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Job Description

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Child Support Specialist I
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Performs a wide variety of child support duties consisting of maintaining a caseload, locating and interviewing custodial and non-custodial parents and others to elicit factual information for the purpose of establishing child support obligations and enforcing child support laws; arranges for support payments when possible; prepares cases for court hearings as necessary; and performs related work as required.

Working under close supervision, Child Support Specialist I is the entry/trainee level in the Child Support Specialist series. Employees in this class receive in-service training, and are given detailed instructions in the performance of duties related to child support laws, regulations, and a broad range of child support casework activities. As requisite skills and knowledge are developed, greater independence and the full scope of responsibility are exercised. Employees are expected to promote to Child Support Specialist II after one year of satisfactory performance at the entry/trainee level.
Two (2) years of full-time clerical experience which included interaction with the public;
One year of full-time experience performing debt collections duties which included interviewing others for the purpose of collecting information;
One year of full-time experience performing duties of a Child Support Assistant I or Office Assistant II in a Child Support Services Department;
Completion of 60 semester or 90 quarter units of college.
Qualifying experience or education may be combined in order to meet the above requirements. When combining education and experience; fifteen (15) semester units or twenty-two (22) quarter units equals six months of experience.
Typical Duties:

Duties for the Child Support Specialist I and II may include, but are not limited to the following:

Manages a general caseload consisting of child support legal actions and the establishment, enforcement and collection of child support payment obligations based on established guidelines.
Coordinates appointments for personal interviews with custodial and non-custodial parents, employers, and attorneys.
Develops and analyzes information for the establishment of paternity.
Uses a variety of methods, systems and procedures for locating information on custodial and non-custodial parents' assets, income, and liabilities.
Evaluates income and expense data of custodial and non-custodial parents to determine and recommend child support payment obligations based on established guidelines.
Responds to general inquiries and explains general child support laws, court orders, rules, regulations, and policies to public and staff.
Participates in interviews to secure support agreements and to persuade responsible parties to make payments without recourse to legal action.
Prepares and processes legal documents necessary for the establishment, collection, and enforcement of child support obligations Documents and updates customer information, contact information, case actions/history logs, and records using a state-wide automated system.
Provides case status information, explains the complaint resolution process, and answers case specific questions for all involved parties ensuring the verbiage used cannot be interpreted as legal advice.
Applies federal, state, and local codes, procedures, and rules in establishing and processing child support cases.
Coordinates and/or conducts genetic tests when needed.
Performs related duties as assigned.

Employment Standards
Knowledge of:

Note: The level and scope of the knowledge and skills listed below are related to job duties as distinguished between the two levels in the Definition section.

Civil and criminal law, and Federal and California laws and regulations pertaining to the establishment, and enforcement of child support obligations.
Sources, methods and techniques used to locate non-custodial parents, relatives and related persons, assets, income, and liabilities.
Techniques and methods for establishing paternity.
Child Support specific collection methods and techniques.
Legal terminology used when explaining legal procedures to customers or the public.
When and how to prepare and process a variety of child support related legal documents in a clear and concise manner.
The structure and content of the English language.
Basic mathematics and business arithmetic, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, percentages, and decimals.

Skill/Ability to:

Apply specialized Federal child support laws and procedures as they apply to intergovernmental and international cases.
Explain child support procedures, regulations, and requirements to individuals from a wide variety of educational and cultural backgrounds.
Use effective interviewing techniques to interview a wide variety of people, over the telephone and in person.
Use patience, tact and courtesy in firmly dealing with people who may be uncooperative, unreasonable, angry, upset, or hostile.
Collect DNA samples to establish paternity.
Use sound independent judgment to analyze factual information, situations, and people.
Understand financial records such as tax records, income and expense reports, and employer earnings records to determine the amount of child support payment obligations.
Compile multiple pieces of information clearly and concisely into an organized and understandable written report or oral presentation.
Organize work and set priorities in order to meet critical deadlines with minimal direction.
Exercise initiative within the limits of assigned duties.
Maintain the confidentiality of sensitive or personal information.
Establish rapport and maintain effective working relationships with coworkers, courts, attorneys, other agencies, and the public.
Be flexible and supportive of change.
Ability to prioritize multiple assignments having conflicting deadlines.
Effectively use computer and other resources to prepare and manage cases.
Some positions in this classification may require possession of a valid California driver's license. Employees who drive on County business to carry out job-related duties must possess a valid California driver's license for the class of vehicle driven and meet automobile insurability requirements of the County. Eligibility for employment for those who do not meet this requirement due to disability will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the appointing authority.




