Inside this Issue
A Different Perspective: Rhode Island’s Former IV-D Director, Sharon Santilli, Esq., Chronicles Journey from Public Arena to Private Sector ● Teaching & Learning: Notable Anecdotes from Key 2022 Child Support Events ● Lump Sum Payment Module Closes in on $1 Million Mark: Collections ● CSLN Profiles: With Growth Comes Talent ● Insurance Collections: Summer Highlights
A Different Perspective: Rhode Island’s Former IV-D Director, Sharon Santilli, Esq., Chronicles Journey from Public Arena to Private Sector
Above: Sharon A. Santilli, Esq., former Associate Director, Rhode Island Office of Child Support Services, and current Executive Consultant, Stellarware Corporation
As many of you may know, I retired from my position as Rhode Island’s IV-D Director in June of 2021, after serving 32 years in various roles within the Department of Human Services, Office of Child Support Services (OCSS). When I decided to attend law school, I never envisioned myself working for the state child support program, let alone for three decades! But many people have expressed a sentiment, with which I wholeheartedly agree, that new employees either immediately love or hate the child support program. If you love the mission and goals of the child support program, it becomes your life-long career and passion and it is extremely difficult to leave it all behind. In my case, retirement lasted 10 months! The transition from the public sector as IV-D Director, to the private sector as Executive Consultant for Stellarware, is not without its challenges but was a pretty logical next phase for me.

As background, my child support career started in March of 1988 as Rhode Island legal counsel, for what was then called the Bureau of Family Support, actually a name a bit ahead of its time! But the focus was very much enforcement oriented and almost exclusively judicial in nature. Unfortunately, there was very little administrative enforcement and accordingly, contempt hearings were the focus of my court day. In 1990, I was promoted to Deputy Chief Legal Counsel and assigned to work with the team to program the legal portion of the State’s “new” child support case management system called “InRhodes.” I began my initial transition from attorney to administrator. I became involved with working with private contractors and system programming and was excited about how that could transform and streamline the child support program. I had the opportunity to revise and automate uniform legal pleadings and develop an integrated court/child support system. The pleadings included the summons generated, cases assigned, and court calendars, all created by the child support agency. For many years, the Court used the calendars generated by the child support system. In addition, the Court’s directives or orders are entered into the system with the ability to simultaneously generate a court order for court filing and litigant mailing. This was all very advanced.

In 1997, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) revolutionized child support, providing the IV-D agencies with the tools needed to administratively automate enforcement, provisions to streamline Voluntary Acknowledgments, and the encouragement to support Fatherhood Initiatives (sans funding). In 1998, I was promoted to Chief Legal Counsel. There were many PRWORA state laws that had to be drafted, programmed, and implemented in this role. My team and I also began my quest to recognize and offer services to the fathers in our caseload, specifically providing referrals for job training and placement. Accordingly, we began collaborating with agencies in the community to access services for non-custodial parents (NCPs). The first Fatherhood State Coalition and Community networks were formed. I served as Chair of both, which was shocking to many people. The philosophy of the program began to change with PRWORA and the inclusion of fatherhood initiatives. Of course, the program today is primarily family-centered and focused but that was a novel approach in 1998. It was also around this time that Rhode Island passed a unique insurance intercept reporting law that later resulted in the development and evolution and became known as the Child Support Lien Network or CSLN.

As Chief Legal Counsel, I was fortunate to be in on the ground floor of developing CSLN along with the President of Stellarware, George French, and my predecessor, Jack Murphy. We began reaching out and collaborating with the insurance industry regarding the best way to develop and implement this new law in Rhode Island. We invited the insurance industry to the table and listened to their ideas. We focused on how we could reduce the reporting burden for the insurance industry staff through automation and data matching and help them comply with this law. We began with a solution based on the Rhode Island mandatory reporting law that included an interactive lookup function for the insurance industry. As a result of two federal grants, we were able to expand the services to all New England states. Eventually, the CSLN solution was offered to all states through the State of Rhode Island as the host state. Although I certainly cannot take the credit for the original idea (that would be George French) or the advancement of CSLN from an interactive lookup to a data matching solution (also George French), I would like to think I played a small part in the expansion of CSLN which is now comprised of 30 state members and approximately 2,000 insurance companies. It is the largest and most successful state child support consortium nationally and is responsible for the collection of over $2.2 billion in child support since its inception. It is one of my proudest accomplishments as IV-D Director.
Above (Left to Right): Ad promoting Rhode Island's 15th Annual Child Support Conference, sample Rhode Island KIDS Card, and Rhode Island Parentage Act information sheet
In addition, as IV-D Director, Rhode Island was the only state to enter into a State Disbursement Unit partnership agreement with its neighbor, Connecticut. That partnership lasted over 10 years and was highly cost-effective as both states shared the cost of one vendor, one facility, equipment, and staff to process all Rhode Island and Connecticut child support payments daily. Also, during this time, Rhode Island implemented the KIDS Card (child support debit card); launched its first website; hosted an annual child support state conference; founded the Child Support Advisory Committee; presented an annual community training; automated almost all administrative enforcement; integrated with the Court’s eFile system; and automated the court process during COVID-19 enabling the electronic retrieval of all case files and calendars. In addition to the passage of many other pieces of legislation, my team helped pass the Uniform Parentage Act and then amended all vital records forms and conducted the training of all hospital personnel and vital records staff, private attorneys, and child support staff, in order to implement this comprehensive law.

