Single-parent families often rely on child support payments to help make ends meet and provide economic stability for their families. In tribal communities, census reports show over 67% of Native American families have children under 18, and over 30% of Native American children lived with only one parent. Research has shown that children living in single-parent homes are more likely to be living at or below the poverty line.
Nationally, among states and tribes, government child support programs serve more than 16 million children. For every dollar spent on the enforcement of child support, benefiting families receive five dollars. Enforcing child support helps ease the economic burden that single-parent families feel and helps improve the quality of life and standard of living for members of the tribal nation.
Tribal child support enforcement programs improve a child’s quality of life and allow a tribe to create orders that are relevant to their culture. Children can better connect with their parent by establishing paternity, while their quality of life is increased with the maintenance of regular child support payments. Child support enforcement in tribal nations encourages parental accountability, supports child welfare, and supports the reduction of public financial responsibility for child support.
Federal funding for tribal child support began in 1996 with the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. This law gave Health and Human Services (HHS) the power to acknowledge and directly fund tribal child support programs,if the Native American tribe or tribal organization demonstrates that they have founded a “…tribal court system or a Court of Indian Offenses with the authority to establish paternity, establish, modify, and enforce support orders, and to enter support orders in accordance with child support guidelines established by such tribe or organization.” If a tribe meets this criteria, they qualify for federal aid to fund child support enforcement for their tribe. Click here for examples on how this law is benefiting tribal nations today.
Of the 566 federally recognized tribes, 59 of them have funded child support enforcement programs. Of these 59 tribes, only a small portion have fully or partially automated child support enforcement processes. Many single-parent families need the help of tribal governments to enforce child support payments for the welfare of their children, however this task can be daunting for a tribal government without the proper tools in place. Child support enforcement software automation reduces the man-hours needed to track the court orders and can increase the amount of collections that flow to families. It helps tribal governments efficiently enforce child support while empowering their communities.
Tribal D’s TribeVue® Child Support Enforcement (CSE) software application is a low-cost tribal automation alternative that delivers a fast start-up and a robust commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software system providing an integrated approach for optimizing tribal visibility of child support information. TribeVue minimizes the time spent on tribal child support enforcement management-related data and provides integration of data for non-custodial parents, custodial parents, children, orders, payments, TANF case links, and OSCE-75 reporting.
As part of the Tribal D® “Empower Tribal Communities” bundle, the TribeVue-CSE system provides software and office automation for supporting these efforts by tracking noncustodial parent location services, paternity establishment efforts, child support order enforcement actions, collection and distribution of child support payments. The system also provides referrals to other human service programs, empowering tribal governments and helping them attend to the needs of their communities.
For more information on any of TribeVue’s versatile software application models, please go to tribal-d.com. Tribal D’s mission is to help tribal governments effectively integrate, manage and track critical aspects of Native American tribal governance so self-determination objectives can be met.