The Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) is a national computer matching system operated by the Federal Office of Child Support Services (OCSS). The Child Support Services Division (CSSD) uses the FPLS to locate parents, when their whereabouts become unknown during parentage or child support service efforts.  The FLPS also can identify child support cases in other states that involve the same family/case members.

    Frequently Asked Questions -- Federal Parent Locator Service

    How is the FPLS structured?

    The FPLS contains two databases:

    1. Federal Case Registry (FCR): Created in 1998, the FCR is a national database that has information about people involved in child support cases and with child support orders.
    2. National Directory of New Hires (NDNH): Created in 1997, this is a central database that stores information regarding employment, unemployment benefits, and wage data for individuals.

    The FPLS also can access information from outside locate sources, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

      How does the FPLS help CSSD to locate parents?

      The FPLS works specifically to help CSSD and child support programs in other states.

      The FPLS performs automatic data matches between the FCR and the NDNH to determine the most up-to-date employment information for a parent involved in a case, including quarterly wage information. 

      The FPLS then transmits the data to each state in which the parent has a case. Once CSSD receives data from the FPLS regarding a parent, CSSD is able to take appropriate action to establish, modify, or enforce a child support order.  

      The FPLS also does an automatic search to determine all states that have a common interest in the same individual for child support purposes.

      CSSD can ask the FPLS to search databases of other federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), to assist in locating parents ordered to pay support and any assets they have in order to establish, modify, or enforce a child support order.

        Can parents request information from the FPLS?

        No, parents involved in child support cases cannot make direct requests to the FPLS for information.  Any requests to the FPLS must come from an authorized CSSD staff member and be transmitted through CSSD’s Parent Locator Service.

          What kinds of data about a parent is stored in the FPLS?

          • Full name
          • Employer’s name and  address
          • Date of birth
          • Social security number
          • Home address
          • Salary/wage amount

          Under Federal and District law, all employers are required to provide information to CSSD and the FPLS upon request for the purpose of locating parents to establish, enforce, or modify child support orders.

          In the District of Columbia, employers must supply data to CSSD regarding all new or rehired employees within 20 days of the date the employee is hired. The information may include:

          • Employee’s name
          • Employee's address
          • Employee’s social security number
          • Employee’s date of birth
          • Employee’s hire date
          • Employee’s salary or wages amount
          • Employer’s name and address
          • Employer’s identification number from the IRS

          How is the information collected for child support purposes safeguarded ?

          Federal law requires all states to protect the confidential information maintained by state child support agencies, including CSSD.  The Federal OCSE has developed safeguards for the FPLS that meet the following requirements:

          • Ensure the security, accuracy, and completeness of information.
          • Restrict access to confidential information to authorized persons for authorized purposes.
          • Require states to implement policies and procedures to ensure the integrity, accuracy, and completeness of data in their automated systems and to prevent unauthorized use and disclosure of the data.