Ken Paxton

Family Initiatives

The Family Initiatives (FI) section of the Child Support Division acts as a catalyst for family-centered child support. FI leads special projects and ongoing programs that enhance the Child Support Division's ability to respond compassionately and effectively to the changing needs of families and children in Texas. Family Initiatives works in collaboration with community and faith-based organizations, courts, schools, legal aid providers, and other public agencies. These programs lead the nation in efforts to promote responsible fatherhood, conduct parenting and paternity education, increase noncustodial parent access to children, and provide services that encourage stable family formation.

Family Initiatives activities focus on two areas:

  • Prevention, Early Intervention, and Outreach (PEIO) – Initiatives in this focus area promote healthy family formation, encourage responsible parenthood, and increase safety during the child support life cycle.
  • Father and Noncustodial Parent Involvement – Initiatives in this area include projects and outreach activities that strengthen fathers and noncustodial parents’ financial and emotional contributions, encourage cooperative parenting relationships, and encourage active participation in the child support process.

Prevention, Early Intervention, and Outreach (PEIO)

Parenting and Paternity Awareness (p.a.p.a.)

p.a.p.a. is an evidence-based, educational curriculum designed for secondary school students and young adults that teaches the rights, responsibilities, and realities of parenting and stresses the benefits of sequencing parenthood after a person has completed his/her education, started a career, and is in a stable, committed relationship. Key themes in the curriculum focus on the importance of responsible fatherhood, the value of paternity establishment, the legal realities of child support, the financial and emotional challenges of single parenting, the benefits of both parents being involved in a child's life, healthy relationship skills, and relationship violence prevention.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) provides the 10-session curriculum and training at no charge to teachers, school counselors, school nurses, teen parent program staff, and parent educators in community-based programs. The p.a.p.a. curriculum is the method by which school districts comply with state law passed by the 80th Legislature requiring high school health to include a parenting and paternity awareness curriculum.

The OAG coordinates with The Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Regional Education Service Centers to train teachers, nurses and counselors. Community-based organizations and larger school districts who wish to schedule training directly with the OAG can complete this form and e-mail it to

Family Violence Education and Outreach

Providing child support services safely is critical to the operation of the Child Support Division (CSD). The Family Violence Education and Outreach project has implemented recommendations made by CSD's domestic violence workgroup to ensure that child support policies address the safety needs of domestic violence victims and staff. The workgroup's recommendations are based on best and promising practices as identified by domestic violence experts from across the state.

The Family Violence Education and Outreach project includes:

  • developing and distributing public education materials designed to promote safe access to child support services for survivors of family violence,
  • reviewing and revising existing child support staff training on family violence,
  • developing and implementing advanced family violence training for child support field staff, and
  • developing training resources to assist family violence program staff in guiding survivors through the child support system safely.

Texas Start SMART

Texas is one of eight states competitively selected to participate in the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services, a five-year, rigorously evaluated demonstration project using behavioral economics principles aimed at improving operations that will increase child support payments.

The field of behavioral economics studies and applies solutions to the actual – not just expected – behavior of individuals and uses small tweaks to communications tools, interactions with staff, automated processes and other aspects of program operations in order to improve outcomes for people and organizations.

Start Smart has three goals:

  • Identify customer preferences for payment options to facilitate immediate compliance with child support orders; then
  • Design and implement customer-preferred processes for payments to enable noncustodial parents to make immediate payments upon order establishment; resulting in
  • Increased collections on current support and reduction of child support arrears – ultimately removing the behavioral bottlenecks that cost families $40 million a year.

Child Support and Justice-Involved Parents

Family Initiatives serves as the subject matter expert and first point of contact for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) staff, providing child support system education directly to and improving interagency relations with FBOP, TDCJ, parole and probation and re-entry professionals. CSD provides a handbook entitled Child Support: Information for Incarcerated Parents and Parents Returning to the Community, which explains basic information about paternity and child support for justice-involved parents. The handbook includes an inquiry form for incarcerated parents to request information about paternity establishment and the status of the OAG child support case. Parents also may use the form to request a review of their child support obligation to see if they qualify for an adjustment to their monthly obligation.