During my tenure, I served on the board and in various offices, and finally as President of the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA) from 2007-2008. I also served as President of the National Council of Child Support Directors (NCCSD) from 2014-2015, hosting the annual conference in Newport, RI, in May of 2015. Serving as President for both of these organizations that I love was honestly, the highlight of my career.

Interesting to note, when I began attending NCSEA conferences and volunteering on committees in the mid-90s, vendors were not viewed in the same manner as they are today. The climate certainly has changed. Back then, state staff would not attend vendor-hosted conference functions, participate in a demo (even if they did not have an RFP pending), or even sit with, or have lunch with vendors at conferences due, in part, to state ethical considerations. Information was not readily available or easily shared. Having too many members from the private sector on any board was frowned upon. It is actually amazing that agency IV-D directors knew what was available to improve their programs considering this lack of information sharing or transparency! Indeed, some of the vendors did not socialize with one another because the competition was so fierce at times. Those new to the program may not even know about this bit of history and may even be shocked considering the current, very collegial environment among all members of the child support community, from both private and public sectors.

Today, IV-D Directors and child support staff consider the vendors with whom they contract, indispensable to the work they do and very much a part of their state team. In Rhode Island, for example, we had standing monthly meetings alongside weekly status updates with our various vendor staff as we went through the implementation of any given project. The work simply would not get done without the resources, software, and expertise that the vendor staff brings to the table. Very close-knit relationships and friendships develop between the state and vendor staff as you rely and depend upon each other to work together to solve an issue or work toward a common goal. More often than not, vendors can quickly and easily accomplish software changes or other programming changes for a project, something state staff do not have the expertise or resources to accomplish themselves. The attitudes and the climate certainly have changed, in my opinion, due in large part to the fact that: 1) Many IV-D Directors have in fact retired or have otherwise been replaced through political appointments and invariably, joined the ranks of the private sector, 2) Joint state/vendor conference presentations are quite commonplace and highly valued, and 3) Vendor-led spotlights and webcasts, as well as other informational resources for vendor solutions, such as sponsor booklets, are commonplace and frequently and clearly demonstrate the options available to states to benefit their programs.

I always considered the work that Stellarware did for Rhode Island as being indispensable to the program and enjoyed a close, long-term relationship with George and his staff. Stellarware has been and continues to be the vendor and operational arm of Rhode Island‘s New Hire Reporting project and of course, CSLN, along with its optional, value-added services for lump sum payments, bank matching, and real estate. It was therefore not coincidental then that my journey would lead me to Stellarware upon my retirement. Rhode Island has been the host state for CSLN since 1998 and as Rhode Island’s IV-D Director, I served as the CSLN Program Administrator, overseeing the state agreements, invoices and payments, addressing issues that may arise, and of course, managing the CSLN project as a whole on behalf of Rhode Island. Training of Rhode Island staff was periodically conducted by Ann Murray, CSLN Project Manager, and staff, supported by ongoing meetings. So, I have worked with the Stellarware team with George French at the helm, for many years. George offered me the opportunity to continue with my child support work in a more limited capacity and also embark on something brand new with the rollout of the Medicaid Recovery Network (MRN) which is mirrored after CSLN. When I started part-time in May, I immediately felt quite comfortable with the staff and was obviously already well versed in all things CSLN, lump sum, and New Hire. Of course, the Medicaid issues are challenging for me but different and interesting. I am certainly embarking on the MRN project with a whole different perspective.

