2018 Leadership Symposium Sessions

The 2018 Leadership Symposium will feature sessions that allow attendees to explore  Legal Matters, Policy, Global & Tribal Perspectives, Service Delivery and Leadership topics.  This diverse offering allows for attendees to design a conference experience specific to their interests.  **Session offerings subject to change.


Opening Keynote: The Essence of Leadership


What is the “essence of leadership?” If we knew the one correct answer to that question, we would all implement the agreed on “best practices” and spend our careers as exemplary leaders – in our offices, in our community organizations and in our families. Unfortunately, there is no single simplistic route to becoming an admired and respected leader. But there ARE proven pathways. There are helpful hints. There are tested paradigms. These can all point us in the right direction as we undertake our own unique leadership journeys.

During this fast-paced, interactive keynote presentation, leadership coach and consultant Larry Center will share a lifetime of leadership wisdom, boiling his own learning down to its essence. With Larry as our guide, we will be reminded of these truths:

  • Leadership is an inside-out process
  • Leadership is more about being than about doing
  • Leaders model the “Two C’s:” Character and Competence
  • Great leaders don’t just focus on their behaviors, they focus on their attitudes
  • We can all be leaders – every day in all corners of our lives, if we see ourselves as leaders!

This opening session will prime us for what follows: wonderful sessions organized into multiple tracks that will allow us to craft our own personal NCSEA Leadership Symposium! We will return to our offices with new knowledge, enhanced skills, positive attitudes and a renewed commitment to the important cause and clients we all serve!

Opening Keynote – Monday, August 13, 2018 | 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Allegheny Ballroom



Leading the Future of Child Support: Legal Matters
Explore these Continuing Legal Education sessions and delve into discussions covering hot button legal issues across the child support industry.

New Laws Bring New Challenges and Opportunities for Child Support Leaders
Two thousand seventeen brought two new laws that impacted In December 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a monumental, sweeping tax reform that impacts most taxpayers. In July 2017, the Uniform Law Commission enacted the new Uniform Parentage Act, an innovative and important uniform law designed to protect children, that states have begun to pass. The new laws impact the parents in the Title IV-D program and present new challenges and opportunities for child support leaders. Come hear the highlights of these new laws—how they work, who they impact, and how to design child support policies around them. CLE

Legal, Ethical and Practical Management Tips for the Attorney Manager
A Title IV-D office can often run like a similar sized law firm. Are you a lawyer – manager responsible for the management of other attorneys and non-legal staff? Or are you a non-attorney manager in a law office responsible for ensuring the non-legal reports don’t run afoul of the law.<!–
This session will discuss the ethical issues for both the attorneys you manage and the staff that act in the name of those attorneys. We will also present some best practices and notes from the field on the differences between managing lawyers and non-lawyers and the things that are universal. Please bring your tough to solve management questions in this area for a management round table on these issues where your presenters and co-attendees can help you brain storm solutions. CLE

Kids in care: Who should pay?
It’s an unfortunate reality that not all parents are “good” parents, and kids end up in out-of-home placements — aka, Foster Care. Historically, the IV-D program has had a murky role in foster care cases: Should we establish and enforce child support obligations in all foster care cases? Are there instances where our program priorities may run afoul of a family’s best interests? What do the federal regulations require us to do – and where do we have flexibility? As leaders in the child support program, we need to work with our child welfare colleagues to create programs that help support these fragile families. This session will explore research in this area and provide an opportunity for participants to have a conversation about how child welfare and child support can better work together, in the best interests of the families we serve. CLE

The Roadmap to Justice: The Five Habits of Cross-Cultural Understanding
Become more proficient at cross-cultural interaction and communication.In this workshop, learn about the role that culture plays in decision making, communication, problem solving, and rapport building through a process, referred to as “The Five Habits,” which attorneys and other professionals can use to avoid cultural blinders and recover from cultural blunders when they occur. Through discussion and hands-on activities, participants will recognize the influence of personal culture on world-view, develop a greater understanding of cultural differences, and use effective communication to interact with different individuals or groups. CLE

Leading the Future of Child Support: Policy

These sessions focus on emerging issues in the child support industry and new policies to help frame them.

