"This fact sheet provides a list of questions and talking points to help you launch these discussions. The types of questions listed are designed to help CSE agency representatives understand the overlap between eligible populations served by both systems, the types of financial services provided by asset building groups that custodial and noncustodial parents can benefit from, and how asset building staff envision a partnership working."
Talking to an Asset-Building Agency about Partnering
The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) recently launched a joint initiative with the federal Office of Community Services (OCS) to promote financial education and savings among families involved in the child support system. Building Assets for Fathers and Families will help child support agencies connect to federally funded Assets for Independence (AFI) projects in their areas. Run by OCS, AFI projects help low-income people save earned income in special matched savings accounts called Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). Every dollar of savings a participant deposits into an IDA is matched from $1 to $8 by the AFI project. Savings can be used to buy a first home, finance a small business, pay for post-secondary education, or can be transferred into an IDA for a child or spouse. All AFI projects provide financial education and other services related to family finances and financial management.
Partnerships between these types of organizations are relatively new. Nothing can substitute for simply getting together, talking, and learning about each other. This is especially true because child support (CS) agencies and AFI grantees are unique in every community. AFI and other asset building organizations differ in the range of financial services they offer clients, so you will need to know about the particular services your potential partner offers. Also, since child support rules and policies differ by state, you will need to describe the rules under which you operate, as well as anything you can do to encourage financial management and savings among your clients.
This fact sheet provides a list of questions and talking points to help you launch these discussions. The types of questions listed are designed to help CS agency representatives understand the overlap between eligible populations served by both systems, the types of financial services provided by asset building groups that custodial and noncustodial parents can benefit from, and how asset building staff envision a partnership working.
These talking points are designed as a starting point for discussion. Readers are encouraged to think of additional issues they would want to discuss during a first meeting.
Questions about Ways Your AFI Grantee, or other Asset Building Agency Partner Can Help Child Support Clients
These suggested questions are meant to help ensure that you learn about exactly how an asset building agency can help you improve the financial skills and circumstances of your clients—both Noncustodial Parents (NCPs) and Custodial Parents (CPs).
o Financial education
o Getting banked
o Matched savings accounts such as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)
o Debt management
o Credit building/rebuilding
o Tax credits and tax preparation and filing assistance
o Education planning for your clients’ children
o Accessing Federal and State benefits
o Other services not mentioned
o What are your agency’s eligibility requirements?
(At this point you might want to describe the range of financial profiles of the custodial and noncustodial parents your agency serves. Please describe the types of clients you could refer to the asset building agency and what services you would want them to receive.)
Discussion of Ways Child Support Agencies Can Help Asset Building Agencies Serve Custodial and Noncustodial Parents
Your potential partner should understand exactly how you can assist noncustodial parents with child support obligation adjustments and/or debt reduction (if appropriate), and custodial parents in obtaining child support orders. Below are some areas of potential action that you may be able to take:
Questions about Working Together
In addition to learning about particular services for your clients, it is important to ask questions that will help the partnership operate more smoothly. Suggestions include:
Comments or More Information
This is one in a series of fact sheets on asset-building, fatherhood, and child support services produced by the Assets for Independence Resource Center. For more information, visit the resource center website at www.IDAresources.org or contact the center on 1-866-778-6037 or via email at info@IDAresources.org.