Ombudsman/Complaint Resolution

Ombudsperson Program

An Ombudsperson is available to assist parents, employers and the community. An Ombudsperson will provide information about the child support program, resolve issues and answer questions.

The Ombudsperson Program also helps parties through the Complaint Resolution process and State Hearing, and helps arrange for special accommodations and interpreters needed at State Hearings. The Ombudsperson Program evaluates customer satisfaction and suggests ways to resolve concerns and improve customer service. Our Ombudsperson will work to resolve complaints about:

  • Customer service
  • Decisions to close a child support case
  • Explain the complaint resolution process before, during, and after a complaint is filed
  • Explain your rights and responsibilities
  • Help you get child support services
  • Help you request and prepare for a state hearing if you are not satisfied with the results of the complaint resolution process
  • Payment and billing issues
  • Timeliness of service

The Complaint Resolution Program

If you're not satisfied with the assistance you're receiving from the local child support agency (LCSA), you have the right to file a complaint through the Complaint Resolution Program.

The party who has/had custody, or the parent who does not have custody, may file a complaint if there is a case open with the Department of Child Support Services.

Complaint issues that CAN be resolved through the program include:

  • Decision to open or close a case
  • Failure to establish a court order for child support
  • Collection and distribution of payments
  • Calculation of past-due payments
  • Efforts to modify the child support amount
  • Timeliness of service
  • Enforcement efforts

Complaint issues that CANNOT be resolved through the program include:

  • Court-ordered amount of child support or past-due payments
  • Custody or visitation
  • Spousal support
  • Determination of parental relationship
  • Complaints about court services - contact the Family Law Facilitator at the courthouse, an advocate, or a lawyer for help
  • Civil rights violations
  • Services, if the complainant does not have an open child support case

How Do I File A Complaint?

State your complaint by phone or in person, or click on the link to get a "Request for Complaint Resolution" form. Submit the form to the LCSA by mail or in person.

You must file your complaint with the LCSA within 90 days of the date you knew, or should have known, about the subject of your complaint.

What Will Be Done About My Complaint?

Someone other than the caseworker involved with your complaint will investigate and try to resolve your complaint, and will tell the LCSA what must be done to remedy the problem.

The LCSA is required to provide a resolution in writing to every complaint within 30 days. If necessary, the LCSA can extend the complaint resolution period a maximum of 30 additional days. If the complaint resolution period is extended, the LCSA is required to mail you a notice stating the reason.

The LCSA will send you a written Notice of Complaint Resolution which will include information about the investigation findings, and any steps taken to resolve your complaint. You will also receive information about your right to a state hearing in case you are not satisfied with the response to your complaint.

The State Hearing Program

If you are not satisfied with the LCSA's response to your complaint, you have the right to have your complaint issues heard at a state hearing.

The following disputes CANNOT be heard at a state hearing:

  • Issues that must be addressed in court
  • Court-ordered child support amounts
  • Parental relationship/paternity
  • Child custody or visitation
  • Contempt proceedings
  • Civil rights violations
  • Discourteous treatment by an LCSA employee

How Do I Request A State Hearing?

Request a form by:

  • Contacting your LCSA at 1 (866) 901-3212
  • Click on the link to get a "Request for State Hearing" form
  • Contacting the State Hearing Office at 1 (866) 289-4714
  • Write to:

    Department of Child Support Services,
    Office of Legal Services, State Hearing
    P.O. Box 419087
    Rancho Cordova, CA 95741

  • Email a request to StateHearings@dcss.ca.gov

How Should I Prepare For A State Hearing?

The following information will help you present your case:

  • Write a statement of the facts of your case.
  • Bring copies of any information, such as statements and notices, that support your case.
  • Prepare a list of witnesses and people who might be willing to speak on your behalf at the hearing.

The hearing will be held within 45 days after the State Hearing Office receives your request. You will be notified of the date, time, and place of the hearing. If you are unable to attend, ask for a new hearing date or for the hearing to be held by telephone.

Translation services and reasonable disability assistance are available free of charge if needed.

If you need the assistance of the Ombudsperson, call 1 (866) 901-3212 and ask to speak with them.