Apply for Child Support Services

Who can use this service?

California's Child Support Services Program works with parents - custodial and noncustodial - and guardians to ensure children and families receive court-ordered financial and medical support. Either parent (the one owed support or the one who is required to pay support), or the caretaker/ guardian of a child may open a Child Support Case by completing an application. DCSS will also open a case for any individual receiving California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS) who has been referred by the county Department of Social Services. Court ordered legal guardians of a child, who do not receive Calworks may also open a case for support against both parents.

Is there a charge for this service?

The Federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 - Implementation of the $25 Annual Service Fee

In the Federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Public Law 109-171, all states were instructed to impose a $25 Annual Service Fee to non-welfare families (never-assisted cases) who are disbursed $500 or more during the federal fiscal year. The mandate went into effect January 1, 2008.  As of October 1, 2010, the State will no longer pay the fee on behalf of families.

 

Beginning October 1, 2011, and every October 1 thereafter, DCSS will assess the $25 Annual Service Fee to all never-assisted cases that meet the criteria for assessment. The service fee will be withheld from the never-assisted custodial party’s next child support payment(s) until the $25 is fully recovered. Although the first disbursement(s) paid to the custodial party on or after October 1 will be reduced by $25, the NCP will get full credit for the amount of the collection received.

What is the process?

Step 1: Apply for Child Support Services

You can apply for services in four ways:
 
  1. Submit an application on line through the Virtual Interactive Online Application (VIOLA).  This is a state approved on line application process, is easy and secure and available at no cost to you.  Once your application is submitted through VIOLA there will be additional forms or information required in order to proceed with your request.
  2. Print and complete an Application for Child Support Services Packet and mail to our office at 1200 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo, Ca 93401. 
  3. Contact our office by phone at 866-901-3212 and request an application be mailed to you.  Please note that phone lines are open from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.
  4. Come into our local office between office hours of 8:00 am and 5:00pm and request an application.
*If you are receiving California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids(CalWORKs), and a parent is absent from the home or establishment of legal paternity is necessary, a referral for child support services will automatically be sent by the Department of Social Services to DCSS.

When completing the Application for Child Support Services Packet it's important to provide as much information about the parties as possible.  DCSS will make every effort to locate the non-custodial parent, but in order to proceed with court order establishment or enforcement it's imperative to provide the name, date of birth, Social Security Number, and location of the non-custodial parents residence and employer. 

When and where is this service offered?

This service is available throughout the year during regular business hours except during scheduled holidays.

Contact Us

Frequently Asked Questions

Directions To Our Office

We are located at 1200 Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo, California between Johnson Avenue and Santa Rosa Street. The office is located on the corner of Monterey and Toro Streets, with the entrance on Toro Street.


View a map via Google Maps

What are my options for Child Support if I am on CalWORKS?
Individuals currently receiving California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS) are automatically referred to their local child support agency for services. If you are a CalWORKS beneficiary and have questions about your case, please contact your local child support agency.
What is child support?
Child support is defined by law as the ongoing monetary expenditures and payments necessary to cover a child’s living and medical expenses. Both parents have a legal duty to provide financial support for their children. The Court may order either or both parents to make ongoing payments to cover a child’s living and medical expenses.
What is the local child support agency (LCSA)?
There are 51 County and Regional Child Support Agencies throughout California. The Local Child Support Agency (LCSA) is the organization through which the public can apply for help in obtaining child support.  Find an LCSA.
What does the State need from me as a customer with a private child support case?
Customers with private child support cases must complete and provide the State the FL-191 (Child Support Case Registry) and FL-195 (Income Withholding for Support) when entering into a court order with family, or child and spousal support.  Often the court will provide the FL-191 to the State.
  • After serving the FL-195 to the employer, mail a copy of the FL-195 to the California State Disbursement Unit (SDU) at:

    CA State Disbursement Unit (SDU)
    P.O. Box 980218
    West Sacramento, CA 95798-0218
What is the $25 Annual Fee?
In the Federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Public Law 109-171, all states were instructed to impose a $25 Annual Service Fee to non-welfare families (never-assisted cases) who are disbursed $500 or more during the Federal fiscal year. The mandate went into effect January 1, 2008.  As of October 1, 2010, the State will no longer pay the fee on behalf of families.

Beginning October 1, 2011, and every October 1 thereafter, DCSS will assess the $25 Annual Service Fee to all never-assisted cases that meet the criteria for assessment. The service fee will be withheld from the never-assisted custodial party’s next child support payment(s) until the $25 is fully recovered. Although the first disbursement(s) paid to the custodial party on or after October 1 will be reduced by $25, the non-custodial parent/obligor will be given full credit for the amount of the collection received.

 
How do I open a child support case?

There are several ways to apply for a Child Support Case:

Completed applications with an original signature can be mailed to, or dropped off at your LCSA to be processed. For more information, read PUB 246: Opening a Child Support Case.

I have a private child support case, what does that mean?
If you have a private child support case, it is considered Non IV-D and means that your case is not being enforced by the State or the Local Child Support Agency. In private cases, the State only processes payments made by wage withholding order through the employer of the parent paying support.
Is my child support case open to the public?
Child support case information is confidential and not open to the public, but documents in court files or county recorder files are public records.
What services does the California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) offer?

The services provided by the State through the local child support agencies (LCSA) include:

  • locating parents
  • establishing paternity
  • establishing and maintaining support orders
  • working with other states to enforce support orders
  • collecting and processing payments

Child support services do NOT include divorce, custody, or visitation. These services must be resolved in a court of law.

Who can get help from an LCSA?
Parents, guardians, and caretakers of minor children can receive services from a Local Child Support Agency (LCSA) regardless of marital status and income. Individuals with children receiving California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS) benefits are required to cooperate with the LCSA in establishing paternity and collecting child support. If you have applied for services, or if an application has been filed on your behalf with the LCSA, your case is considered IV-D.