For the purpose of establishing paternity when necessary, a joint Federal and State effort has been made. This has resulted in the Alabama Child Support Enforcement (CSE or IV-D) Program. Along with this, this program also aims to obtain orders for payment of child support, and secure compliance with child support court orders. These aspects are undertaken in order to reach the goal of self-sufficiency for families. This is due to the finding that non-payment of child support is a key contributor to the impoverishment of children. Therefore, to eliminate such a factor, Alabama has made sure to set up this program in its counties.
Processing the child support payments is done with the help of another service. A service that is provided by the state, basically the Alabama Location Enforcement Collection System (ALECS). There are three kinds of transactions that take place in regards to this program. These can be classified as:
- Collection – when the state receives payments from non-custodial parents
- Distribution – when the state pays out money to custodial parents or the state.
- Allocation – the method of distributing payments when a non-custodial parent has more than one child support case.
The criterion set for individuals who can access these Child Support services includes the following. This can be the person who has the responsibility and can exercise control of the child (ren) including a:
- Custodial parent
- Legal custodian
- The person having care and control, but no legal custody of the child(ren)
- Alleged fathers wanting to establish paternity
- Non-custodial parents
- Custodial parents with emancipated children who are owed arrears that accrued under a court order while the children were minor
- A representation of agency custody of a child by order of the court
Once this criterion is passed by an individual, the review and adjustment process starts up. This is helpful in determining whether or not the support amount is in line with the child support guidelines. It is also useful in determining if medical support needs to be added to the benefits provided to the families. A review of the orders is carried out by the DHR every 36 months unless a significant change occurs. This can be either a financial windfall or a severe medical crisis. In case, the individual wishes to have the order changed, they must make the request in writing and state the reason.
How to Apply
Families receiving TANF, or otherwise known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families are automatically provided with Child Support Services. Therefore, if you are a participant of TANF, you can simply get in contact with your TANF worker. They will refer you to the appropriate Child Support Unit and also set up an appointment. This will ensure that interested individuals smoothly come in and complete the paperwork associated.
Other individuals are expected to apply for Child Support services by making an appointment. This appointment is to be scheduled with any County Department of Human Resources office in Alabama. The country DHR office address and telephone number can be found through the Alabama Child Support website.
In order to apply for the program, the individual must fill out the application found on their website. There will also be two other forms that help them in the process. They will be expected to bring the completed forms to their appointment. In case of additional information, the participant would be informed by the caseworker. The aspect of income also comes into play in this case as a fee of $5 or $25 will be charged for applying. This fee can be paid through cash or money order both, but it is important for it to be paid at the time of application. However, those individuals who are receiving Medicaid do not have to worry about paying this fee.