DNA Paternity Testing Labs

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All Test performed by LabCorp, The #1 DNA Laboratory in the United States

All Test performed by LabCorp, The #1 DNA Laboratory in the United States

Paternity Testing Made Simple

DNA Paternity Testing Labs have established a comprehensive service network in most metropolitan areas with collection facilities providing 'Peace of Mind' throughout. DNA Paternity Testing Labs are able to coordinate convenient appointments and timely testing services in most metro areas.

DNA Paternity Testing Labs

DNA Paternity Testing Labs Process Features:

  • The Highest Quality Control Standards-Unlike many other paternity testing companies, our company utilizes a paternity testing laboratory fully certified by the AABB, ISO 17025, ensuring your test is performed to the highest international standards.
  • Painless Testing-Samples are taken simply by gently rubbing a soft swab on the inside of the cheek. No blood or other sample collection is required so the testing is painless and non-invasive.
  • No Hidden Charges-Other testing companies have hidden costs and will charge an additional fee to provide the results once testing has been completed. All of the costs to collect the sample, process the result, and report the result back to the requestor are included in the prices quotes by us, guaranteed.
  • Privacy Guaranteed-Your privacy is of utmost importance to us. Any genetic or other information generated by us or provided by you will never be shared with a third party, such as an insurer, employer, or medical practitioner without your express written permission. Any and all personal data can be destroyed on request.

Testing Two Patients

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Prenatal Non-Invasive Blood Test available at DNA Paternity Testing Labs

Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Blood Testing

Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Blood Testing-This test allows for prenatal paternity testing via a blood sample from the mother, with no risk to the fetus! Contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment.

  • Paternity testing at DNA Paternity Testing Labs is conducted to determine if a man is an individual’s biological father. 
    While several different ways to establish paternity were used in the past, DNA testing is 
    now the most accurate and accepted method and the only method admissible in most 
    People seek paternity tests from DNA Paternity Testing Labs for reasons varying from curiosity to settling custody and 
    financial disputes. Determining paternity also is necessary to give children access to 
    family medical histories and information about potential genetic diseases, and to any 
    veteran and social security benefits or medical insurance available through the father. 

    Considering the life-altering information that paternity testing can provide, it is 
    imperative that laboratories perform the tests accurately and reliably. DNA Paternity Testing Labs uses the number one DNA Paternity Testing Laboratory in the country, Laboratory Corporation of America. 
    The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) offers 
    accreditation of the quality and operational systems of the laboratory, including its 
    collection, processing, testing, distribution, and administration methods. 
    If a paternity test is to be used in a court of law, a legal process called chain of custody of the DNA sample 
    must be verified. This means that every step of the paternity testing process and 
    analysis is documented, from the collection of the DNA sample by an independent party 
    through the processing of the sample. DNA Paternity testing Labs takes care of all of this process and completes all DNA Paternity legal documents an individual will need for court.

    Paternity testing is carried out on DNA from the child, the alleged father, and, for 
    greatest accuracy, the mother. DNA can be acquired from blood and buccal (cheek) cells. 
    Prenatal paternity tests from blood from the mother and father is also  available from DNA Paternity Testing Labs.
    Important Information about DNA Paternity Testing
  • Department of Health and Human Services 
    Inspector General 
    SEPTEMBER 1999 
    State Use of Genetic Testing 


    The mission of the Office of Inspector General (OIG), as mandated by Public Law 95-452, is to 
    protect the integrity of the Department of Health and Human Services programs as well as the 
    health and welfare of beneficiaries served by them. This statutory mission is carried out through a 
    nationwide program of audits, investigations, inspections, sanctions, and fraud alerts. The 
    Inspector General informs the Secretary of program and management problems and recommends 
    legislative, regulatory, and operational approaches to correct them. 

    Office of Evaluation and Inspections 

    The Office of Evaluation and Inspections (OEI) is one of several components of the Office of 
    Inspector General. It conducts short-term management and program evaluations (called 
    inspections) that focus on issues of concern to the Department, the Congress, and the public. The 
    inspection reports provide findings and recommendations on the efficiency, vulnerability, and 
    effectiveness of departmental programs. 




