Project Description

Strengthening the Vision to Support Communities

Department of Child Support Services – Sacramento County

Since it’s partnership with The Pacific Institute®, Department of Child Support Services – Sacramento County has generated impressive results:

Increase in Paternity Establishment
Decrease in Complaints Received by State DCSS

“The biggest thing for me was just how powerful our mind is in determining where we go, what we do, and how we do things. That was eye-opening. It’s like something that you know in the back of your head but when you really listen, and you go through it and you start to do some of the exercises and you think about how you’ve been formed with your experience, habits and knowledge. It was powerful to think about how much control we actually give away by our thinking, how we think and how it limits us.” – Terrie Porter, Director of Child Support Services, Sacramento, CA.


The Child Support Services program was initially set up in 1975 to reduce welfare expenses, through the collection of child support from non-custodial parents. The federal program is part of the Social Security Act, and falls under Title IV-D. Title IV requires each state to provide aid and services to families and children in need, and each state is required to run its own local child support enforcement program, with the help of grant money provided by the federal government. Part D of the Social Security Act covers child support and the establishment of paternity.

In the state of California, the Department of Child Support Services works with parents (custodial and non-custodial) and guardians to ensure children and families receive court-ordered financial and medical support. The network of California Support Service locations spans 51 counties, with regional support agencies, serving approximately 1.4 million children and families. These services include locating a parent; establishing paternity; establishing, modifying and enforcing a court order for child support; and establishing, modifying and enforcing an order for health coverage.

As the fourth largest program in California, Sacramento County Child Support Services program has an average of 76,000 open cases, and works with around 140,000 parents. The department, which consists of 302 employees and 13 Senior Leaders, is led by Director of Child Support Services, Terrie Porter. Porter joined the department over 11 years ago, after holding several leadership roles within Child Support Services in Kern County, CA.

Read the full case study here