CS 211 Tribal IV-D Agencies

03/05/03 Revised 05/03/16 Training Completed 05/17/16

45 CFR 309, 309.105, 309.120; 18 U.S.C. § 1151, 28 U.S.C § 1738B, 42 U.S.C. § 653, 655(f), 664(a)



Tribal IV-D Programs


The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has approved direct federal funding for many tribal IV-D programs.  If you locate a participant and s/he is a member of one of the IV-D tribes and resides on the reservation, you must contact that tribal IV-D agency directly when seeking assistance with a case, a referral, or a request for information.  For a list of the IV-D tribes, refer to the Intergovernmental Reference Guide (IRG). 



Statutory Authority


Pursuant to 45 CFR 309.01:

“(a) The regulations in this part prescribe the rules for implementing section 455(f) of the Social Security Act. Section 455(f) of the Act authorizes direct grants to Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations to operate child support enforcement programs.

(b) These regulations establish the requirements that must be met by Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations to be eligible for grants under section 455(f) of the Act. They establish requirements for: Tribal IV-D plan and application content, submission, approval, and amendment; program funding; program operation; uses of funds; accountability; reporting; and other program requirements and procedures.”


42 U.S.C. § 655 (f) Direct Federal Funding to Indian Tribes and Tribal Organizations:

The Secretary may make direct payments under this part to an Indian tribe or tribal organization that demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary that it has the capacity to operate a child support enforcement program meeting the objectives of this part, including establishment of paternity, establishment, modification, and enforcement of support orders, and location of absent parents. The Secretary shall promulgate regulations establishing the requirements which must be met by an Indian tribe or tribal organization to be eligible for a grant under this subsection.” 


To become eligible for IV-D funding, a tribe or tribal organization must comply with the requirements set forth in 45 CFR 309.10.  


Once a tribe becomes eligible for IV-D funding, the tribe must designate an agency to administer the Tribal IV-D plan; that agency then becomes the Tribal IV-D agency (45 CFR 309.60).


In addition to operating child support programs, IV-D tribes are now capable of accessing/receiving: 


1.                   Federal Parent Locate Services (FPLS).  Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 653 – Federal Parent Locator Services, tribes are authorized to receive FPLS information:

(a)Establishment; purpose

(1) The Secretary shall establish and conduct a Federal Parent Locator Service, under the direction of the designee of the Secretary referred to in section 652(a) of this title, which shall be used for the purposes specified in paragraphs (2) and (3).

(2)For the purpose of establishing parentage or establishing, setting the amount of, modifying, or enforcing child support obligations, the Federal Parent Locator Service shall obtain and transmit to any authorized person specified in subsection (c) of this section— . . .

(c) “Authorized person” defined As used in subsection (a) of this section, the term “authorized person” means—

(1) any agent or attorney of any State or Indian tribe or tribal organization (as defined in subsections (e) and (l) of section 450b of title 25), having in effect a plan approved under this part, who has the duty or authority under such plans to seek to recover any amounts owed as child and spousal support (including, when authorized under the State plan, any official of a political subdivision);. . . ” (Emphasis added.)


2.                   Federal Tax Information.  Pursuant to the following federal laws and regulations IV-D tribes are authorized to collect on past due support from federal tax refunds.


28 U.S.C § 1738B(a)(9):

“The term “State” means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territories and possessions of the United States, and Indian country (as defined in section 1151 of title 18).”


42 U.S.C § 664 – Collection of past-due support from Federal tax refunds:

“(a) Procedures applicable; distribution

(1) Upon receiving notice from a State agency administering a plan approved under this part that a named individual owes past-due support which has been assigned to such State pursuant to section 608(a)(3) or section 671(a)(17) of this title, the Secretary of the Treasury shall determine whether any amounts, as refunds of Federal taxes paid, are payable to such individual (regardless of whether such individual filed a tax return as a married or unmarried individual). If the Secretary of the Treasury finds that any such amount is payable, he shall withhold from such refunds an amount equal to the past-due support, shall concurrently send notice to such individual that the withholding has been made (including in or with such notice a notification to any other person who may have filed a joint return with such individual of the steps which such other person may take in order to secure his or her proper share of the refund), and shall pay such amount to the State agency (together with notice of the individual’s home address) for distribution in accordance with section 657 of this title. This subsection may be executed by the disbursing official of the Department of the Treasury.”  (Emphasis added.)



State and Tribal Cooperation


Pursuant to 45 CFR 309.120:

“A Tribe or Tribal organization must specify in its Tribal IV-D plan:

(a) That the Tribal IV-D agency will extend the full range of services available under its IV-D plan to respond to all requests from, and cooperate with, State and other Tribal IV-D agencies; and

(b) That the Tribe or Tribal organization will recognize child support orders issued by other Tribes and Tribal organizations, and by States, in accordance with the requirements under the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act, 28 U.S.C. 1738B.”


Federal regulations require state and tribal cooperation in the implementation of the Tribal IV-D Program.  Below are sections of the regulation which require cooperation between the states and the tribes:


1.                   Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA).  Tribes have not been required to implement UIFSA and are therefore not required to respond to any UIFSA forms.  According to the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) website:

“Tribes have not been required to enact UIFSA in order to receive federal funding for child support programs, as states have been required to do. However, courts of all United States territories, states and tribes must give full faith and credit to a child support order issued by another state or tribe that had jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter.”


