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California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) Privacy Policy

The California Department of Child Support (DCSS) is committed to promoting and protecting the privacy rights of individuals, as enumerated in Article 1 of the California Constitution, the Information Practices Act of 1977, the Social Security Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA), 42 United States Code (USC 654(26), 42 USC 654a(d)(1)-(5), and 45 CFR 303.21.

DCSS limits the collection and safeguards the privacy of personal information it maintains. DCSS information management practices conform to the requirements of the Information Practices Act (Civil Code Section 1798 et seq.), the Public Records Act (Government Code Section 6250 et seq.), Government Code Sections 11015.5 and 11019.9, California Family Code Section 17212, and other applicable laws pertaining to information privacy. This policy only applies to DCSS.

"Personal information" as defined in the Information Practices Act of 1977, is information that identifies or describes an individual, including, but not limited to, his or her name, social security number, physical description, home address, home telephone number, education, financial matters, and medical or employment history that is readily identifiable to that specific individual. A domain name or Internet Protocol address is not considered personal information; however, it is considered "electronically collected personal information."

According to Government Code Section 11015.5, "electronically collected personal information" means any information that is maintained by an agency that identifies or describes an individual user, including, but not limited to, personal information as described above; information that reveals any network location or identity, but excludes any information manually submitted to a state agency by a user electronically or in written form; and information on or relating to individuals who are users, serving in a business capacity, including, but not limited to, business owners, officers, or principals of that business.

"Electronically collected personal information" is information that is automatically collected, such as your domain name or Internet Protocol address and statistical information about which Web pages you visit. More detail will be collected if you voluntarily provide information using a form available on any of our webpages, complete a request for assistance, send an e-mail, or participate in a survey. If you choose not to participate in these activities, your choice will in no way affect your ability to use any other feature of the Web site.

If any type of personal information is requested on the website or volunteered by the user, it will be governed by state laws, including the Information Practices Act of 1977, Government Code Section 11015.5, California Public Records Act, California Family Code Section 17212, and the federal Privacy Act of 1974. This information becomes a public record once provided, and may be subject to public inspection and copying if not otherwise protected by federal or State law. However, any information provided while filling out an application or form for child support services (online or on paper) is confidential and will not be disclosed without a court ordered subpoena.

DCSS adheres to the following principles in connection with the collection and management of personal information:

  1. DCSS collects personal information on individuals only as allowed by law and limits the collection of personal information to what is relevant and necessary to accomplish the lawful purpose. For example, DCSS may need to know an individual's home address, e-mail address, or telephone number in order to answer the individual's questions or to provide requested assistance.
  2. DCSS does not collect private or business e-mail addresses, or any type of account information from persons who simply browse DCSS's Internet website. DCSS only collects personal information an individual voluntarily provides through the DCSS website (e.g. sending an e-mail, completing registration forms, or responding to a directed request). The information that DCSS automatically collects is general information when users visit the website includes, but may not be limited to, the client internet protocol address, date and time when the website is visited, website pages displayed, and forms that are uploaded. DCSS uses encrypted and unencrypted session cookies (text files stored temporarily on a visitor's computer by a web browser) to enable easy movement through the site. The information collected in this manner is not personal information and site visitors may request to have their information discarded without reuse or distribution by submitting an on-line feedback form at www.childsup.ca.gov/Home/On-lineFeedbackForm.aspx. This information is not subject to requests made pursuant to the Public Records Act.
  3. DCSS uses Google Analytics to help improve the website and understand how visitors interact with it. DCSS allows Google to use only anonymous data of the type described above. You may read the privacy policy for Google Analytics and can choose to prevent your data from being collected by Google Analytics by downloading the opt-out browser add-on.
  4. DCSS endeavors to tell customers the purpose of personal information collected. With each request for personal information, DCSS provides information about the authority under which the request is made, the intended principal uses of the information, and the possible disclosure DCSS is obligated to make to other government agencies and to the public. This is done at the time of collection.
  5. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations or as required by law, DCSS does not share your e-mail with any other organization. DCSS may respond to your e-mail to address issues you identify, to further improve our website, or to forward it to another state agency for authorized action.
  6. Submission of an email to DCSS and/or communication through the website does not create any attorney-client or other privileged or confidential relationship. Accordingly, do not disclose any information that you wish to remain private or confidential.
  7. Individuals who provide personal information to DCSS are allowed to review the information for accuracy and completeness. To request a review of your personal information, visit the Contact DCSS page at www.childsup.ca.gov/home/dcsscontactinformation.aspx.
  8. The Public Records Act exists to ensure that California government is open and that the public has the right to have access to appropriate records and information possessed by many state and local government agencies. In the event of a conflict between this policy and the Public Records Act, the Information Practices Act, or any other law governing the disclosure of records, the most applicable law will prevail.
  9. Cookies created on your computer when using DCSS’s website do not contain personal information and do not compromise your privacy or security. We use the cookie feature only to store a randomly generated identifying temporary tag on your computer. You can refuse the cookie or delete the cookie file from your computer by using any of the widely available methods in your browser. However, if you turn your cookie option off, you may not be able to access some of the features in our interactive applications.
  10. Personal information is collected directly from individuals who volunteer to use some of our services. Collection of this information is required to deliver the specific services, but use of these services is voluntary.

If you only browse or download information, we automatically collect and store the following information about your visit:

  1. Your Internet Protocol Address and domain name used. The Internet Protocol Address is a numerical identifier assigned either to your Internet service provider or directly to your computer. We use the Internet Protocol Address to direct Internet traffic to you and generate statistics used in the management of this site.
  2. The type of browser and operating system you used.
  3. The date and time you visited the DCSS website.
    1. The services you accessed.
  4. The website you visited prior to the DCSS website.
  5. The website you visit after the DCSS website.
  6. The name of any form downloaded from the DCSS website.

The information automatically collected or stored is used to improve the content of the DCSS website and to help DCSS understand how services are used. This information does not identify you personally and is used for gathering website statistics. The information automatically collected and stored about your visit helps the analysis of the DCSS website and enables continuous improvement and value to the materials available.

Government Code Section 11015.5 prohibits all state agencies from distributing or selling any electronically collected personal information about users to any third party without the permission of the user. DCSS does not sell any "electronically collected personal information.” Any distribution of electronically collected personal information will be solely for the purposes for which it was provided.

DCSS may provide or distribute certain lists and statistical reports of regulatory information as required by law, but no personal information is sold or distributed, and all relevant legal protections still apply to the state's websites. DCSS will provide additional explanations of this privacy policy, if requested. For further questions about this policy, individuals are encouraged to contact DCSS by e-mail at Info.Security@DCSS.CA.GOV, or by mail at:

California Department of Child Support Services
P. O. Box 419064
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9064
ATTN: Chief Information Security and Privacy Officer