3.7 Family Violence Indicator

Overview

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), also known as the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, establishes the Federal Case Registry (FCR) and the State Case Registry (SCR). Both are data warehouses used for storage of case and person information regarding child support orders. The SCR in Wyoming is also known as Parental Obligation System for Support Enforcement (POSSE). POSSE is the automated statewide child support computer system linking the State CSP Office, the District CSP Offices, and the Clerks of District Court Offices together for the common goal of collecting child support for children.

PRWORA requires each state to submit person and case information contained in the SCR to the FCR. Through the FCR, states are notified when they have people in common. One of the requirements of PRWORA and the FCR is the safeguarding of specific information, in this instance, the risk of family violence and the release of information to other states.

Each state will have safeguards in place on their automated systems to protect against the release of information when there is a risk of harm to a parent or child. Further, when a state becomes aware of such a risk of harm, it will notify the federal OCSE to safeguard information within the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS).

One important component of POSSE is the Family Violence Indicator (FVI) which the state uses to notify the federal OCSE of safety concerns. The FVI can be attached to the record of any person who may be a victim of domestic violence and/or child abuse as defined by the criteria listed below. The purpose of the FVI is to prevent the disclosure of information about a protected person to the FPLS. On POSSE, the indicator is marked on the Person Maintenance screen for each person who may be at risk of domestic violence and/or child abuse.

The Wyoming Child Support Program (WCSP) is committed to promoting the safety and well-being of its customers and staff, and therefore promulgates the following policy.

Policy

The District CSP Office may become aware of a risk of domestic violence and/or child abuse to a customer by many means, including but not limited to notification by the victim, the victim's family, a child's caretaker and/or the Department of Family Services (DFS) field office when determining eligibility for POWER benefits.

Any notification should be followed up promptly with strict confidentiality. The following guidelines are to be followed when using the FVI.

Setting the Family Violence Indicator

1) The WCSP considers the following reasonable evidence of family violence, and may enter a family violence indicator on appropriate individuals, when:

a. A parent or custodian states that he or she or the child(ren) is at risk of emotional or physical harm from another individual in the same child support case; or

b. WCSP has knowledge of a court-ordered protective order or other information that family violence exists.

2) The District CSP office will screen for family violence at intake, and will inform customers of their right to have the FVI marked if risk of family violence is disclosed.

3) The FVI indicator will be marked on the protected person and/or child(ren) screens of the applicable case.

NOTE: The FVI indicator should not follow any emancipated child that has a role change.

4) The District CSP case workers will enter a Case Activity Log note as well as a Person Activity Log note on the Person Record and will reference this on Case Maintenance in the Special Circumstances box located in POSSE when marking the FVI.

NOTE: The presence or absence of a family violence indicator on a case does not guarantee anyone's safety. The Wyoming CSP is not liable for harm arising from the use or non-use of the family violence indicator.

Removal of the Family Violence Indicator

The FVI shall be removed from a case participant when the District CSP office receives:

1) A written request from the protected participant;

2) Information that the family violence indicator was entered in error; or

3) A court order to remove the family violence indicator.


FVI Override Process

1) If a locate request is submitted to the FPLS, and the custodial parent, non-custodial parent, or child has the FVI set by a different state on his/her person record, the requesting state (Wyoming) will receive notification through the FCR that disclosure of such information is prohibited. The case worker will receive an Informational Alert that disclosure of information on the person for whom the locate was requested is prohibited. The case worker may also receive information through the FPLS Portal that disclosure is prohibited. In this instance, an Informational Alert would not be sent by POSSE to the case manager. At that point, the following steps may be taken to persuade the federal OCSE to release the information.

a. The District CSP Office attorney may petition the local court to issue an order requesting the protected information be released through the FPLS. The court will decide to grant or to deny the requestor's petition. If the court grants the request and an order is obtained, it is sent to the State CSP Office for review. If the court denies the request, no further action can be taken and disclosure of the information will not be pursued.

b. The State CSP Office will forward the order and a cover letter to federal OCSE for its review and possible release of the protected information. OCSE will make one of three possible determinations:

i. The request is incomplete. If OCSE has questions or determines the request is incomplete, a OCSE staff member will call the State CSP Office to secure any missing information.

ii. The request is approved. In this situation, the OCSE will call the State CSP Office to approve the request and then process the override. OCSE will return the locate information (hard copy) to the State CSP Office with a cover letter. The cover letter will identify the state that originally set the FVI. OCSE will also notify the state that originally set the FVI that Wyoming has made the override request. Upon receipt of the information from OCSE, the State CSP Office will disclose the information to the court originally ordering the FVI override. The court will then determine if release of the information may be harmful to the parent or child. If so, the court will deny the request and not release the information. If not, the court will release the information to the authorized person making the original request. All information received from the federal OCSE as a result of the override process will be destroyed after its use.

iii. The request is disapproved. A request which fails to meet the statutory requirements will be disapproved. OCSE will return the request package and send a disapproval letter to the State CSP Office. OCSE will not take further action unless a new request is submitted by the State CSP Office. The information will be sent to the State CSP Office in the form of hard copy and not through the automated system. Wyoming will ensure the information received from the FPLS remains secure.


Cross Reference

None

Version Number

3

Last Revised Date

September 17, 2021