Frequently Asked Questions

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

If this happens to you, contact a social worker in your CSO immediately to talk about your concerns. If your social worker does not help you, talk to the social worker's supervisor.

If you still feel that you are in danger, you can ask for a fair hearing. A fair hearing is simply telling your story to an objective administrative law judge who can make changes in your case.

All of these processes are in place to make sure you have options to stay safe from your abuser while you need to be on TANF and medical assistance. We want you to speak up for yourself and use these processes.

Anyone can apply for child support. You do not have to get TANF or medical assistance to get services from DCS. If you have concerns about whether child support services may lead to harm for you or your children, contact DCS at any time.

Talk with a support enforcement officer about your safety options, which could include closing your case. If you do not get public assistance, you may choose to close your case at any time, for any reason.

You must have a child support case and help DCS when you get TANF or medical assistance. But, if you are victim of domestic violence and you believe receiving child support services will put you or your child in danger, you may have a good reason why you do not want child support services.

DSHS calls this reason "good cause" or "good cause not to cooperate with DCS."

There are many resources available for victims and survivors of domestic violence around the state. The DSHS Children's Administration gives information about resources both inside and outside of DSHS online click here.

If you are interested in the Secretary of State's Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), you can find information about ACP at http://www.secstate.wa.gov/acp/.

Each DSHS Community Services Office (CSO) or call center has its own process for asking if child support services will pose any danger to you or your children. Find out about your local office's process.

If you are getting ready to go to your local CSO, bring all documentation that will help you explain why child support services will be dangerous. If you have a protection order, police records, medical reports, or any other documentation of your abuse, bring these along. If you do not have these documents, you can write and sign a statement outlining why you are afraid for your safety if DSHS begins child support services.

If you are afraid for your safety or the safety of your children, don't wait for someone to ask. Ask to talk to a social worker or with a domestic violence victim advocate before you disclose information about the other parent. Find out about child support and good cause not to cooperate with DCS.

Take all the opportunities DSHS workers give you to tell them your fears and concerns about collecting child support. Never assume that because you told one worker about your risks that a different worker also knows.

If no one gives you an opportunity to talk about your fears, click here to view the DSHS good cause form. Complete the form, take it with you to the DSHS office and ask to talk to a social worker. If that person does not help you, talk to someone else.

REMEMBER: Ignoring child support will not make it go away. As complicated as your life may be, do not ignore mail that asks you to take actions about your child support. If you do not understand a letter, call the person listed in the letter. If you are afraid for your safety, be sure to open and respond as best you can to all mail you get from DSHS.