Inside this Issue
CSLN Celebrates Sharon Santilli, Esquire & a Remarkable Child Support Career │ CSLN Participates in NCSEA's 2021 Leadership Symposium │ Demystifying the CSLN Consortium │CSLN Keeps on Collecting! │ An Update to Our Members
CSLN Celebrates Sharon Santilli, Esquire & a Remarkable Child Support Career
Above: Sharon Santilli, former CSLN Program Administrator and Rhode Island IV-D Director, enjoying life with her grandchildren
Like many organizations and agencies across the United States, the Child Support Lien Network (CSLN) is celebrating Child Support Awareness Month this August. As we strive to continue supporting and providing resources to the thirty (30) child support agencies participating in the CSLN program, we would like to take this time to spotlight a remarkable individual who recently retired from the Rhode Island Department of Human Services, Office of Child Support Services (OCSS). Rhode Island was our first state member and is the host state of the CSLN project.

Surely, some of our readers have gotten a chance to work with the former IV-D Director of OCSS, Sharon A. Santilli, Esquire. After graduating from Northern Illinois College of Law, her career began in the legal field at a personal injury firm in Chicago, Illinois. Sharon later returned to Rhode Island and became legal counsel for the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS) in 1988. Just two short years later, she was appointed Deputy Chief of Child Support Services and then in 1991, to Chief Legal Counsel. In 2004, she was appointed Associate Director (IV-D Director) at DHS. Sharon retired as IV-D Director in June 2021. Recognized as a national child support leader, Sharon also served as President of the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA) in 2008 and President of the National Council of Child Support Directors (NCCSD) in 2015.

The CSLN team is extremely thankful and grateful to have had the opportunity to work with a true champion of child support and someone who has been at the foundation of the CSLN program from the beginning, helping thirty (30) state agencies across the country collect support for the children and families each serves. Under Sharon’s leadership and guidance, the CSLN program has collected over $2 billion dollars in child support, transforming it into one of the most successful public and private partnerships in the nation. Sharon was with us through the inception and implementation of CSLN, when we were partnered with just one state, and has helped CSLN grow into the child support cornerstone it is known to be today.

We have always admired the enthusiasm, dedication, and passion Ms. Santilli has demonstrated. As a true proponent of child support, Sharon has supported and inspired innumerable incentives and innovations throughout her 30+ year career in the arena. In addition to the highly successful CSLN consortium, Rhode Island also partnered with the State of Connecticut for the country’s only SDU state partnership – that partnership is over ten years old. Recently, Rhode Island became the fourth state to pass the Uniform Parentage Act, or as it is commonly referred to, “the Family Equality Act. She had the privilege of implementing the new Voluntary Acknowledgement Hospital Program before her retirement, ensuring that all parents, regardless of gender or status, may voluntarily acknowledge parentage. During COVID-19, she safely and successfully migrated 90% of her staff to work remotely and reconfigured the majority of procedures to a complete electronic process to accommodate the new virtual court environment. She has been a part of many impactful state and federal legislative and procedural changes over the years. She also oversaw key, thoughtful, community-based initiatives executed through her dedicated team of child support professionals at OCSS.

Sharon Santilli was interviewed by Barry Bridges for the Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly in an article published on September 7, 2017. Back then, Sharon was asked how things had changed in her 30 years with OCSS. She answered, “It hasn’t always been an equitable program. When I first started in 1988, there was a different philosophy, and it was very much about enforcement. I feel as though my biggest accomplishment here has been changing that philosophy. We’re here for families…” A true testimony of Sharon’s philosophy of helping needy families was demonstrated when she wholeheartedly supported the Rhode Island staff members on the establishment of OCSS “Cozy Closet” in the winter of 2014. An effort that has since evolved into more than offering clothes to those in need. We came across a tweet from @RIHumanServices about the program, displayed below.
In addition to clothing for all seasons, donations of blankets, toys, books, and other items are welcomed as well. The OCSS staff has also assisted struggling families in the community in the past by “adopting them” for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Sharon and her team truly care about helping families and continuously strive to make a difference.

Rhode Island currently submits more than 13,000 delinquent obligors to CSLN for insurance intercept data matching. During Sharon’s tenure, Rhode Island has collected more than $17 million for the children and families they serve from the insurance intercept program alone. As much as we will miss working with Sharon on a professional level, we wish her all the best in her retirement. We will keep in touch with our child support advocate, cheerleader, and friend.

You may find yourself wondering who Rhode Island has found to fill Sharon Santilli’s shoes. Through careful consideration and much internal discussion, the state selected another key, long-time supporter of CSLN and staunch child support ally, Frank J. DiBiase, Esquire. He has worked very closely with Sharon and CSLN for many years and we are delighted that the former Chief Legal Counsel for Rhode Island OCSS has stepped up into the role of IV-D Director. We plan to meet with Mr. DiBiase to find out more about his new designation and what the future holds for Rhode Island once he has a chance to settle in. We look forward to a continued successful partnership with OCSS with Frank DiBiase at the helm.
CSLN Participates in NCSEA's 2021 Leadership Symposium
From August 1-4, the Child Support Lien Network (CSLN) spent some time in Austin, Texas for the 2021 NCSEA Leadership Symposium. With over 400 attendees from both public and private sectors, six (6) plenary sessions, and sixteen (16) different workshops, the Leadership Symposium offered a wealth of information and in light of the past year and a half, a rare and exciting opportunity to see and network with our child support partners and colleagues. It was wonderful to reunite and share a space with so many other people who hold the same passion for helping children and their families as CSLN does.

