Department of Human Services

Families First Online Policy Manual

Child Support Cooperation




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The Families First child support cooperation and assignment requirements, good cause process and penalties must be explained to the applicant/recipient at the time that the Personal Responsibility Plan is presented to him/her.  In addition, a Tennessee Child Support Handbook will be given to the caretaker for future reference.


If the individual is receiving child support, the caseworker will document the amount of child support paid, up to the monthly current court ordered obligation, on the eligibility and case management system screen for unearned income.  The income will remain on that screen as long as the absent parent continues to pay the child support, even after the money is being sent to the state.  This will ensure that the income is budgeted properly at application or if an income change is subsequently reported.  The Budget Effective Date on the absent parent screens will prevent the income from being counted in the ongoing Families First and Food Stamp budgets.


Upon approval of the Families First benefits, the information provided about the absent parents and good cause is transmitted to Child Support Services by the eligibility and case management system when the appropriate information is entered on the eligibility and case management system absent parent screens.  Any changes to this information after approval will also be transmitted electronically to Child Support Services.  In addition, the eligibility and case management system notifies Child Support Services when the Families First case is closed at the end of the adverse action period so that they can notify the caretaker about the status of the child support case and notify the court that current child support should be sent directly to the caretaker. 


Individuals seeking child support for children who do not receive Families First benefits can obtain child support services through IV-D Child Support Services.  The address and telephone number for the appropriate county Child Support Services office must be provided to these individuals upon request.



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