C-101: Noncustodial Parent Choices Orders and Eligibility

Can we work with NCPs who don’t have valid IDs?

Yes. If a noncustodial parent (NCP) does not have a valid driver’s license or has a suspended license, Workforce Solutions Office staff can still provide NCP Choices services to that individual. The NCP must:

  • Have a Social Security number
  • Have the ability to work (not on work release or in jail)
  • Owe child support—Establishment (EST) or Enforcement (ENF) case
  • Be unemployed or underemployed

Can an NCP be ordered into NCP Choices if he or she is already ordered to participate under a separate case or by another Office of the Attorney General (OAG) child support office?

No. An NCP cannot be ordered by another OAG child support office if he or she is currently enrolled in the NCP Choices program.

Note: A child support office can have participation language in multiple orders on the same date if those cases are all handled by that particular office, but two different offices cannot order a parent in on separate dates. Also, once the first order is closed, the NCP may be reordered into the program by a different child support office in the future.

What happens if an NCP refuses to participate in the program after he or she is ordered in?

If an NCP is ordered into the program but refuses to participate, Local Workforce Development Boards (Boards) must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff:

  • Create a Program Detail in The Workforce Information System of Texas (TWIST) for the NCP and enter initial order-in information
  • Record TWIST service “62–Initial Assessment” if intake occurred in court and open a Choices Online Tracking System (COLTS) record
  • Attempt to contact the NCP to encourage participation

If the NCP isn’t compliant within 30 days, Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff request removal following the request to remove the procedure as provided in this guide. Once the request is approved by OAG, staff can check the failed to participate box in TWIST.

Is an incarcerated NCP eligible for the NCP Choices program?

For an incarcerated NCP to be eligible for NCP Choices, the NCP must:

  • Be incarcerated for child-support–related matters (e.g., arrested for not appearing in court for child support, jailed for nonpayment)
  • Be released from jail within 24–48 hours
  • Not have any other criminal charges that would keep him or her in jail

Boards must ensure that case managers are able to meet face-to-face in court with NCPs at the time of the order.

Note: An NCP is INELIGIBLE for the program if he or she is incarcerated on criminal charges NOT related to child support at the time of the order.

What happens if an NCP is sentenced to jail AFTER he or she is ordered into the NCP Choices program?

If the NCP is jailed due to child-support–related matters after enrollment and is incarcerated for 30 days or less, he or she can remain in the program. If the NCP is jailed for more than 30 days, Boards must ensure that case managers request removal from OAG.

If after enrollment in NCP Choices an NCP is jailed due to criminal charges that are NOT related to child support, Boards must ensure that case managers immediately request removal. Once the NCP is released from jail, the judge may or may not reorder the NCP into the program.

If an NCP is committed to jail and the case needs to be closed, is it closed as “institutionalized” or as “court-imposed penalty” in TWIST?

If the NCP is incarcerated for a child-support–related reason, the case must be closed as “court-imposed penalty.” If the NCP is jailed for a reason that is not child-support–related, then the case can be closed as “institutionalized.”

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C-102: NCP Choices Procedures & TWIST Documentation

When do case managers check the TWIST Failed to Participate box?

Case managers check the TWIST Failed to Participate box in either of two instances:

  • If the NCP shows up for his or her first meeting and never comes back
  • If the NCP never shows up after being ordered in

If an NCP obtains employment, what do we document?

Once an NCP obtains employment, case managers verify employment then enter the information into TWIST Employment Outcomes and Counselor Notes. Employment Outcomes is updated monthly. Additionally, case managers document employment and verification into OAG’s COLTS Notes.

What happens if an NCP loses his or her job before the six-month tracking period is up?

If the six-month tracking period has not yet expired from the date the NCP first entered employment, then the NCP must be placed in work activities again.

Note: If six months elapse from the date the NCP first enters employment, then the case must be closed whether or not the NCP obtains subsequent employment. OAG must be notified if the case is closed.

Additionally, if the case is closed and the NCP is reordered into the program a second time, and then obtains employment, the employment retention period starts over.

If an NCP is employed, but fails to comply with the monthly contact procedures, is this necessarily considered noncompliance?

If a case manager is able to verify an NCP’s employment through another source for the six-month tracking period, he or she can still get credit for the retention. However, we strongly suggest that case managers continue to encourage their NCPs to maintain monthly contact once they’re employed.

We are instructed to request case closure after 30 days for NCPs who have not participated in the NCP Choices program. Does this still apply if our local workforce development area’s (workforce area) judge sets compliance hearings after 30 days?

No. This guidance does not apply to a workforce area with a judge who sets compliance hearings after the 30-day period. Case managers wait until the compliance hearing to see if the judge grants the NCP continuance in the NCP Choices program, sets future compliance hearings, or sentences the NCP to jail, etc. If there are no further actions taken by the judge after the compliance hearing and the NCP is still not in compliance, you can request case closure.

If Workforce Solutions Office staff determines upon assessment that an NCP is not job ready due to what appears to be either a physical or mental disability, can the NCP be removed from the NCP Choices program?

NCPs who have been ordered into the NCP Choices program and appear to have mental or physical disabilities during assessment are not exempt from participating in the program unless the NCP provides the case manager with documentation of the physical or mental disability (e.g., doctor’s note, receipt for Social Security Insurance). If no documentation is provided, the case manager continues to serve the NCP and the case remains open. Case managers cannot request closure for these specific cases on their own determination that the NCP is unable to work.

For establishment cases, what TWIST Exit Reason do we use if none of the reasons for the NCP’s noncompliance really applies?

Case managers use Exit Reason “112–Case Dismissed by Court” as a generic reason since it can be applied to cases in which NCPs have not been incarcerated, have not relocated, etc.

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C-103: Additional Services Offered for NCP Choices Participants

Is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit still an option for NCPs?

The legislative authority for the WOTC program, which had expired on December 31, 2013, has been extended.  President Obama signed the tax extension bill (the Act) on December 19, 2014.  The current Act extends the WOTC program through December 31, 2014, and retroactively reauthorizes the program for new employees hired on or after January 1, 2014.

Employers should continue to submit WOTC applications for staff hired after December 31, 2014, within 28 calendar days of the new hire’s start date.

DOL has released two updated Individual Characteristics Forms, ETA Form 9061, with revision dates of April 2013 and July 2013.  Based on DOL guidance, TWC will only be able to accept either of the two current versions of ETA Form 9061.  All other past versions of the form are obsolete.

Should we give NCPs the Test of Adult Basic Education?

Giving NCPs the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) is not required, but Boards can TABE-test NCPs if they find it beneficial.

Can we provide child care assistance under NCP Choices?

Child care is not an allowable support service for the NCP Choices program. Customers will need to meet child care services eligibility and authorization for subsidized child care.

Can we assist NCPs with traffic tickets, surcharges, etc.?

No. We cannot pay fines, surcharges, penalties, etc., that are not related to child support.

Can we pay for eye exams under the NCP Choices program?

Eye exams are considered a medical expense and are not an NCP Choices allowable cost.

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