As with any IV-D child support case, a foster care case may be closed if it meets the closure criteria set forth in federal regulations. In addition to the guidance provided by the federal closure regulations, the Department of Family Services (DFS) promulgated policy whereby under certain specific circumstances DFS as the custodial parent may also request closure.
Federal Closure Reasons
Under certain circumstances, a IV-D foster care case may be closed as long as it meets all of the requirements outlined in the federal regulations (45 CFR 303.11).
1) There is no longer a current support order and arrears are under $500.00 or unenforceable ((b)(1)).
Note: Do not close the case if the remaining arrears are being collected through an enforcement action (e.g. wage withholding).
2) The non-custodial parent or alleged father is deceased and no further action, including a levy against the estate, can be taken ((b)(2)).
3) Paternity cannot be established because:
The child is at least 18 years old and action to establish paternity is barred by a statute of limitations ((b)(3)(i));
A genetic test or court order has excluded the alleged father ((b)(3)(ii));
The Wyoming CSE Program determined that it would not be in the best interest of the child to establish paternity ((b)(3)(iii)); or
The identity of the alleged father is unknown and cannot be identified through diligent1 efforts including at least one interview by the Wyoming CSE Program with the recipient of services ((b)(3)(iv)).
4) The non-custodial parent’s location is unknown and the State has made diligent efforts2 all of which have been unsuccessful to locate the non-custodial parent:
over a 3 year period when sufficient information is available to initiate automated locate sources ((b)(4)(i)); or
over a 1 year period when there is not sufficient information to access automated locate sources ((b)(4)(ii)).3
5) The non-custodial parent cannot pay support for the duration of the child’s minority because the non-custodial parent:
Has been institutionalized in a psychiatric facility;
Is incarcerated with no chance for parole; or
Has a medically verified total and permanent disability.
Wyoming shall ensure that no income or assets are available ((b)(5)).
6) The non-custodial parent is a citizen of, or lives in, a foreign country, does not work for the United States or a corporation with offices in the United States, and has no reachable domestic assets. Additionally, Wyoming does not have reciprocity with the foreign country ((b)(6)).
Note: Citizenship will be determined using the best information available at the time the decision is made to close the case.
7) The services provided are “locate only” ((b)(7)).
8) The non-IVA recipient of services or the Initiating State requests closure and there is no assignment to Wyoming ((b)(8)).
Note: See the DFS Closure Policy below for those reasons when the Wyoming CSE Program may close a foster care case for “CP Requests Closure”.
9) There is a finding of good cause that child support enforcement may not proceed without risk of harm to the child or caretaker relative ((b)(9)). (See 6.2 Intake – Application for details regarding good cause)
10) The IV-D agency cannot contact the non-IVA custodial parent within a 60 day period despite an attempt via first class mail ((b)(10)).
11) The non-IVA recipient of services does not cooperate with a documented request by the Wyoming CSE Program and the requested action is essential for the next step in providing IV-D services ((b)(11).
12) The Responding State documents failure by the Initiating State to take action essential for the next step in services ((b)(12)).
13) The Initiating agency notifies the Responding State that the Initiating State has closed its case ((b)(13)).
14) The Initiating agency notifies the Responding State that its intergovernmental services are no longer needed ((b)(14)).
Note: If the underlying support order is a Wyoming order and is connected to a Wyoming POSSE case, the children will be transferred back to the original POSSE case before closure.
Note: When closing an enforcement foster care case, the case worker will send a notice terminating wage withholding orders to all employers associated with the non-custodial parent for the last 3 years and a notice terminating health insurance to the most recent employer.
Notice of Closure
Federal regulation requires notice to the recipient of services or the Initiating State in cases meeting closure criteria above for (1) through (6) and (10) through (12).
When a case worker sets a case for closure in POSSE and in addition to any specific District CSE Office procedures, the case worker will ensure POSSE is updated according to Appendix 13.A – PEP Data Reliability Review.
DFS Closure Policy
According to the DFS Protective and Juvenile Services 6.2 Child Support for Child in Out-of-Home Care4, the Wyoming CSE Program case worker may request closure via the POSSE-generated letter titled “Foster Care Closure Letter” (LCLOSEA1) or e-mail before the District CSE has established an order. The case worker will complete the letter with the reason DFS should grant case closure. Those reasons are:
The child was in out-of-home placement for less than 60 days;
The District CSE Office does not have enough identifying information to locate the non-custodial parent and at least one year has elapsed without being able to obtain the information, allowing closure under 45 CFR 303.11(b)(4)(ii);
The non-custodial parent's only source of income is Supplemental Security Income. This income cannot be withheld pursuant to Wyo. Stat. § 20-2-303(a)(ii);
DFS has not expended money on the child pursuant to an EPICS report for the case (WYCAPS shows $0 spent);
Wyoming does not have jurisdiction over the child support case, or the responding state in the child support case will not establish an order pursuant to their state law and the case may be closed pursuant to 45 CFR § 303.11(b)(1);
Other reasons upon agreement by the DFS and CSE managers if the case may be closed pursuant to 45 CFR § 303.11(b)(8).
Once the DFS District/Regional Manager returns a signed copy of the request stating that the District CSE Office will not pursue child support, the case worker will close the case as discussed above in Federal Closure Reasons.
If there are child support arrears owed to the state:
The DFS District/Regional Manager will make a formal request to the IV-D Director to waive the child support arrears and close the foster care case;
The IV-D Director will research the case and provide the DFS Director with his or her recommendation;
The DFS Director will contact the IV-D Director with the final decision; and
The IV-D Director will contact the DFS Director/Regional Manager with the DFS Director’s final decision.
Once a case worker determines a case should be closed, the case closure will be reviewed and approved by the District CSE Office Manager or designee prior to closure.
Note: If the arrears are assigned to Wyoming, the District CSE Manager will contact the IV-D Director or designee for written approval to waive child support arrears and close the case.
1See 45 CFR 303.3(b)(1) for diligent efforts examples
3Sufficient information to access automated locate sources is full name, social security number and date of birth
4For the current version of the DFS Child Protective Services Manual, please see http://dfsweb.wyo.gov/social-services/policy/dfs-policy-manual.
Last Revised Date
July 1, 2014