    To obtain copies of this report, please call the Dallas Regional Office at 214-767-3310. 
    Reports are also available on the World Wide Web at our home page address: 




    This inspection describes State policies and practices regarding the use of genetic testing to 
    establish paternity and highlights innovative strategies for overcoming barriers to testing. 


    Widespread use of genetic testing has contributed to increases in the number of paternities 
    established in recent years. However, barriers may exist that inhibit the effective use of testing. 
    Federal legislation requires States to empower their child support agencies with authority to order 
    parties to submit to genetic testing. States agencies must make genetic testing available upon 
    request of any party in a paternity case, pay for testing in some cases, and affirm that test results 
    create a presumption of paternity. The Federal government matches State funds to cover testing 
    expenses, and States may recoup these costs from the father once paternity is established. To 
    obtain information on how States use genetic testing, barriers to its use, and strategies to 
    surmount barriers, we surveyed child support agency directors in all States. Additionally, in six 
    focus States, we surveyed local child support office managers and interviewed local managers and 
    staff during site visits to twenty-four offices. 


    States Use Genetic Testing in a Large Number of Paternity Cases. 

    State child support agencies widely agree that genetic testing should be used when any 
    uncertainty about paternity exists, and report using genetic testing in a significant number of 
    paternity cases. All but one State typically tests all three parties - child, mother and putative 
    father - maximizing the precision of test results. Forty-three State child support agencies have the 
    authority to administratively order parties to submit to genetic testing, while eight State agencies 
    have no such authority, or must gain approval from the courts before requiring parties to test. 
    Testing is occasionally used in cases in which paternity has already been established through 
    voluntary acknowledgment or by default. 

    Many Mothers and Putative Fathers Have Incentives Not to Test and Other Barriers, Such as 
    Inconvenient Testing Locations, May Inhibit the Use of Genetic Testing. 

    The greatest barrier to the effective use of genetic testing is a desire on the part of mothers and 
    putative fathers not to establish paternity. Putative fathers may simply wish to avoid paying child 
    support, and mothers may prefer informal support. Other barriers that inhibit use of testing 
    include: client fear of needles, lack of transportation, inconvenient testing locations, fees charged 
    for testing, difficulty scheduling appointments for submission of DNA samples, and intentional 
    delays by parties attempting to prolong or avoid paternity establishment. 

    Some Promising Strategies to Surmount Barriers Are Used Only In Limited Areas. 

    Some child support staff immediately collect DNA samples from parties at their local office, 
    thereby avoiding future delays and transportation problems. Many areas use buccal swab (cheek 
    cells) sampling, instead of drawing blood, alleviating client fear of needles as a barrier to testing. 
    To eliminate expense as a concern for putative fathers’ use of genetic testing, some States do not 
    seek to recoup testing costs, or allow local staff discretion to waive recoupment. However, few 
    areas in the country appear to use all of these strategies. 


    Encourage All States to Give Agencies Administrative Authority to Order Genetic Testing. 

    Child support agencies in eight States do not have the full authority to administratively order 
    genetic testing as required by welfare reform. Having authority to order testing is a necessary 
    first step for child support workers to administratively establish paternity. 

    Encourage States to Use Innovative Strategies, Such as Buccal Swab Sampling at Local Child 
    Support Offices. 

    Sample collection at local child support offices and use of buccal swab sampling help child 
    support workers surmount barriers to the use of genetic testing. Staff report that collecting 
    genetic samples from parties at the child support office helps avoid delays and transportation 
    problems. Buccal swab sampling appears to be safer, easier and faster than drawing blood, and 
    often meets less resistance from parties who may be afraid of needles. 

    Encourage States to Exercise Care in Allowing Genetic Testing in Cases in Which Paternity 
    Has Already Been Established. 

