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Introduction to Locate

Legal Authorities:

45 C.F.R. § 303.3
45 C.F.R. § 303.4d
45 C.F.R. § 303.6c2

What Locate is used for

The Locate process is used to

  • Verify the non‐custodial parent’s (NCPs) correct address
  • Verify the NCPs employment information
  • Find NCPs assets
  • Verify the custodial parent’s (CPs) address and employment information

Following case initiation, the locate process is usually the second step in the life of a child support case, but it may occur throughout the life of a case. To obtain a support order, establish paternity, or enforce a support order, Child Support Services (CSS) district offices must know where the NCP lives and/or works. Moreover the Locate procedures are crucial to the state’s performance outlook.

Each CSS district office must follow federal and state requirements for Locate procedures, and CSS business procedures are designed to meet or comply with those requirements.

Some examples of Locate resources that the regulations identify include:

  • The Expanded Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS)
  • Relatives and friends of the NCP
  • Current and past NCP employers and unions
  • Local telephone companies
  • The U.S. Postal Service
  • Financial references
  • Appropriate state agencies

Locate Timeframes

Based on the Federal locate regulations, once a IV-D agency determines a locate action is needed, the agency must access all appropriate locate resources within 75 calendar days. This also applies to non-military and military cases alike.

Repeating locate efforts is required either quarterly or immediately upon the receipt of new information that may aid in the locate effort. However, there must be “adequate identifying and other information” in the case to justify repeating the locate efforts.

To ensure compliance with federal regulations for locating NCPs, the Center for Coordinated Programs maintains a database of Locate information on persons in all IV-D cases and all orders established or modified after 10/1/98.

In order to establish, enforce and modify child support orders in an effective and efficient manner, CSS requires child support specialist to search and update Locate information. Among methods to use to locate an NCP are automated searches, and automated database searches. See details of how these work in the CS Quest articles, OSIS Automatic Locate Search, and OSIS Automated Database Searches.