Father and Noncustodial Parent Involvement

Noncustodial Parent (NCP) Choices

NCP Choices provides enhanced child support case compliance monitoring and employment services for noncustodial parents who are unemployed or underemployed and owe child support. Participation in the program is mandatory as ordered by IV-D Associate Judges in the 21 sites currently funded by the Texas Workforce Commission and the OAG. NCPs ordered into NCP Choices have, on average, made no payments in the eight months prior to program entry and pay an average of $169 per month in the first year after program entry. Evaluation results show this as an overall 51 percent increase in child support payments for NCPs participating in this program as compared to a control group of similar NCPs in the OAG caseload.

View a short video to find out why NCP Choices is one of the largest and most successful NCP child support/employment programs in the nation and hear from actual program participants.

Read through the program participant pamphlet to learn more about NCP Choices services, requirements, and success stories.

HEROES: Help Establishing Responsive Orders and Ensuring Support for Children in Military Families

The goal of HEROES is to:

  • Offer service members, veterans and their dependents enhanced, personalized assistance in addressing paternity establishment, child support and parenting time (custody/visitation) matters;
  • Provide appropriate relief in Texas child support cases where military service/combat related injuries have contributed to non-compliance with court orders; and
  • Promote positive co-parenting solutions for service members and families.

To accomplish these goals, the HEROES team works closely with the Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG), Family Readiness Group staff, the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN), the Texas Veterans Leadership Program (TVLP), Texas Yellow Ribbon, and child support and legal services programs across the United States and internationally.

During the HEROES grant evaluation period July 2010 through August 2013:

  • more than 3,907 service members and veterans with specialized, expedited case review, assessment and legal action
  • more than 345 Ft. Hood service members or dependents with individual appointments to discuss paternity, child support and parenting time issues
  • 87 paternity, child support and parenting time legal clinics to more than 940 parents at Ft. Hood, Ft. Bliss and Joint Base San Antonio
  • Presentations and legal briefings at multiple veterans legal clinics National Guard Yellow Ribbon events and with veteran service organizations
  • Interstate child support and custody training for JAG attorneys and legal assistance staff at Ft. Hood, Ft. Bliss and Joint Base San Antonio
  • All Texas Child Support Division attorneys with training conducted by VISN on recognizing and responding to post-traumatic stress disorder

HEROES services are overseen by CSD’s Field Operations. For appointments, legal clinic schedule or to ask general questions, email HEROES or call (512) 460-6400.

Are you about to deploy or are you returning from deployment? Check out the Military Parents: Paternity, Child Support, Custody & Parenting Time brochure for HEROES pre- and post-deployment checklists and to review frequently asked military parent questions.

HEROES project coordination is based in Austin with HEROES assistant attorneys general serving the San Antonio and Temple/Killeen areas. HEROES assistant attorneys general represent the State of Texas. They cannot and do not represent child support customers. If you are a service member and need an attorney to represent you, contact a private attorney or Legal Assistance through the JAG.

Shared Parenting

Federal Access and Visitation Program

Although federal regulations do not allow the Office of the Attorney General to use child support funding for legal services about custody or visitation disputes, the OAG does receive limited special funding to provide  shared parenting services through local organizations.

The OAG administers the federal Access and Visitation grant program by awarding funds to community-based organizations. The services provided under these contracts include early intervention, co-parenting education, mediation, and enforcement.

The  Shared Parenting Program also provides funding for public education materials promoting cooperative parenting after divorce or separation. These materials are distributed through local courts, county domestic relations offices, OAG child support offices, and community/faith-based social service organizations. Parents establishing child support orders or seeking Access and Visitation services receive a My Sticker Calendar: A Kid's Guide to Shared Family Time. This award-winning calendar is a tool for parents and children to use to track and plan time the child spends in each parent's home. The calendar features artwork by children across the state. Download the 2018 My Sticker Calendar  to plan and track time with your child. Order your copy today.

The OAG maintains an online A & V directory of programs and service providers across Texas designed to facilitate shared parenting after separation or divorce. Parents, counselors, and other professionals can search the online directory by zip code, county, or service provided.

Access and Visitation Hotline and Website

The Texas Access and Visitation Hotline is the only service of its kind in the nation that provides noncustodial and custodial parents with free phone access parenting time specialists who provide legal information related to child custody and visitation issues, as well as paternity and child support information.

The toll-free number 1-866-292-4636 is answered in English and Spanish, Monday - Friday, 12-6 p.m. The hotline has a corresponding website,, where parents can download sample materials and tools for assistance with child access issues. Additional brief legal coaching or self-help assistance may be available to eligible Hotline callers.