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Establishment and Passing Audit

Establishment – Per CFR Title 45 §303.4 and §303.5 – 75% Compliance level

Establishment refers to the establishment of a support order, regardless of whether paternity is in question. Within no more than 90 calendar days of locating the alleged parent or non-custodial parent, an order for support must be established or service of process completed to commence proceedings to establish a support order and, if necessary establish paternity, or document unsuccessful attempts to serve process.

During audit establishment, the auditors are not necessarily looking to see if an order (regardless of paternity) has been established. The auditors are looking to see if the necessary steps or processes are taking place to establish an order. In other words, has the district office provided the necessary services to facilitate the establishment of an order during the audit period? The following is a list of “actions” the auditor is looking for.

NCP located within 90 days of the end of the audit period.
The State must Serve the putative father or non-custodial parent or document diligent effort to serve within 90 days of locating the person. Therefore, if the person is located within 90 days of the end of the audit period this is considered an action case.
All appropriate locate action.
The State was not able to locate the non-custodial parent or putative father, but they accessed all locate resources. This could be limited to quarterly OESC checks.
Obtained an Order during the audit period.
The State obtained a current support order during the audit period.
Served the NCP within 90 days of being located.
The State served the NCP within 90 days of locate. The State has not yet obtained an order.
Conducted Genetic Testing.
The State has conducted genetic testing and is waiting for the results or waiting on a hearing date outside of the audit period.
Dismissed a pleading.
The State had filed establishment pleadings and later dismissed the action because the putative father was excluded through genetic testing or there is a pending divorce.
Referred the CP for non-cooperation to IV-A.
Referred the CP for non-cooperation to IV-A and the CP’s cooperation is essential for the State to take the next step in establishing a current support order.
Documented diligent effort to process serve.
The State was unable to serve the NCP or putative father but documented three attempts at three different times of the day to process serve.
Filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the State.
The State filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the State for reimbursement of TANF (usually in divorce proceedings).
Referred the case to the NCP’s residential State (UIFSA).
The State located the NCP in another State and after long arm failed, sent a UIFSA packet to the other State.
Took all appropriate action to establish an Order.
The case does not fall into one of the categories above, but the State had taken all the proper steps to establish a current support order.

Frequently, a case will receive a no action simply because case notes are not being updated. Often it is seen on case log that nothing has been entered for several months, a year or more when in fact someone has reviewed the case, attempted a phone call, sent a letter or etc. By simply updating the case log with the action and outcome, the auditor can see the case is not being ignored or has fallen through the cracks. The auditor can see the necessary services are being provided to facilitate the establishment an order. The following is a list of “no actions” that could be received during audit.

No locate activity.
The State did not access any locate sources.
Not all appropriate locate activity.
The State accessed some locate sources, but not all of the locate sources available to the State. Or, locate sources with the frequency required by Federal Regulation.
Served outside time frames.
The State was able to serve the NCP or putative father, but it was not within 90 days of locate and an order was not established during the audit period.
No establishment activity after locate.
The State had located the NCP or putative father, but did not take any steps to establish a current support order.
Did not document diligent effort to process serve.
The State sent the pleadings certified mail, which were returned unclaimed and the pleadings were not sent out for personal service. Or the pleadings were sent out for personal service but the investigator did not document diligent effort to serve.
Did not refer to IV-A for non-cooperation.
The CP is not cooperating with the State and the CP’s cooperation is essential to take the next step in establishing an order and the State did not inform IV-A of the non-cooperation.
Did not refer to NCP’s residential State.
The State located the NCP or putative father in another State, long arm does not apply or has failed and the State did not send a UIFSA packet to the other State.
Did not take all appropriate action to establish an order.
The case does not fall into one of the categories above, but the State had not taken all the proper steps to establish a current support order.

Some helpful links:

Paternity Establishment and Basic Checklists
Paternity and Establishment At-a-Glance Reference Guide