The federal government recently reversed a policy that required states to contribute to their own child support enforcement programs, now allowing the states to again use federal incentive money to obtain additional federal grant money. Essentially federal taxpayers from other states will now be footing a significant increase for other states' child support enforcement activities as a result of this policy reversal.
Under the Budget Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, federal taxpayers were relieved that states were no longer allowed to "double-dip" out of the federal title iv-d program coffers. It is important to note that under the Title IV-D program the programs established are not essential services for needy families, as over half of the families that receive a benefit do not even qualify for or are at risk of needing other government welfare programs.
The new Recovery Act provision is effective Oct. 1, 2008 through Sept. 30, 2010. States will receive the additional match funding based on any incentive funds used during FY 2009 and FY 2010, including incentives earned and not spent in prior years. States will access the additional funds as they currently do, through grant awards based on quarterly expenditures.
(Source: HHS Makes Estimated $1 Billion in Recovery Act Funds Available to Improve Child Support Enforcement; March 26, 2009; Press Release)
The changes under the spending bill, signed into law by President Obama, coined the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) seems to be a significant spending bill that simply increases the flow of money to government employees and not to the average American citizen, to "further stimulate the economy." Many "Title IV-D" or "Child Support Enforcement" offices were looking at shrinking the size of their offices when they found out they were unable to support paying even a mere one-third of their own expenses to justify their existence. The ARRA now encourages continued federal spending for programs that simply are not sustainable and will only continue to drain the American Taxpayer with more and more funding requests to keep their doors open. The child support enforcement program now lives up to its name of a free-for-all welfare spending program, which amounts to an uncapped spending spree coming out of the American Taxpayers pocketbook.
To see how much additional federal incentive money was provided to each state that got their expenditure reports in, you can visit the HHS Recovery Funds Distribution Website at http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/programs/cse/qtr1awards.html.
- The ARRA ‘09 includes clear expectations that States and other recipients of ARRA '09 stimulus funds will be held accountable for how funds are expended and what benefits are derived from the use of these funds. ACF anticipates requests for spending and performance data that will be posted on the www.recovery.gov web site. Therefore, States should take care to anticipate accountability and transparency requirements and that information on state-reported impact of these expenditures will be available to the public.
- States that have not reported expenditures made using incentive funds for the 1st quarter will not receive 1st quarter incentive grants at this time. States with applicable expenditures may revise their 1st quarter reports or include amounts in their 2nd or 3rd quarter estimates. Grants will be issued on a rolling basis promptly after reports are received.
- Grant awards reflect 66% of actual expenditures reported by States for the 1st quarter of FY 2009 on Form OCSE-396A, line 1a column A.