The Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) is an assembly of systems operated by OCSE, to assist States in locating noncustodial parents, putative fathers, and custodial parties for the establishment of paternity and child support obligations, as well as the enforcement and modification of orders for child support, custody and visitation. It also identifies support orders or support cases involving the same parties in different States. The FPLS assists Federal and State agencies identify over-payments, fraud, and assists with assessing benefits. Developed in cooperation with the States, employers, Federal agencies, and the judiciary, the FPLS was expanded by Welfare Reform to include:
- The National Directory of New Hires (NDNH): a central repository of employment, unemployment insurance, and wage data from State Directories of New Hires, State Workforce Agencies, and Federal agencies.
- The Federal Case Registry (FCR): a national database that contains information on individuals in child support cases and child support orders.
- The Federal Offset Program (FOP): a program that collects past-due child support payments from the tax refund of parents who have been ordered to pay child support.
- The Federal Administrative Offset Program (FAOP): a program that intercepts certain Federal payments in order to collect past-due child support.
- The Passport Denial Program (PPD): a program that works with the Secretary of State in denying passports of any person certified owing child support debt greater than $2,500.
- The Multistate Financial Institution Data Match (MSFIDM): a program that allows child support agencies a means of locating financial assets of individuals owing child support.
Additionally, the FPLS also has access to external locate sources such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Social Security Administration (SSA), Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense (DoD), National Security Agency (NSA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The FPLS works in six ways to support State IV-D child support programs:
- First, the FPLS performs automatic locate functions. Using a process known as proactive matching, the FPLS compares data from the NDNH to data in the FCR. As soon as the FPLS finds that a noncustodial parent or custodial party in the FCR has a new job, is claiming unemployment insurance benefits or has quarterly wage information available, it automatically notifies any State with a related child support case, so the State child support agency can take immediate action to establish, modify, or enforce a child support order. The FPLS also automatically performs an internal search that identifies all States that have a common interest in an individual in a child support action.
- Second, at the request of a State child support agency’s Parent Locator Service, the FPLS will perform an external locate to various Federal agencies in an attempt to locate noncustodial parents and/or their assets, for the purpose of establishing or enforcing a child support order.
- Third, the FPLS can be used in certain circumstances to help enforce child custody and visitation orders, and to assist in cases of parental kidnapping.
- Fourth, the FOP and FAOP collects money in past due child support cases and provides it to the States to distribute to the custody parties.
- Fifth, the PPD requires a noncustodial parent to contact their child support agency and make payment(s) in order to obtain a passport.
- Sixth, the MSFIDM provides financial asset information on a noncustodial parent to the State child support agency. The State child support agency can take the necessary actions to seize those assets.