Opening a Case

Who Can Open a Case?

  • Either parent or a legal guardian may ask the child support agency to open a case, as long as they are not receiving CalWORKs benefits for the child(ren). Please refer to the “How to Open a Case" section below for additional information.
  • If there is a parent or legal guardian in another state or country that is seeking support from a parent residing in Sacramento County, the other state or country will request our office to open a case.

  • If the family is receiving CalWORKs benefits (cash assistance), and a parent is absent from the home or the establishment of legal parentage is necessary, the Department of Human Assistance will automatically refer the case to the local child support agency for opening.​

How to Open a Case

If your child is not receiving CalWORKs benefits and you are the parent or legal guardian of the child, you may enroll in our services the following ways:

  1. Online: Submit your request online through our Simplified Enrollment Process.
  2. ​ Phone / In Person: You may request an enrollment package by telephone by contacting our Customer Service Center at (866) 901-3212, or in person at our office. We are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  3. Text: Don't have time to request an enrollment package? Text the word “OPEN" with your full name and mailing address to 916-299-0035. Please specify if you would like your forms in Spanish. 

IMPORTANT: If you complete a hardcopy enrollment package (i.e., not online), please sign all the forms and return them to our office by mail or in person.

If you choose to drop off your documents, you can either meet with a caseworker to review your documents and open your case, or you may place the enrollment package (in a sealed envelope) in our secure document box in our lobby.

Mailing Address
Sacramento County DCSS
P.O. Box 269112
Sacramento, CA 95826

Physical Address
3701 Power Inn Road
Sacramento, CA 95826

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.​

What We Need From You When You Open a Case

When you request to open a case, you will be asked to provide information about yourself, your child(ren), the person you wish to open this child support case with, and any court orders you may have with the children and the other parent (i.e. divorce, custody/visitation orders, and/or child support orders).

If you have an existing child support order, please provide a copy of all court orders (if available) and complete a Declaration of Support Payment History to document all child support payments received from the parent paying support.

If you are not the parent of the child, you must provide a copy of the court order that gives you legal custody or guardianship of the child.

Cost of Services

If your child is receiving CalWORKs benefits, we are required by law to open a case. You do not need to apply for child support services and there is no cost to you.

If your child is not currently receiving CalWORKs benefits, you may open a case with our office by submitting the enrollment forms. Although there is no cost to apply for child support services, there may be a minimal annual cost to you if we are successful in collecting your support. Beginning October 1, 2011, if your child has never received CalWORKs benefits, California charges an annual service fee of $35 per case once we have sent you payments totaling $550 or more in the previous federal fiscal year (October 1 – September 30). This fee is based on federal law and state policy. The fee will automatically be deducted from your next payment(s) until the full $35 is paid. If you have more than one case open with our office or any other local child support agency, the payments and fees will be calculated separately for each case. The California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) will send a notification letter on October 1st of each year to custodial parties who have qualifying cases and are being charged the annual service fee.