Although the subject matter is the same, the role of State IV-D Director and Stellarware Executive Consultant is quite different. As IV-D Director, I was solely responsible for the operations of the agency and overall compliance with federal and state requirements. But I had the freedom, within federal and state boundaries, of course, to plan strategically and determine the course of the program. I usually came back from conferences with a million ideas/solutions that I wanted to implement. I now pay attention to issues with which states are confronted and try to determine how Stellarware may be helpful in resolving those issues.

As a consultant, my focus has expanded and my opportunity to work with and assist others is exciting. I am given specific assignments and provide my opinion and expertise, sometimes legal, for others to consider and decide upon. However, to no longer be responsible for the final decision and results is often a relief! I am learning what is appropriate to share with the community at large, which I often did, and in fact what was encouraged to do, as Director, and what is proprietary or a trade secret and held closely. I have to remind myself not to be too over-excited or zealous if I genuinely believe a project may be beneficial to a particular state. As IV-D Director and host state for CSLN, it was entirely appropriate to share my excitement for a state’s participation. But as a consultant, my over-excitement may be viewed as a sales pitch. So, I am still learning! Hopefully, my 32 years of experience in the program enables me to bring the state perspective to focus and provide value to Stellarware and the team. I hope to continue to educate the Stellarware staff about the overall child support program through my monthly articles, during staff meetings, and in future trainings. I think it is important for Stellarware staff to understand the child support program in its totality, the mission and goals, and the valuable role they play in the process of collecting child support for children.

As a final note, I was a little concerned about how I might be viewed by my child support colleagues as I attended the NCCSD conference in Boston in July as my first conference attending as a member of the private sector and not as a IV-D Director. I am relieved and quite pleased with the collegial climate and the reception I have received. I forgot that above all, we all care about helping children and families in whatever way our role presents. I have been welcomed back to the fold with open arms!
Teaching & Learning: Notable Anecdotes from Key 2022 Child Support Events
The Child Support Lien Network (CSLN) team has had a busy conference season, attending multiple state, regional, and national events throughout the year with the key objective to share and gain child support insights and best practices. Within are some highlights from the various events attended that we wanted to share with our readers. Namely, the Child Support Directors Association of California Annual Training Conference & Expo (CSDA 2022), the Eastern Regional Interstate Child Support Association’s 59th Annual Training Conference & Exposition (ERICSA 2022), and the National Child Support Enforcement Association’s Annual Leadership Symposium (NCSEA Leadership Symposium 2022). 
CSDA 2022, which took place May 2-5 in Garden Grove, CA, marked CSLN’s first stop on the 2022 conference scene. In addition to attending workshops, CSLN presented information about the program's effectiveness in securing much-needed support for families. Understanding that collection processes are at the core of any agency’s performance, and how vital their efficiencies are, CSLN’s session, Innovation and Passion for the “Next Normal” Through the Child Support Lien Network (CSLN), was developed for California’s child support professionals to learn more about the innovative and cost-effective processes already available to them as a CSLN member. Session content provided attendees with the tools and know-how to leverage important core CSLN functionalities, such as:

  • Accessing validated insurance matches with confirmed contact information
  • Viewing previously generated documentation, such as IWOs
  • Performing advanced searches with the ability to sort and filter matches by county

CSLN also provided insights into the various types of insurance claims matched on California’s behalf via the consortium, including bodily injury, workers’ compensation, and life insurance, including, annuities, disabilities, cash surrenders, and beneficiary payouts. How the accurate and timely delivery of state-issued documents can maximize order adherence and program compliance was also emphasized. 

The session was well received and well attended by a diverse audience of California child support professionals, including directors, caseworkers, supervisors, managers, attorneys, trainers, and administrative staff.

A copy of CSLN’s CSDA 2022 presentation may be accessed here while its session handout, ‘California State User Pocket Guide,’ may be sourced here
Our second stop on the event circuit brought us to ERICSA 2022, which was held May 22-26 in New Orleans, LA, and aptly themed, “Jazzin’ It Up for Children and Families.” ERICSA’s 59th Annual Training Conference & Exposition was its entrée to the in-person event format (post-COVID-19) and CSLN was there to soak up and enjoy every moment.

The program content was delivered through four exciting plenaries and 45 content-rich workshops. There was no shortage of networking opportunities either, with a full lineup of activities including a President's Reception, a special ‘Taste of NOLA’ event, happy hour, formal banquet and after party, and the traditional conference breakfasts and breaks in the Exhibit Hall.

