In 1935, Congress enacted the Social Security Act to ease financial problems that had arisen during the Great Depression. Title IV-A of the Social Security Act established a public assistance program that offered financial assistance to families due to death of the father.
In response to increasing numbers of applications for assistance due to parental abandonment, the first actual child support legislation was enacted in 1950. This legislation required welfare agencies to report all applications for assistance due to abandonment by a parent to law enforcement agencies.
In 1975, Title IV-D was added to the Social Security Act to establish a nationwide Child Support Enforcement (CSE) program, with the purpose of recouping money paid out to welfare recipients when at least one parent existed who could provide support. N.C. General Statutes 110-128 through 110-142 established North Carolina's CSE program. These federal and state laws set forth the requirements for the program. Since 1975 the program has been modified several times and currently provides services to anyone needing assistance for a dependent child, regardless of income.
North Carolina CSE Organization
The Governor of North Carolina has designated the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as the CSE Agency. N.C. General Statutes 110-128 through 110-142 authorizes DHHS to supervise the child support program. DHHS has designated the Division of Social Services (DSS) to be responsible for this program. The Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Section exists within DSS.
Some counties have placed their CSE program under the authority of county DSS, some counties have placed it under Revenue or the County Attorney, and recently some counties have elected to offer services by contracting with private companies. Other counties have decided that they cannot operate a CSE program, so N.C. has set up state-operated CSE offices to serve those counties. In Guilford County, Child Support Enforcement is an independent department. Regardless of who operates the local CSE office, the same regulation, laws, and state policies apply.
The ACTS System
The N.C. CSE program uses a statewide computer system called ACTS (Automated Collection and Tracking System) to assist in the performance of its duties. This system receives and shares data with more than thirty (30) state, federal, and private agencies.
ACTS supports the functions needed to perform CSE activities at the local and state level, including case management, financial management, document and report generation, and supervisory functions.
CSE caseworkers use ACTS to add/update cases, enter/modify court order data after a hearing, review payment and collection activities, perform enforcement activities such as income withholding, assets attachment, and tax intercepts, document their activities in the case record online, and interact with CSE agencies in other states.