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California Child Support in Administrative Law pt. 2

History of California Child Support Services


The seeds of the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) were sown with the passage of the California Desertion Act, a landmark legislation that established the legal framework for child support enforcement in California. This act marked the beginning of a long and evolving journey towards ensuring that children receive the financial support they need from both parents.



In the post-WWII era, the focus on child support shifted from punitive measures to a more holistic approach that emphasized parental responsibility and family well-being. The passage of the California Civil Code in 1951 and subsequent amendments further refined the legal framework for child support, establishing guidelines for determining child support amounts and introducing new enforcement mechanisms.



The 1970s witnessed a significant expansion of the DCSS's role, as the agency took on the responsibility of establishing paternity, calculating child support amounts, and enforcing orders. 4 This expansion was driven by a growing recognition of the importance of child support in ensuring the economic security of children and families.



The 1980s marked a pivotal era in child support enforcement with the passage of the Federal Child Support Enforcement Amendments Act of 1984 (CSEA). This federal law established a national framework for child support enforcement and provided a minimum standard for state child support laws, further strengthening the DCSS's ability to secure financial support for children.



The 1990s saw a continued focus on improving child support enforcement effectiveness. The DCSS implemented various innovations, including the use of technology and data analytics, to streamline processes, enhance communication, and improve case management. These efforts resulted in increased child support collections and improved outcomes for children.



The turn of the millennium brought about a renewed emphasis on promoting self-sufficiency among noncustodial parents. The DCSS introduced various programs and resources to help noncustodial parents find employment, develop job skills, and manage their finances, ultimately enabling them to become more responsible and engaged in their children's lives.



In recent years, the DCSS has continued to adapt and evolve its services to meet the changing needs of families. The agency has embraced technology, including online portals and mobile applications, to make it easier for parents to access information and apply for services. Additionally, the DCSS has focused on improving customer service and providing culturally competent services to meet the needs of diverse families.

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