    Routine use of genetic testing in cases in which paternity has already been legally established 
    through voluntary acknowledgment or by default may have serious long-term consequences. 
    Such practice could weaken the legal standing of acknowledged or defaulted paternities. State 
    child support agencies should be encouraged to work with their legislatures, vital records agencies 
    and court systems to develop consistent procedures regarding use of genetic testing when 
    paternity has already been established. 


    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) agreed with our recommendations that all 
    States should grant their child support agency authority to order genetic testing, and should be 
    encouraged to use innovative testing strategies. Regarding our recommendation that they 
    encourage States to exercise care in genetic testing when paternity has already been established, 
    ACF prefers to leave this to State discretion but agreed to advise States that our findings suggest 
    the need to review their own policies and practices. We have withdrawn a recommendation that 
    OCSE encourage States to review their recoupment policies. 



    This inspection describes State policies and practices regarding the use of genetic testing to 
    establish paternity, and highlights innovative strategies for overcoming barriers to testing. 


    Congress and States have taken advantage of modern scientific advances by encouraging the use 
    of genetic testing in paternity establishment efforts. The Family Support Act of 1988 mandated 
    that States require all parties in paternity cases to submit to genetic testing upon request of any 
    party. The Act also set the Federal matching rate for genetic testing at 90 percent.1 Subsequent 
    legislation required that genetic testing create a presumption of paternity, when test results meet 
    thresholds established by the States. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 
    1996 required that States adopt expedited procedures that give child support enforcement 
    agencies authority to order genetic testing “... without the necessity of obtaining an order from 
    any other judicial or administrative tribunal...”2 Federal law also gives State agencies permission 
    to recoup the cost of testing “... from the alleged father if paternity is established...”3 

    Legislation designed to encourage genetic testing has had a profound effect on the paternity 
    establishment process across the nation. Child support staff now have a highly reliable method of 
    determining whether a man is the father of a child. While genetic testing cannot prove paternity, 
    it can exclude with certainty a man wrongly named as the father. Further, test results can 
    demonstrate the probability that a child is the offspring of a man with the exact genetic 
    characteristics of the man tested, up to a probability of 99.9 percent. As a result of these 
    advances, every State will now legally establish paternity when a man is not excluded by testing. 

    When a child is born to an unmarried woman, paternity may be established through various 
    methods. Many unmarried parents sign voluntary acknowledgments of paternity immediately 
    following birth in hospitals, or sometime subsequent to the child’s eighteenth birthday. Genetic 
    testing is typically not required in conjunction with voluntary acknowledgments. A second 
    method of establishing paternity involves the parties voluntarily consenting to genetic testing and 
    agreeing to abide by the results. These are common in administrative paternity establishments. A 
    third method involves contested cases in which the parties are either administratively or judicially 
    ordered to submit to genetic testing. 

    Several topics regarding the use of genetic testing in paternity establishment warrant 
    consideration, including the legal authority to order genetic testing, the mechanics of testing, and 
    its effect on children, mothers, putative fathers and child support staff. Barriers may exist that 
    make testing more difficult for parties, which is important, considering the possible consequences 
    of failure to test when ordered. Potential barriers may include inaccessibility of test sites, fear of 
    needles and drawing blood, the cost of testing, and any incentives the parties might have to avoid 
    testing or delay paternity establishment. 


    To examine the role of genetic testing in the paternity establishment process, we gathered 
    information from three groups of child support specialists: State child support agency directors, 
    local office managers, and local office front-line staff. We reviewed the laws and regulations 
    governing the use of genetic testing. We also analyzed the processes, forms and documentation 
    employed by State and local child support enforcement offices regarding genetic testing. 

    Administrators from every State and the District of Columbia child support agency completed a 
    written survey on paternity establishment methods and policies. Ninety-nine local office managers 
    in six focus States - California, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia - completed a 
    survey about their office’s paternity establishment policies and practices. Finally, we made site 
    visits to four local offices in each of the six focus States. During these visits, we conducted 47 
    interviews which included over 99 local office child support staff who work directly with clients. 