Building the Next Generation of Child Support Policy Research: An agenda for Future Research and Perspectives from the Field
Research has long supported enhancements and refinements to the operation of the child support program. It is a program with a strong legacy of innovation and a culture of continuous improvement. As a partnership between federal, state, and local governments, there has been ample opportunity for the program to experiment and innovate. Moreover, the substantial data collected by and available to child support agencies allows for advanced analyses that can support refinements to program operations and policy innovation.In October 2017, the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services convened a roundtable of child support leaders to discuss the future of child support research. Following the convening, MEF Associates has worked with ASPE to develop a research agenda that identifies opportunities for the broader child support community – policymakers, program operators, academic researchers, and program evaluators – to continue this spirit of innovation. It identifies opportunities for research to continue to inform the most pressing issues facing the field.
This session will include two parts. It will begin with a brief presentation of the research agenda. It will then transition to a panel discussion among state child support staff, responding to the research agenda. It will be an opportunity to discuss the tangible role that research can play in the ongoing innovation within the IV-D program.

Research Leading the Future of Child Support
As Neil Armstrong observed: “Research is creating new knowledge” and a critical tool that informs policy at all levels.  In child support, research has shaped policies and practices around right sized orders, customer service, and parenting time.  Studies on procedural justice, mandatory child support cooperation requirements, and behavior analytics continue today to shape the future of child support.  In this interactive session, the leaders in child support research will discuss cutting edge studies, methodologies, and findings.  Our experts also will consider future studies that could impact the next generation of child support leaders.  Experiential Learning

Extreme Makeover: Leading A Program Policy Manual Overhaul
The Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement embarked on a total revision of its program policy manual in 2016-17. This undertaking entailed both a reformat and rewrite of the content as well as a review of the policies themselves. Through an interactive process that included an online survey of staff and onsite focus groups at field offices, themes emerged that division stakeholders identified as essential to a revised program policy manual: a family-centered customer service approach; plain language; organized by work function and consolidated topics; procedures that are consistent with policy; and improved search capabilities. This workshop will provide a walk-through of the process from concept to leadership buy-in and approval; design of survey instruments and focus group questions; logistics and project management; pitfalls and problem-solving and final rollout. Using a home renovation theme, this interactive workshop will combine a power point presentation, examples of revised policies, modeled focus group with audience participation and an online demonstration of Virginia’s Child Support Program policy manual. Participants will gain an understanding of how to undertake a major renovation of a child support program’s policy manual from Designer’s Challenge to Grand Design, Renovation Realities, Curb Appeal and finally Designed to Sell.

Leading the Future of Child Support: Global Perspectives
A unique forum to discuss International,  Intergovernmental and Tribal issues that face the child support community.  Hear first-hand the strategies, challenges, policies and progress and experiences from across the United States and around the globe.

Global perspectives: Local challenges
Every child support program faces unique challenges, yet the need for solid leadership remains the same. Child support leaders from three countries will share the “hot button” issues in their countries and how are they responding to them. They will describe   new initiatives they have undertaken that are improving outcomes for the families and children they serve. While these countries are miles and multiple time zones away from the United States, their challenges and the solutions they have implemented have lots in common with your program and the program next door.

Crossing the Line for Families: Effective Interstate Management
An effective interstate child support program is essential – it boosts collections and other performance measures and provides families with critical enforcement services that may not be otherwise available.  Our panel of interstate leaders will share the keys to success for building strong interstate units and networks, developing policies that ensure cost-efficient interstate case processing, and using UIFSA 2008 and other interstate laws to achieve the best results for families.  Come join us as we learn how to lead the future of child support across state lines!
     1. Background on interstate child support – state (UIFSA) and federal policy and history
     2. Tips and insights for leading successful interstate units
     3. Scenario discussion of challenges and possible solutions (possible topics include: interstate payment processing, case closure, transferring cases, forms, telephonic hearings, federal systems, etc.).

