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PA Child Support Program

Bureau of Child Support Enforcement (BCSE)

Bureau of Child Support Enforcement

Last modified on: September 17, 2016

The Title IV-D Child Support Enforcement Program was created in 1975 to establish uniform procedures and rules for providing child support enforcement services nationally. Pennsylvania, however, has a tradition of providing child support services that dates back to 1937, well before the creation of the Federal Title IV-D Program.

The Department of Human Services, Bureau of Child Support Enforcement (BCSE), administers Pennsylvania’s Child Support Enforcement Program through Cooperative Agreements with the 67 counties and county Courts of Common Pleas. The Domestic Relations Sections (DRSs) of the Courts of Common Pleas provide child support services in the counties. The DRSs establish paternity and child support orders, and enforce support obligations for Pennsylvania families. To collect unpaid support from a noncustodial parent, a DRS may attach the person’s income, suspend a driver’s license, suspend a hunting and/or fishing license, suspend a professional/occupational license, deny a U.S. Passport application, place a lien against real property, place a lien against monetary awards due from a lawsuit or third-party payout due to bodily injury or death, publish the person’s name in newspapers, seize a bank account or other financial assets, intercept a Federal or State income tax refund, intercept lottery winnings, report arrears to consumer credit reporting agencies, issue a bench warrant for arrest, and/or find a person in civil contempt of a court order, which may lead to imprisonment, a fine, and/or probation. The Pennsylvania Title IV-D Child Support Enforcement Program is based on Federal and State statutes as well as Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules and procedures. The Federal statutory basis for the program is U.S. Public Law 93-647, Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, as amended. The State statutory basis is in Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (23 Pa.C.S.).

Pennsylvania’s Child Support Enforcement Program is recognized nationally as a leader in program effectiveness, earning the National Child Support Enforcement Association’s “Outstanding Program Award” in 2002, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) Outstanding Program Performance Award in 2005, and the OCSE Commissioner’s Award for High Performance in 2008.

The Bureau of Child Support Enforcement administers two Fatherhood programs, the Federally-funded Access and Visitation (A&V) Grant Program and State-funded New Employment Opportunities for Noncustodial Parents (NEON) Program. The A&V Grant Program provides funding through a competitive process to local public and private agencies for the purpose of establishing programs that help families in which the parents are not married, separated or divorced. NEON is an employment and training program intended to achieve job placement and foster continued employment of noncustodial parents by offering specific skill development.