As a conference sponsor and exhibitor, CSLN maintained a booth where staff members were able to interact with attendees and develop connections with states not yet involved in the program while sharing information about what CSLN has to offer. It was exciting to meet with existing state members and hear their success stories face to face!
NCSEA’s Annual Leadership Symposium took place August 7-10 in Charlotte, NC, and provided our last meeting for the season. In its capacity as a sponsor, CSLN ran a booth where representatives from the organization could share good news, advertise the program, and make useful contacts with states that weren't yet members of the network. The NCSEA schedule featured a number of useful sessions, and CSLN is looking forward to putting some of the fresh concepts that came from those educational lectures into practice.

Thank you to all the event participants who took the time to attend CSLN’s session at CSDA 2022 as well as to those who took the time to stop by CSLN's booth at ERICSA 2022 and NCSEA’s Leadership Symposium 2022 during what turned out to be quite an enlightening conference season. Being an industry partner, the ability to see the nation's child support professionals' strong devotion and dedication on a daily basis is very inspiring!
Lump Sum Payment Module Closes in on $1 Million Mark: Collections
The Lump Sum Payment Module (LSPM) is the latest solution in the Child Support Lien Network’s (CSLN’s) suite of collection tools and to date, is showing great promise.

CSLN recently launched its Lump Sum Payment Module, which is intended to speed up and simplify the process of intercepting lump sum payments from employers and other income payers to employees on behalf of state agencies for past-due support. Employers may now rapidly identify personnel who owe child support and obtain electronic paperwork within 24 hours of reporting lump sum payments using a newly created data match application and interactive lookup tool. As you may be aware, state agencies stand to profit tremendously from this new source of funding. Some of the features of the system include immediate response from employer data backed by system warnings, quality checking on all reported matches, and the automatic preparation and issue of electronic IWOs and/or liens.

States that have opted into this dynamic reporting and collections tool include Rhode Island, Virginia, Tennessee, and Mississippi, with other states in the implementation phase, including New Jersey. Thus far, $881,000 in collections have been logged in the LSPM with additional collections in the queue, and the $1 million mark on the horizon!
For CSLN members, this solution can be used as an optional service integrated with your existing system with a simple modification to our current interstate agreement. For those who are not already partnered with CSLN, this tool can be leveraged with equal efficacy as its own web-based service.

To access and download the full Lump Sum Payment Module Data Snapshot, click here.
CSLN Profiles: With Growth Comes Talent
As the Child Support Lien Network (CSLN) continues to grow and expand, so does its workforce. In this Profiles feature, we bring you three team members whose dedication to the CSLN mission, helping children and families across the country collect the support they deserve, is not only exemplary and admirable but a reminder to the consortium at large, of the sheer importance of our work.

They include:

Colin Keefe, Customer Service Representative
Dominic Cavallo, Business Analyst
MaryAnne Sabin, Forms Generation & Processing Specialist

These individuals and their respective colleagues comprise an experienced team, knowledgeable in child support directives as well as the challenges states are facing in meeting their goals while striving for excellence day in and day out.

Meet Colin, Dominic, and MaryAnne, below.
Colin Keefe,
Customer Service Representative
What exactly do you do at CSLN?
At CSLN, I work in the Customer Service Unit, where I answer phone calls from insurance adjusters and attorneys, check information with various persons, and record data to assist in the collection of delinquent child support.

What is your proudest moment at CSLN? My proudest moment at CSLN is the impact I can make on just one phone call.

What experiences and past roles have led you to where you are today? My experience at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth had a big impact on helping me achieve where I am today. The relationships, social skills, and practical knowledge I gained there set me up to succeed in this role.

What do you love most about child support? What I love most about child support is that it gives custodial parents the opportunity to provide their children with a better quality of life and the support that they deserve.

What have you gained from working at CSLN? I have gained a new set of skills that I did not have before starting here; I have also gained new relationships with the members of the CSLN team.

How would your family or friends describe you in three words? Honest, compassionate, and kind.

What’s one item you can’t live without? One thing I can't live without is the Yu-Gi-Oh! card that I keep in my wallet and that all of my friends carry with them as well.
What do you like to do in your spare time? I like to play sports, go out with friends, and relax by watching a new tv show.
Dominic Cavallo,
What exactly do you do at CSLN?
I currently work as a business analyst for CSLN. My day-to-day tasks are creating and testing new features for the Network that the adjusters, member states, and my team can utilize.

What is your proudest moment at CSLN? My proudest moment so far at CSLN is those first couple of days I had where I became fully independent after learning a system I had no prior knowledge of. I was shown the ropes by my team and grew into my role quickly, and once I was able to help, I felt really proud of myself!

What experiences and past roles have led you to where you are today? I held many leadership roles in retail and customer service with my most recent position being a store manager of a small uniform business. My communication skills brought me to CSLN and I hope to be an asset to the team for as long as possible!