International Payments: The check is NOT in the mail
The days of international check payments are numbered. Several European countries no longer accept checks for payment of child support. However, a transition from checks to electronic payments internationally is neither easy nor quick. This workshop will look at the international cross-border payment world, covering available alternatives to checks, including wire payments, electronic payment cards, internet funds transfer, foreign currency brokers and the promise of blockchain. Based on research done by OCSE, the workshop will provide leaders with the information they need to make decisions about the most effective alternatives to checks for international cases.

Intersection of Child Support and Savings Accounts for Children
Innovation and cooperation are cornerstones of progress.  Over the past several years conversations around the benefits of children savings accounts and how those accounts might intersect with child support payments have been fruitful. Join us for a frank discussion of the value of this innovation, research around children’s savings in general, and ways to understand benefits beyond data. This highly interactive workshop will discuss highlights, lowlights, learnings, and ideas for future development. Discussion will be seeded from the work of one state and one tribe who have both implemented programs allowing custodial and noncustodial parents to set aside portions of child support payments and arrears to build savings accounts for their children. Both parents arrive at an agreement that reduces the noncustodial parent’s debt and simultaneously builds a nest egg of savings for the child. CLE

Similarities and Differences – A Three Jurisdiction Perspective
Are child support programs really all that different?  Or do we just like to think we are unique?  Intergovernmental experts from a state, a tribal, and an international child support program will compare their approaches to a variety of leadership responsibilities and you can decide for yourself.  Covering issues from recruitment and building high performing teams to effectively using automation and marketing the child support programs, from funding authorities to training and customer service, from confidentiality and protection of personal information to staffing structure, this workshop will provide you with some new perspectives on familiar challenges. CLE

Protection of Personal Information in Intergovernmental and International Cases – What are the Rules?
Each day, child support professionals everywhere work with case participant information, most of which is confidential. However, there are limited exceptions in which child support professionals must or may provide confidential information, such as to other government agencies, the parents’ attorneys, o the Court, and other countries. What information can be shared and when? How will the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe affect the handling of the information of European parents in the United States?  What things do you, as a leader, need to make sure are covered in the training of your staff or attorneys, or in the procedures you use in your office? This interactive session led by an experienced panel of attorneys and program leaders will challenge you to answer some tricky issues that leaders must address when it comes to the sharing of personal and confidential information. CLE

Leading the Future of Child Support: Service Delivery

Learn more about innovations and issues shaping the child support service delivery and better understand how to manage change in the future of customer service.

Process Analysis for Improved Performance
Process analysis is an essential part of a leader’s job.  Times change, laws change, systems change, and processes should change as well.  Oftentimes, evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of processes is overlooked as we continue doing business as usual.  Has performance become stagnant or decreased?  Process analysis will identify barriers and find solutions that will help boost performance.  The first step in improving a process is understanding how it operates.  In this workshop, attendees will learn the important steps of learning the process through gathering data and interviewing stakeholders.  The workshop will then move into analyzing processes through methods like Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) or process mapping.  Attendees will be given an opportunity to complete a SWOT analysis in groups and share their results.   The final steps involve developing solutions, implementing and evaluating change.  The presentation will explore various other methods for analysis and how to determine which is the right method for the desired outcome.  How do you move from analyzing a process to implementing change?  How do you know if the changes were beneficial?  These steps will be discussed as the process analysis steps are reviewed from beginning to end.

