkansas, the program is administered by the Department of Finance and Administration, Revenue Division, Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE).
What Services are Available?
OCSE provides two types of services:
- Enforcement services – Custodial parties must apply for these services or be referred by the Department of Human Services. OCSE will locate the noncustodial parent in order to provide services; establish paternity, if needed; establish a court order for child and medical support; and then assist you to collect the support owed to you.
- Payment processing services –These services are provided for cases that are handled privately. In these cases OCSE does not have a role in establishing or enforcing child support and includes cases where a custodial party has closed the enforcement case. The Arkansas Child Support Clearinghouse receives, records, and sends payments to the custodial party. OCSE does not automatically receive court orders for private child support cases. The custodial party, noncustodial parent, or either party's representative must provide the Clearinghouse with a copy of a file-marked copy of a current court order to establish this type of case.
Click here to see a more detailed comparison of the two services available.
Contact your local child support office or 501-682-8398 to be sure you’re receiving the type of services you need.
Who Can Get Help?
Enforcement services are available if …
- You are the parent, legal guardian, or caretaker of a child under 18 years of age who lives with you.
- Unpaid child support is owed to you, the child is over the age of 18, and the amount to be recovered is based on a court order. If the child is over the age of 23 and there is not a judgment entered setting out the total amount of unpaid support owed, enforcement may be limited based on the circumstances of the case.
Custodial parties who need assistance to establish paternity or establish or enforce medical or child support, may apply for enforcement services. Certain fees will be assessed in these cases. See Costs and Fees for more information on fees.
Custodial parties who receive Transitional Employment Assistance (TEA) are automatically referred to OCSE to receive child support enforcement services. Child support, up to the amount of the TEA grant, is assigned to the State. Cooperation with OCSE is required; no fees are charged.
Custodial parties who do not receive TEA but who receive Medicaid, including Arkansas Works, for themselves or have a child who receives ARKids 1st may apply for enforcement services. There are no fees charged.