From an attendee perspective, we almost forgot about the benefits that come with participating in live, in-person events, like a setting where the level of energy is palpable. There is something to be said for events that provide the luxury of being in a room with likeminded individuals that foster human connections conducive to greater mutual understandings. And there is something incredibly refreshing about attending sessions without having to check the chat simultaneously and having the ability to ask presenters questions (even after a session has ended). This year’s Leadership Symposium embodied all of these elements, and we appreciated every moment.

One of the highlights for CSLN during the Symposium was the ability to host and deliver a “Solution Showcase” during the morning break on day one of the event to discuss its child support best practices. The 30-minute session was led by Ann Murray, CSLN Project Manager, and Joanne Lemmons, Applications Lead, and was well attended with over thirty (30) public sector employees from across more than ten (10) U.S. state agencies in the audience. At a high-level, the presentation provided a deep dive into CSLN’s workflow, shared recent collection success stories, and explored CSLN’s latest solution for intercepting lump sum payments [from employers (or income payors) to employees] by answering five (5) of the most frequently asked questions about the program. A huge thank you to everyone who joined us for this Showcase!

We would also like to thank NCSEA for having us in Austin this month and moreover, for producing yet another illuminating and engaging event, especially with the safeguards provided in light of COVID-19. Seeing such strong commitment and dedication from the nation's child support professionals on a daily basis provides a true inspiration to us as an industry partner!

Demystifying the CSLN Consortium
In the Child Support Lien Network's (CSLN) growing history as an interstate network, several myths, and even some misunderstandings, have been formed and disseminated to the child support industry. CSLN would like to take this opportunity to share the truth about how effective our partnership with 30 states and over 1,800 insurance companies can be for our nation's families.

Myth: "The collection amounts are minimal."
Fact: CSLN currently has approved access to over 70% of our nation's claims filed annually with the insurance industry, and new members are joining every month. With average collections of $2,100, states have seen substantial increases in their overall collections. For instance, through CSLN alone, the State of Texas collects an average of $60-$70 million annually. Single case collections can also be significant. For example, Ohio collected $112,278 from one match, Illinois intercepted $73,096, and Michigan got $41,324 from a single collection.

Myth: "My state can't join CSLN because we do not have the funding in our budget."
Fact: CSLN state members will only be billed for open insurance claims that have matched to their delinquent obligor cases. You only pay for viable matches on active claims. In addition, statistics from state member agencies consistently show an average collection to cost ratio equating to 30:1.

Myth: "CSLN’s solution for collecting lump sum payments [from employers] is no different than other solutions designed to accomplish the same."
Fact: CSLN’s “Lump Sum Payment Module” is an optional service available to all state members and as part of a proven solution, does not replace the matches that many states receive from alternative sources. Instead, this innovative program augments the efforts from other providers by giving states a turnkey answer for handling lump sum payment intercepts. Top-notch quality assurance, expanded employer outreach, automated document generation tools, and user-friendly, accessible interfaces are just some of our core differentiators that not only streamline state efforts, but also result in achieving collections more effectively with fewer or limited resources.

CSLN Keeps on Collecting!
In 1999, the Child Support Lien Network began working with Rhode Island to match delinquent child support obligors against workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. More than 20 years later, CSLN now has thirty (30) states participating in the program along with approximately 1,800 insurance companies. We have also expanded the lines of insurance to include life insurance products, such as annuities, disabilities, policy surrenders or payments to beneficiaries on a life insurance policy.

CSLN is thrilled to have recently exceeded $2 BILLION in collections!

It truly warms our hearts to imagine just how many children and families nationwide have benefited from insurance intercept collections over the years.

We would like to share just a few of the recent impressive collections recorded in the CSLN system for a single insurance match.

Congratulations to all contributing parties for making a significant difference in the lives of countless families through these individual collections! 
An Update to Our Members
After over a year of working remotely, we are happy to announce that the Child Support Lien Network (CSLN) has started transitioning back to the office. We are eager to continue providing our members high quality and reliable service with the additional skills we have garnered through the challenges of this past year.

In April 2020, we issued an announcement related to COVID-19 outlining our shift to remote work and our continued promise of quality assistance. At the time, we knew little about the future of the COVID-19 pandemic, nor how long our functions would need to be performed remotely.

The uncertainty of the situation and its ever-changing status called for many unforeseen challenges but throughout it all, prioritizing the safety of our CSLN team and members remained our focus.

Although we have begun to phase back into the office, safety is still of utmost importance to us. While moving about the once-again shared workspace, all team members must wear a mask. We have also implemented a rotating schedule to prevent too many team members from being in the office at one time.

A physical return to the office marks the start of a new chapter and we are enthusiastic and hopeful for the future. Since the beginning of our return, the office has been filled with positive energy and gratitude. Prior to the shift to remote, it was easy to take things like going to the office and seeing colleagues for granted.

Our CSLN team is not only eager to be fully back, but we are also looking forward to enhancing team practices with new styles of communication and collaboration. Our “next normal” will forever be shaped by the perseverance that this year has required and a new appreciation for the meaning of “together.”
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