As Congress prepared to leave Washington for the holidays, the Senate Finance Committee considered and adopted a bipartisan bill containing changes to child welfare and child support programs. The Supporting At-Risk Children Act (S. 1870) (bill summary) contains provisions long sought-after by NCSEA, including provisions language implementing the Hague Treaty, resolving inconsistencies between the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) with the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA) and providing tribes with access to the Federal Parent Locator Service. Also included in the bill is a provision establishing a child support task force to prepare a report to Congress identifying best practices and recommending improvements to the program’s effectiveness. NCSEA sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee prior to the mark up expressing support for these provisions.
Also included in the bill is a provision (Sec. 104) requiring states to include voluntary parenting time arrangements in their State Plan Amendments and a narrowly drawn provision to provide relief from passport sanctions for a select group of individuals (Sec. 102). In order to allow the Senate to consider on the floor the child welfare and child support provisions separately, the child support provisions were also introduced as a separate bill, S. 1877.
The Senate has not yet scheduled floor action on the measure. Once it does, it will clear the way for negotiations to begin with the House on a similar, bipartisan bill (HR 1896) it adopted in June 2013.