What do you love most about child support? It’s the simple notion that I am helping people who are in need. I grew up in a family where finances caused a lot of stress so being a cog in the system that brings others relief is a really good feeling!

What have you gained from working at CSLN? I have gained a lot of confidence in my ability to learn complex systems and convey that knowledge to others.

How would your family or friends describe you in three words? Patient, sarcastic, and confident. I always take my time with things and never let myself get brought down. Plus, I am always willing to lend a bit of humor to a situation to brighten the mood.

What’s one item you can’t live without? The simple answer would be my cellphone, but in reality, it would be my two cats Charlie and Pumpkin. They are incredibly sweet and are always wonderful to come home to and have around!
What do you like to do in your spare time? I am a creative writer on the side and like to play many kinds of video games. My other big interest is Premier League Football, and I am a massive Arsenal fan.
MaryAnne Sabin,
Forms Generation & Processing Specialist
What exactly do you do at CSLN?
My primary position at CSLN is to facilitate the exchange of documents with the appropriate insurance companies and/or persons for various states; I am excited to say that I will be joining the CSLN Customer Service Unit soon.

What is your proudest moment at CSLN? My proudest moment was when I first started; I was told that through my work and through the work of my CSLN teammates, many states stand to collect a large number of child support funds they would otherwise not receive. I am immensely proud to be a part of this work

What experiences and past roles have led you to where you are today? I have always been in the customer service field in one way or another; I enjoy helping others in any way I can. My last position was in hospitality, for which I learned to ‘always smile,’ and people will smile back. Tips I live by are: be as kind as you can, remember everyone has a difficult day, and always try to help someone in need; if you cannot, find someone who can. 

What do you love most about child support? What I love the most is that I can help others help a child get their rightfully due support through my work.

What have you gained from working at CSLN? I have gained so much respect for the CSLN team. They are always working hard and passionately helping in any way they can, no matter how big or small, to help children across the country.

How would your family or friends describe you in three words? Supportive, happy, and funny.

What’s one item you can’t live without? My phone so that I can talk to the ones I love.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Gardening, cooking with my family, and visiting family.

Anything else you would like to share? I also assist with printing and mailing documents for CSLN’s Lump Sum Payment solution.
Insurance Collections: Summer Highlights
The Child Support Lien Network (CSLN) has been, and continues to be, a very effective collection resource, linking delinquent obligors from 30 child support agencies to insurance claims from about 2,000 insurance firms since its start 23 years ago. So far, more than $2.2 billion has been collected through CSLN matches!

Every CSLN collection varies in amount from claim to claim; the examples below are just a few settlements from this summer, each stemming from a separate insurance claim. CSLN continues to expand and grow its platform, which creates a collaborative spirit among state child support agencies and the insurance sector, all with the objective of delivering crucial financial support to families. This form of collaboration exemplifies how private and governmental groups may collaborate toward a similar objective and effect tremendous, beneficial change in society.
Life Insurance – Unlocking Additional Collections Potential
Some of our members may not be aware that the Child Support Lien Network (CSLN) also processes life insurance claims in addition to workers’ compensation and bodily injury claims through our insurance intercept program. Some life insurers solely handle cash surrenders/withdrawals or beneficiary payouts relating to life insurance policies while other life insurance companies have additional lines of business such as disability claims, annuities, or other retirement products. Mandatory life insurance claim reporting legislation has been passed by multiple states across the nation, including the following CSLN members: California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Washington.

Life Insurance companies have several options for reporting claims through CSLN to become compliant with the aforementioned child support laws. Insurance company representatives may register for access to the CSLN Secure Online Lookup site at no cost, allowing them to perform a search in real-time. The searches, or “lookups”, display results right on the screen informing insurers whether a client scheduled to receive payment owes past due child support in a state or district participating in the CSLN program. A confirmation email is sent to the user whether a match is found or not. The same website offers the option for insurers to upload a file with multiple records at once and an email containing the file load results is sent to the user’s email address within minutes. There is also an opportunity for life insurance companies to establish an automated data match process directly with CSLN. For more information, please call us at 888-240-7488 or email us at

Did You Know?
The proportion of custodial parents who were supposed to receive support, but received none, increased from 24.2 percent in 1993 to 30.2 percent in 2017.

- U.S. Census Bureau; “Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2017”
Do You Have a CSLN Success Story to Share?
Do you have a success story from CSLN to share? We all love to hear good news or an interesting fact or update! Let us include your story in an upcoming newsletter. Please send your article ideas to
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