Ohio law requires each county to have it's own CSEA. Your CSEA can help you establish paternity, locate absent parents, or set up a child support or medical support order. It can also set up a support order, collect child support, or review and adjust support orders.

The first step in the child support process is to establish paternity - to legally determine the child's father. Establishing paternity is in the best interest of the child and the parents. Either the child's mother or the man who may be the child's father can make a request to establish paternity. There are 2 ways to establish paternity:
  • Administrative process - When both parent agree that the man fathered a child, he can establish paternity by simply signing a document at the hospital before the child and mother are released, or at the CSEA.
  • Court process - If a man believes he may not be a child's father, paternity needs to be established through court. The court will order genetic testing done on both parents and on the child. The tests use sample of blood or the genetic material (such as skin cells from inside a person's cheek). The samples are compared to see if the man could be the child's father. The tests are very accurate.
For more information on establishing paternity, ask your CSEA for the ODHS brochure on paternity.

If you do not know where a parent is living, your CSEA can help. CSEAs have access to may sources of information, including job and motor vehicle reports. They can use these records to find absent parents.