Ombudsperson & Complaint Resolution



What is an Ombudsperson? (om'budz pur'sen)

One that investigates reported complaints (as from customers, consumers, etc), reports findings, and helps provide a means to resolve customer issues related to child support services. Since November 2000, an Ombudsperson has been available in each California Department of Child Support Services office.

Who can the Ombudsperson assist?

The Ombudsperson can provide assistance to custodial parties, noncustodial parents, employers and the public.

Can the Ombudsperson give legal advice?

No. The Ombudsperson cannot give legal advice or be your legal representative.

Who should I call first, my caseworker or the Ombudsperson?

You are encouraged to first present your issues to your caseworker. If your issues are not resolved satisfactorily, then ask to speak with a supervisor. If you aren't satisfied, then write or ask to speak with the Ombudsperson.

I disagree with the court order. Can the Ombudsperson change it?

No. The Ombudsperson is not authorized to set aside a law, policy or administrative decision; make binding decisions or determine rights; or conduct an investigation that substitutes for administrative or judicial proceedings. You may want to contact the Family Law Facilitator or seek legal advice for help in resolving these issues.

I want to speak to someone about the service I received when I contacted the child support office. What should I do?

You can write or ask to speak with a Supervisor or the Ombudsperson. Please provide specific details regarding your complaint or compliment. The Ombudsperson is responsible for evaluating customer satisfaction and welcomes suggestions for ways to resolve concerns and improve customer service.

Complaint Resolution

Who can file a complaint?

Custodial parties or noncustodial parents can file a complaint with the Department of Child Support Services either orally or in writing.

What information is needed in order to file a complaint?

You should provide the county with your contact information, the case name and number, and the issue you want resolved. Please provide specific information about the action or inaction taken by the local child support agency or the Franchise Tax Board.

How long do I have to file a complaint?

Your request for complaint resolution must be made within 90 days from the date you knew, or should have known, about the subject of your complaint.

How long will it take to have my complaint resolved?

The local child support agency has 30 days from the date it receives your complaint to give you a written resolution of your complaint. The local child support agency will contact you if it needs more information or time to resolve your complaint.

What if I'm not satisfied with the response from the local child support agency?

If you are not satisfied with the response, a written notice will be sent to you with information on your rights to a State Hearing.

State Hearings

How long do I have to request a State Hearing?

You must request a State Hearing within 90 days after you receive the county's response to your complaint, or within 90 days after you filed your complaint and the county did not respond to you.

What information will be needed for a State Hearing?

It will be helpful if you have a statement of facts for your case; copies of any information and papers, such as statement and notices that support your case; a list of witnesses and people who will speak on your behalf at the hearing, if any.

Can the Ombudsperson represent me at the State Hearing?

The Ombudsperson can help you prepare needed documents for the hearing, but cannot be your representative at the hearing.

I disagree with the amount of child support the court ordered. Can the State Hearing change the order?

Some issues cannot be heard at a State Hearing. If your complaint is about court ordered amounts of child support, only the court can resolve these matters.

What issues are subject to a State Hearing?

  • Denial of child support services or child support services were not provided within the required timeframe.
  • Your case has been acted upon and you believe the county acted illegally.
  • Incorrect or missing support payments or you disagree with the past due amount.
  • Decisions to close a case.

What issues cannot be heard at a State Hearing?

  • Court ordered amounts of child support
  • Parentage
  • Child custody or visitation
  • Spousal support
  • Contempt matters
  • Civil rights issues

To request a State Hearing you must complete the local complaint resolution process before you can request a State Hearing.  If, after the county process has been completed and you do not feel satisfied with the response you were given, you may contact:

Department of Child Support Services
Office of Legal Services
State Hearings
P.O. Box 419087 
Rancho Cordova, CA   95741-9087

Or call the State Hearing Office at:
1-866-289-4714 (toll free)

Or fax the State Hearing Office at:
(916) 464-5069

Or email the State Hearing Office at: