Open A Case

Are you receiving CalWORKS? If Yes...

If your child is currently receiving CalWORKS (cash) benefits you do not need to complete an application form; we will automatically open a case for you because the public social services agency must send us a referral. If your child is not receiving CalWORKS because you have exceeded the maximum family grant (you have other children who are receiving CalWORKS), we will also automatically open a case for you.

Are you receiving CalWORKS? If No...

If your child is not receiving public assistance ("CalWORKS"), and you are the parent or legal guardian of the child, you may apply for services by completing an application, which is available in the following ways:

  • You may apply online for free through the DCSS online at website via VIOLA. There is no fee to apply online.
  • You may request an application by telephone by contacting our Customer Contact Center at (866) 901-3212. Please follow the instructions provided by the interactive voice response system. You will be connected to a voice mailbox where you can leave a message. Include your name and address and we will mail you an application. The best time to call to speak with a child support representative is Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
  • You may also request an application in person at our local office or mail completed applications to:

San Joaquin County
Department of Child Support Services
826 N California St
Stockton, CA 95202

Stockton CA 95201

Important: If you complete a paper application (i.e., not online) you must be sure to sign the application.

Cost of Services

If your child is receiving CalWORKS benefits in San Joaquin County, we are required by law to open a case. You do not need to apply for child support services and there is no cost to you.

If your child is not currently receiving aid, you may open a case with our office by submitting an application for services. Although there is no cost to apply for child support services, there may be a minimal annual cost if we are successful in collecting support for you.

Beginning October 1, 2011, if your child has never received aid, California charges an annual service fee of $25 once we have sent you payments totaling $500 or more in the previous federal fiscal year (October 1 - September 30). This fee is based on federal law and state policy. The fee will automatically be deducted from your next payment(s) until the full $25 is paid. If you have more than one case open with our office or any other local child support agency, the payments and fees will be calculated separately for each case. The California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) began sending one-time notices to existing case participants in May 2011. DCSS will send a notification letter on October 1 of each year to custodial parties who have qualifying cases and are being charged the annual service fee.

Important Information Needed When Opening a Case

If you have an existing child support order, please provide:

  • A copy of all judgments and orders
  • A completed Declaration of Support Payment History together with any records you have of payments made or payments missed

If you are not the parent of the child, please provide:

  • A copy of the court order that gives you legal custody or guardianship of the child.

Please keep in mind that you should provide the most complete, reliable and accurate information possible. This should make it easier and faster to obtain and enforce a child support order.

Locate a Parent

To obtain or enforce an order, we must know where the noncustodial parent (NCP) lives and works. The custodial party (CP) can help locate the noncustodial parent (NCP) by providing the Child Support Services Department with as much information as possible. This will speed up the child support process.

We use key information provided by the custodial party (CP), such as the noncustodial parent's (NCP) full name, social security number, and date of birth, to search databases maintained by the following agencies: Department of Motor Vehicles, Employment Development Department, Franchise Tax Board, California and Federal Parent Locator Services, social services agencies, credit reporting agencies, and law enforcement agencies.