Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to DSHS Economic Services Administration's Frequently Asked Questions!

A Guide for Providers in Washington State


Hospitals, midwives, birth clinics, health departments, physicians, and other organizations form the back-bone of Washington State's Parentage and Paternity Program. Your efforts have made Washington State's program an outstanding success and a model for the nation. This guide provides you with the information you need to comply with federal and state laws and meet the needs of parents who desire to sign an acknowledgment. We sincerely appreciate your efforts!

In 2017,  27,096 children were born to unmarried parents in Washington State. The Parentage and Paternity Program provides unmarried parents an opportunity to voluntarily sign an Acknowledgment of Parentage. Once both parents sign the acknowledgment and it is witnessed or notarized, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) may enter the second parent's name on the birth certificate. The acknowledgment establishes a legal finding of parentage. A parent may rescind their signature by completing a Rescission of Parentage form. The form must be completed and filed on or before 60 days after the Acknowledgment of Parentage form or the Denial of Parentage form  is filed before the first court hearing to determine parentage relating to the child, whichever happens first. After the rescission period, a challenge to the acknowledgment may be filed in court for limited reasons up to four years after the acknowledgment is filed with DOH. Legally establishing parentage helps a child become eligible to receive certain benefits. Some of those benefits include child support, Social Security, health insurance, and inheritance rights. Establishing parentage also makes it possible for the child to enjoy a sense of belonging that comes from knowing both parents. Washington's program began in July 1989. Your efforts helped the parents of over 21,245 children sign a Paternity Acknowledgment last year.



After DSHS approves your good cause not to cooperate with DCS, you may decide that circumstances have changed and that you now want DCS to pursue child support. If you want to withdraw your good cause claim, contact the CSO if you are still receiving TANF or medical assistance. When the CSO tells DCS that you withdrew your good cause claim, DCS can open your support case and start collecting support.

If you do not get TANF or medical assistance, you may contact DCS and complete an application for child support services. You can download the child support application online, complete it, sign it, and then send it to DCS.

When you no longer get TANF and medical assistance, you do not have to return to the CSO to withdraw your good cause claim to get DCS to start collecting child support. If the DCS worker tells you to go to the CSO, explain that because you are no longer on TANF or medical assistance, the CSO does not have to get involved. If the DCS worker insists that you have to return to the CSO, ask to talk to another staff person.

Remember, while your good cause claim was in effect, it did not stop the child support debt owed by the other parent from growing. If there is a support order, the amount of support owed each month continued to add up the entire period of time good cause was in effect.

When good cause ends, DCS will send the other parent notice of the debt owed. Think about how the other parent is going to react to receiving notice of this debt from DCS. This is an important part of ongoing safety planning for survivors faced with this type of situation.

No. Both refugees and asylees are legally admitted to the U.S. because of the fear of persecution in their home country. The difference is that refugees are given admission before entry in to the U.S., whereas asylees arrive in the U.S. before they claim asylum and are given legal permission to stay.

Yes. Either parent may open a case with the Division of Child Support (DCS). In most cases, DCS will refer the case to a prosecuting attorney for parentage establishment through the court. That process usually includes genetic testing.

There are no "magic words" that you must use to claim good cause not to cooperate with DCS. However, different people may use different words to talk about the same thing.

Make sure the CSO worker knows you are afraid that DCS efforts to establish or collect child support may be dangerous for you or your children. Try to use the phrase "good cause not to cooperate with DCS," or "child support good cause." That way, you can know you clearly made your point that you are worried about how your abuser may react when DCS tries to collect child support.

Employers are required to report the following employees within 20 days of hire or rehire:

New Employees: Employers must report all employees who reside or work in the State of Washington to whom the employer anticipates paying earnings. Employees should be reported even if they work only one day and are terminated (prior to the employer fulfilling the new hire reporting requirement).

Rehired or Recalled Employees: Employers must report an employee who returns to work after a 60-day period of non-work. This includes employees who return to work after being laid off, furloughed, separated, granted a leave without pay, or terminated from employment.

Temporary Employees: Temporary agencies are responsible for reporting any employee who they hire to report for an assignment. Employees need to be reported only once; they do not need to be resubmitted each time they
report to a new client. They do need to be reported as a rehire if the worker has a break in service or gap in wages from your company.

No, a modification review will only be done on a full enforcement case.

The NFFR Can Become a Final Support Order by Operation of Law

Do not ignore the notice you received! It could become a legal order for child support which DCS will enforce.