The New Face of Customer Service in Child Support
This presentation will discuss approaches to improve the public perception and delivery of the child support program by focusing on family centered services. We will highlight services delivered to customers living at or below the federal poverty line, as well as programs to serve and engage active duty and military veterans. Child support agencies have a crucial opportunity to help break the cycle of poverty by helping these low-income families. Explore approaches that will allow child support professionals to better understand poverty and the unique circumstances these customers face. Once child support professionals can see the world through the lens of parents in poverty they will be better able to engender trust and serve their customers that include military and veterans with their own set of special demographics and requirements. Approximately 12 percent of active duty service members are single parents and about half of the nation’s states report having at least 10,000 military veterans. This presentation will include specific programs in Erie and San Diego County that positioned the child support agency to best serve and engage military and veteran families. This workshop will provide practical solutions and specific program examples that better serve low income, military and veteran families to improve program outcomes.

Using Artificial Intelligence/RPA: Focus on Leading Practices in Customer Service
Explore various scenarios where Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) have been used in human services agencies to automate repetitive, data ‘heavy’ transactions so that caseworkers can focus on more meaningful interactions with customers and driving to leading family-oriented outcomes. See demonstrations of the AI/RPA processes in realistic human services scenarios. Discussion will include other scenarios that are being considered nationally for child support programs.

Engaging Fathers and Fatherhood Programs: Changing the Conversation about Child Support
From “Daddy Don’t Go”, “Father Friendly Principles” to Responsible Fatherhood, there is a growing dialogue about the role of fathers and their importance to the child support program. Join us for a conversation as researchers, fatherhood practitioners and child support professionals discuss why changing the approach about the role of fathers improves child support performance outcomes. This will be an interactive session with opportunities to reflect on the importance of fathers in the lives of children and ways that child support professionals can engage with non custodial parents, fatherhood programs and other community services to improve outcomes for all. We will share effective leadership strategies to build partnerships with fathers and fatherhood programs as well as effective ways to change the perspective of child support professionals and re-engineer customer service delivery for fathers.

Building Better Outcomes: Moving the Needle, from Statistics to Outstanding Outcomes
This presentation will map their journeys from choosing the solutions, to engaging the staff, implementation techniques and lessons learned and the outcomes they are experiencing now. San Joaquin County has utilized a technique called from FAT (Functionally Assigned Teams) to FIT (Family Involvement Teams), a business model that encourages child support workers to provide holistic, family-focused services while partnering with parents to develop cooperative family relationships. The FIT concept emerged through planning discussions regarding service delivery, leadership cultivation, and succession planning. Highlights include creative methods of motivation, team building, change management, and leadership development.
Erie County utilized concepts from the Lean Sigma philosophy to improve their Contempt Court process. Applying the DMAIC model for process improvement, Erie County increased collections and streamlined Contempt Court. Working in conjunction with our IV-D Agency, county workers have used these methods to resolve issues on the state level as well. See how these methodologies can improve your business processes.

These models incorporate true spirit of teamwork, the blending of individual knowledge and skills of child support workers, brought together through strong leadership and a belief in outcomes for families. Come hear how these two great programs are really making a difference for the staff and for the families they serve. Delivery of excellent child support services now and into the future.

Leading the Future of Child Support: Leadership Skills

Dynamic programming which engages in topics about the ever-changing workplace and developing new leadership skills to lead the future of the child support industry

Leadership Book Club: We Need to Talk – How to Have Conversations That Matter
Read the selected book, We Need to Talk – How to Have Conversations That Matter by Celeste Headlee in advance of the conference and join the conversation  about this great book and other great books on leadership.  Experiential Learning

Strategic Planning
Have you ever wondered how to start the process of planning strategically for your future? If you are contemplating this undertaking, then this session is for you!  This workshop will focus on what some states have done to ensure buy in from the field when building and rolling out a strategic plan for your program.

Engaging Your Team for Success
The amount and quality of work performed by an organization’s employees is directly correlated to the extent in which the employees are “engaged” with their work, their co-workers, their supervisors and managers, and with the mission, vision and goals of their organizations. Government organizations are limited in terms of the incentives and rewards they can provide to employees to obtain, increase, and sustain employee engagement. As a leader of your child support organization, it is incumbent upon you to successfully navigate the “employee engagement” challenge to get the maximum quality work effort out of your team members on a consistent basis. The panelists presenting this session will discuss the many challenges associated with employee engagement and will discuss their own experience as leaders in their organizations. They will offer plausible and limited/no-cost solutions for you to take back to your own organization to effectively, efficiently, and successfully lead the effort to obtain, increase, and sustain the level and quality of employee engagement needed to ensure success.