UIFSA compels state employers to honor direct income withholding orders that are sent directly from another state or a tribe.  The Federal Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA) requires both tribes and states to enforce valid child support orders, which means all income withholding orders must be referred directly to the appropriate Tribal IV-D agency as required by FFCCSOA. 


2.                   Paternity Establishment.  According to the regulations found in 45 CFR 309.100, tribes must include in their IV-D plan procedures for paternity establishment through the process established under Tribal law.  This allows for tribal discretion regarding how paternity is established.  States and tribes are required to recognize and honor a prior determination of paternity.  Questions related to the determination of paternity should be discussed with the attorney assigned to the case. 


3.                   Non-Cash Payments.  Regulations found at 45 CFR 309.105 state that tribal orders may enter an order for a non-cash payment in lieu of a cash payment.  Presumably, such a payment would be made directly to the custodial parent (CP).  Tribes must specifically state a dollar amount value for that non-cash payment, tribes must describe what types of non-cash payment will satisfy the dollar amount listed in the support order, and tribal orders must specify that non-cash payments will not satisfy any assigned support obligations.  45 CFR 309.105(a)(3) states:

“Indicate whether non-cash payments will be permitted to satisfy support obligations, and if so;

(i) Require that Tribal support orders allowing non-cash payments also state the specific dollar amount of the support obligation; and

(ii) Describe the type(s) of non-cash support that will be permitted to satisfy the underlying specific dollar amount of the support order; and

(iii) Provide that non-cash payments will not be permitted to satisfy assigned support obligations.”


By permitting the tribal courts to determine the amount, state IV-D agencies do not have to subsequently determine the dollar value of the non-cash payment and in situations involving IV-A assistance, states may enforce on the dollar amount listed in the tribal order. 


4.                   Medical Support Orders.  Currently, there is no requirement for tribal support orders to include a medical support order.  However, if a tribe is enforcing an order which contains a medical support provision, the order is entitled to full faith and credit.


5.                   Tribes Receive a Request for Assistance in Collecting from a State IV-D Program.  When a tribal IV-D agency receives a request for assistance from another state or tribal IV-D agency in collection of support, specific intergovernmental procedures are required.  Tribal IV-D agencies have two options concerning the distribution of support for requests for assistance from other agencies:

a.                   Pursuant to 45 CFR 309.115(d):

“Requests for Assistance from State or Tribal IV-D Agency: If there is no assignment of support rights to the Tribe as a condition of receipt of Tribal TANF and the Tribal IV-D agency has received a request for assistance in collecting support on behalf of the family from a State or another Tribal IV-D agency under §309.120 of this part, the Tribal IV-D agency must send all support collected to either the State IV-D agency for distribution in accordance with section 457 of the Act and 45 CFR 302.51 and 302.52, or to the Tribal IV-D agency for distribution under this section, as appropriate, except as provided in paragraph (f) of this section.”; or,

b.                  Pursuant to 45 CFR 309.115(f):

“Option to Contact Requesting Agency for Appropriate Distribution: Rather than send collections to a State or another Tribal IV-D agency for distribution as required under §309.115 (b)(2), (c)(2) and (d), a Tribal IV-D agency may contact the requesting State IV-D agency to determine appropriate distribution under section 457 of the Act, or the other Tribal IV-D agency to determine appropriate distribution under this section, and distribute collections as directed by the other agency.”


Procedures - Information on Tribes


The Intergovernmental Reference Guide (IRG) maintains a contact map listing all states and all of the tribal child support programs located within each state.  To access this map:


1.                   Go to the IRG Child Support Websites and General Contact Information website:;


2.                   Click on the state in which the tribe is located to receive current contact information specific to that state and tribe.


Many tribes maintain profiles on the IRG providing specific information regarding each of the tribes’ child support processes.  If you need information or assistance from a tribe that does not maintain an IRG profile or does not operate a IV-D program, contact the tribe’s tribal council, administrative office, court, social service office, or child support agency to obtain information on that tribe’s legal and procedural requirements.  For more information on the IRG, refer to CS RSRC 430 Intergovernmental Reference Guide.


Current contact information including the address and phone number for all tribes located in the United States can be found on the Native American Consultation Database (NACD) website which is part of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) website.  To access the site:


1.                   Go to the Native American Consultation Database website:


NOTE:  The NACD is not a comprehensive source of information, but it does provide a starting point for the consultation process by identifying tribal leaders and other contacts.  The NACD is updated periodically with contact information received from Native American tribes and from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).


2.                   If you know the name of the tribe you want to find, type it in the “Tribal Name” field.  If you only know the state in which the tribe is located, type the state name in the “State Name” field.  You may enter multiple pieces of information for your search.  Click “Submit Query.”


NOTE:  Leave the Report Type field as “Full Data.”


3.                   You will receive a list of results matching your search.  Scroll through the list until you find the tribe you are searching for.  Addresses and phone numbers should be available, along with other possible pieces of information such as fax numbers and names of contacts.



Intergovernmental Referrals


If a participant resides on the reservation of a IV-D tribe and you have determined, after contacting the tribe (see subsection Tribal IV-D Programs), that it is appropriate to send an intergovernmental referral directly to the tribe, follow the procedures found in CS 222P Intergovernmental Referral Methods.