  • If you or the other party to this case do not file a timely objection, the NFFR will become a final, enforceable administrative child support order. Once the order is final, DCS may enforce the amounts stated in the notice at any time without any further notice to you.
  • If either party files a timely objection, DCS cannot enforce the terms of the notice until a final order as defined in this section is entered. To be timely, you must ask for a hearing or object to the notice within 20 days (60 days if you live outside of Washington).
  • Refer to WAC 388-14A-3110 for more details.

If you still have questions, contact your support enforcement officer at the phone number listed on the last page of the notice you received. If you are not sure which office handles your case, call the KIDS line at 1-800-442-KIDS (5437).

If you believe that helping child support services may hurt you or your children, you can claim that you have a good reason, also known as "good cause" not to cooperate. You use this "good cause" process to explain why you fear cooperating with DCS may be dangerous.

No. For security reasons you cannot change your FEIN in this program. If you get a new FEIN simply use your new number to log in to the system. The program will prompt you to create a new Company Profile using your new number.

Yes! Click here to visit the Child Support Internet Payments Service Web Site.

Also please see Notice and Finding of Financial Responsibility in FAQ question topics.

No, DCS is unable to accept your check for payment of the fee. State law requires the $25 fee to be deducted directly from your child support after the first $500 has been disbursed to you in the federal fiscal year (October 1st through September 30th).


Beginning October 1, 2007, federal law provides that certain child support cases are subject to a $25 fee each year. Washington law provides that this fee will be paid by the custodial parent. The $25 fee will be withheld from child support payments that are made on the case, but only after $500 in child support has been disbursed to the family between October 1 and September 30 (the federal fiscal year), and only if the custodial parent has never received TANF, Tribal TANF or AFDC on behalf of a child.

If you have questions, or would like additional information about the $25 fee please refer to the following links, or call the KIDS general information line at 1-800-442-KIDS.

Not through this agency. Welfare fraud needs to be reported in the state where it was committed. The Office of Fraud and Accountability only investigates Welfare Fraud in Washington State.

To report fraud occurring in another state, please call that state's Information.

Or, visit the website of the United Council on Welfare Fraud - UCOWF. UCOWF is an international organization of approximately 2,000 individuals from the United States and Canada who have combined their efforts to fight fraud, waste, and abuse in social service programs. Their primary focus is toward the detection, elimination, and prosecution of those who fraudulently obtain government benefits.

At the UCOWF website, you may find additional information on Welfare Fraud and links to report fraud to other states.

Washington State Welfare Fraud Hotline: 1-800-562-6906

OFA investigates Welfare Fraud in the state of Washington. The word Welfare is used to include: Public Assistance programs and benefits; food stamps; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Quest card, which is used for Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT); and Childcare benefits.

For additional questions or if you are Law Enforcement, you can leave a message, and your call will be returned within 24 hours at 360-664-5505.

Yes! Click here to visit the Child Support Internet Payments Service Web Site and view your payments on-line.

Also please see Notice and Finding of Financial Responsibility in FAQ question topics.

Either parent who signs an Acknowledgment of Parentage may change his or her mind within a limited period of time. The legal term is called a rescission. To rescind a signature, the parent must file a Rescission of Parentage form within no more than 60 days after the Acknowledgment of Parentage is filed at the Department of Health, or before the first court action.

Either party to a child support order can ask DCS to release the address of the other party. This request must be in writing and must be for a reason specified by law. DCS has a form which a party can use to ask for the address.

If DCS records have information that makes them believe release of the address may be harmful for the parent whose address is requested, DCS will deny the request, and notify that parent.

If DCS records do not have information that would make them deny the request, DCS handles the request based on the status of the person whose address is requested.

  • When the noncustodial parent asks for the address of the custodial parent, DCS sends a notice to the custodial parent about the request. The custodial parent has 30 days to:
    • Allow release of the address,
    • Ask for an administrative hearing on the issue of disclosure, 
    • Give DCS a court order stopping DCS from releasing the address.

      Sometimes the evidence given with the hearing request allows DCS to deny the request for disclosure.

      If DCS does not get a response from the custodial parent, they release the address after the 30 days expires.This is a very good reason to read all your mail from DCS or DSHS.

  • When the custodial parent asks for the noncustodial parent's address, DCS releases the address without notice to the noncustodial parent unless the noncustodial parent previously asked DCS to send them a notice before releasing their address information.
    • If the noncustodial parent told DCS they have concerns about releasing their address information, DCS follows the same notice procedure it does for a request for the custodial parent's address.

For information on the Secretary of State's Address Confidentiality Program and to see if that program can help you, talk to your domestic violence advocate.