Leadership Perspectives Powered by Pecha Kucha
Back by popular demand, child support community leaders will share their perspectives on leadership in a unique presentation format, Pecha Kucha, which means “chit chat” in Japanese. Pecha Kucha is the art of concise presentations. Each speaker presents 20 slides for 20 seconds each for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. The slides automatically advance, so the speakers must talk along with each slide. There is no going back or stopping! Slides are pictorial and include little, if any, text. No more tiny print and long bulleted lists! You will not only gain some great insights on leadership, you will experience the valuable art of succinct presentations. Experiential Learning

Retention Strategies for Leaders: Making It Stick!
Often leaders prepare training for a specific child support process. They train staff in that process, and then move on to another training need. Later, they discover that they did not get the results they were seeking. What went wrong? Identifying and addressing skill gaps are important to ensure staff members are properly equipped to provide quality services. All training projects need retention evaluation measures to ensure immediate evaluation and to follow up 3, 6, and 12 months down the road. This workshop addresses best practices for measuring retention. Participants will learn about scenario-based learning and how that can be incorporated in the learning process. The workshop also offers the opportunity to share current training project information and to discuss ways to build retention strategies into that specific project. Join us for on the spot strategizing!

Lessons in Leadership from NCSEA U
An all-star team of leaders who have participated in NCSEA University (NCSEA U) will share information about lessons learned through that opportunity and how this has helped prepare them for future jobs as well as for greater leadership roles within the child support community. Additionally, we will learn about the NCSEA U Affinity Group and how it is influencing the direction and future of networking and community support within NCSEA.

Soft Skills for Child Support Workers – Not Just Fluff!
Child Support is a complex system – there is no arguing that. Step by step process training (hard skills) is vital for workers to successfully meet the needs of their child support customers. Hard skills teach us how to do our jobs. Soft skills training is equally important.  It’s not just fluff!  Soft skill training includes communication, conflict resolution, listening, team work, time management, critical thinking, and empathy. Soft skills teach us how to interact with the people we serve!  In this workshop, participants are given examples of soft skills training utilized with child support workers. Participants will learn different methods of incorporating soft skill training, including in-person and eLearning examples. Experiential Learning

Daddy Don’t Go
Join us for a screening of the award-winning documentary, “Daddy Don’t Go.” The film, directed by a former case worker, offers a powerful glimpse into the lives of four struggling fathers who, above all else, are committed to their kids. The film is a catalyst for empathy, opening the door to much needed discussions about what programs and communities can do to help disadvantaged fathers. Experiential Learning

Mastering the Art of Communication to Speak the Language of Leadership
How do we communicate with people, so they become more likely to make better decisions? Is it possible to influence people’s behavior by making small changes? Join us for an engaging discussion to learn valuable skills and tips to engage the minds and hearts of the people you lead and serve. Come learn and share ideas on how to master the art of communication skills to engage staff and handle difficult conversations and conflict. The presenters will use real-life scenarios to help you speak the language of leadership and coach—nudge–others in your agency to do the same. You will come away from the presentation with tips that have proven effective for motivating staff from the presenters’ agencies to communicate effectively, resulting in greater productivity and high department morale.

Growing Leadership: Creating a Culture to Help Attract, Develop, and Retain Talent
How are you growing leaders? What are you doing to create a culture of leadership within your organization and within your teams? What are your formal and informal mentoring processes? Are you coaching for leadership, including up through your executive positions? Do your employees feel like they are connected and share the same vision? Come and take part in this interactive presentation where members of the Maryland Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) and the New Jersey Child Support Institute (NJCSI) make the case for building a leadership program. Bring your mobile device as we will be conducting live polling throughout the session!