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Revising State Child Support Incentive System Could Promote Improved Performance of County Programs (July 2014)


North Carolina's child support program operates under a state-supervised, county-administered model. Based on federal performance measures, the program ranks only 24th among the 50 states. The Child Support Services State Office does not effectively use its federal incentive award to promote improved county program performance. Additionally, the CSS State Office has not established specific spending guidelines and does not track incentive payment expenditures. The General Assembly should direct the CSS State Office to retain 25% of federal incentive money to improve centralized services and provide employee incentive bonuses, and should direct counties to report how incentive payments are being reinvested and to maintain their level of expenditures.

Final Report

Executive Summary




Relevant Legislation:

  • Session Law 2015-51: An act to require the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child Development and Early Education and the Division of Social Services, to develop a plan requiring a custodial parent or other relative or person with primary custody of a child receiving child care subsidy payments to cooperate with county child support services programs as a condition of receiving child care subsidy payments.
  • Session Law 2015-241, Section 12C.7 directs the North Carolina Child Support Services Section of DHHS to retain up to 15% of the annual federal incentive payments it receives from the federal government to enhance centralized child support services; establish guidelines that identify appropriate uses for federal incentive funding; and develop an implementation plan.

Agency Actions:

  • DHHS issued its “North Carolina Child Support Incentives – Proposed Plan,” which resulted from an incentives workgroup with county representation formed in the spring of 2015 and outlines how NCCSS plans to assist local child support agencies in increasing their performance and overall effectiveness.
  • NCCSS has also developed an Incentives Guide, which includes the incentives performance methodology, incentive overview, suggested use of incentives, and instructions for waivers.
  • As a condition of receiving federal incentive funds, each county submitted a plan that is due to NCCSS by August 1 of each state fiscal year documenting how they plan to reinvest incentive money at the county level during the ensuing year.
  • NCCSS will report by November 1 each year on how the federal incentive funding has improved program effectiveness and efficiency.