Submitting an application is the first step toward a valuable and rewarding career as a Child Support Specialist. We offer this additional information in an effort to provide you with a clear understanding of the nature of the job and its requirements. Please take the time to review this information prior to submitting an application.

The primary function of a Child Support Specialist involves establishing paternity and child support obligations and enforcing child support laws. The work performed includes processing of a broad range of paperwork and entering information into a computer-based case data management system with very time sensitive agency and legal deadlines. The Child Support Specialist maintains a caseload and locates and interviews custodial and non-custodial parents and others to gather information for locating non-custodial parents and their assets, determining financial ability to pay child and medical support, establishing paternity and child support orders, and collecting those court- ordered support payments. They also prepare cases for court hearings.

Within legal requirements and departmental policies and procedures, Child Support Specialists operate with considerable independence and must exercise discretion and judgment in evaluating cases and determining the level of support and the methods of enforcement. They have discretionary ability to obtain highly confidential information from a wide variety of sources, which must be used only for business purposes. Misuse of such information is subject to criminal and civil action.

Typical duties include:

Takes sworn statements from the custodial parent and non-custodial parent, and arranges or facilitates DNA testing in cases where paternity is in question.
Evaluates income and expense data of custodial and non-custodial parent to determine support capability; reviews financial history to determine arrears obligation.
Explains legal requirements and the calculation of support payments to custodial and non-custodial parents and other involved parties.
Issues Summons and Complaints and Proposed Judgments to establish paternity and support orders and enforces those orders through wage assignments and other legal actions.
Obtains and enforces health insurance orders.
Recommends cases for prosecution, prepares legal documents for court filing, assists attorneys in preparing cases, and testifies in court as necessary.
Initiates and processes such legal actions as subpoenas, orders to show cause, registration of foreign support orders, notices of assignment, writs of execution, property liens, orders of examination, and contempt of court actions pertaining to the enforcement of child support.
Responds to and investigates complaints from custodial and non-custodial parents regarding hidden assets and/or "under the table" employment.
Accesses computerized databases and maintains computerized files. Responds to and complete numerous daily, weekly, and monthly automated task lists.
Responds to inquiries from the public, private attorneys, appointed and elected officials.
Provides case status information and interprets child support statutes, regulations, and procedures to custodial and non-custodial parents.

Child Support Specialists are expected to handle a high volume of work which is deadline driven. Applicants must be able to prioritize, plan and project their work, but at the same time be flexible to changes at any moment, such as unscheduled visits from clients. They perform in a high stress work environment.

It is important to understand that the actions you take as a Child Support Specialist impact the lives of clients and their families, both emotionally and financially.


As a Child Support Specialist you may be required to take actions that conflict with your own values. A Child Support Specialist must be able to accept clients' differences and interact with them in a non-judgmental manner. Some of the controversial issues encountered in a Child Support environment include:

Enforcing mandatory guideline child support orders that may not seem reasonable
Attaching the wages of non-custodial parents who then allege they will not be able to support their current family
Negatively impacting a non-custodial parent's credit rating
Intercepting state and federal tax returns
Revoking driver's licenses, required employment and professional licenses, and passports
Clients who do not wish to be cooperative
Clients in a highly emotional or irate mental state
Custodial parents involved in Welfare fraud
Clients who are domestic violence victims
Clients with felony convictions
Homeless individuals and families
Clients whose life style, culture, and/or values may be significantly different than your own
Mandatory reporting of child and adult abuse