    We purposively selected the six focus States to include a variety of implementation strategies and 
    experiences regarding paternity establishment. To achieve this variety, we considered many 
    criteria including, non-marital birth rates by State and locality, State Paternity Establishment 
    Percentages (PEP), performance of voluntary acknowledgment programs, outstanding program 
    characteristics (innovation, privatization, etc.), status as State-administered or county-
    administered, and geographic region. We also purposively selected local child support offices 
    within these States to provide a mix of urban, suburban, mid-size and rural locations.4 Since the 
    number of local offices varies significantly by State, we surveyed all local offices in some States 
    and a portion in others.5 For on-site interviews, we visited offices in one or two cities and their 
    surrounding areas in each focus State. The selection of focus States does not purport to be 
    representative of the nation, nor do local offices represent all offices within individual focus 
    States. The selections do, however, allow for examination of paternity establishment processes 
    under conditions found throughout the country. 

    The pretested survey instruments and interview protocols included sections specifically about 
    policies and office procedures related to genetic testing as well as barriers to the use of testing. 
    Additionally, we gathered supplementary documentation including copies of State paternity policy 
    manuals, staff training materials on paternity practices, public outreach materials related to 
    paternity establishment, and samples of documents and correspondence regarding paternity 

    This study of the use of genetic testing was conducted as part of a larger project on State 
    paternity establishment methods. Companion reports discuss State use of voluntary paternity 
    acknowledgments, the role of vital records agencies in paternity establishment efforts, and an 
    overall description of State paternity establishment methods. 

    This study was conducted in accordance with the Quality Standards for Inspections issued by the 
    President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency. 



    Almost All States Use Genetic Testing in a Large Number of Paternity Cases and Typically 
    Test the Mother, As Well as the Child and Putative Father. 

    State and local child support agencies rely heavily on genetic testing to determine paternity. 
    Thirty-one States report using testing in “about half” or “some” paternity cases, with another 16 
    States reporting usage in more than half of all paternity cases. Two States claim to use genetic 
    testing in only few cases. Local child support offices in focus States report similar usage patterns, 
    with 81 percent using genetic testing in “about half” or “some” paternity cases, and another 17 
    percent using it in more than half of all paternity cases. Only one out of 96 local managers 
    reported testing in just a few cases. 

    Policy in all but one State is to test all three parties in a paternity case: child, mother and putative 
    father. While paternity may be established without testing the mother, States choose to test her 
    for two reasons. First, genetic test results using all three parties provide a higher probability of 
    paternity than motherless tests.6 Additionally, testing the mother eliminates a potential welfare 
    fraud scheme. Local staff report that women occasionally apply for public assistance, fraudulently 
    claiming a child is hers in order to increase her level of benefits. In this case, genetic testing 
    would exclude her as the mother. However, States may be forced to test without the mother if 
    she cannot be located, or is incarcerated or deceased. 

    Child Support Staff Encourage Genetic Testing in Cases in Which Uncertainty Exists. 

    Forty State child support agencies believe genetic testing should be used when any uncertainty 
    about paternity exists on the part of any of the parties, and another six go further to say it should 
    be used in all cases. Only four State officials suggest that substantial uncertainty should exist 
    before genetic testing is provided. A local child support worker explains that, in practice, 
    workers encourage genetic testing whenever doubt exists: 

    “If there is any doubt, I encourage them to do a blood test. Some guys are 
    embarrassed to ask for the test, but I tell them to go ahead unless they are sure. 
    Genetic testing does not add much paperwork or staff time to the process. So it is 
    better to do it up front.” 

    Most, But Not All, State Child Support Agencies Have Administrative Authority To Order 
    Genetic Testing, Thereby Potentially Expediting the Paternity Establishment Process. 

    Forty-three State child support agencies have authority to order parties in paternity cases to 
    submit to genetic testing, with a few States granting this authority only within the last two years. 
    Two other States have a quasi-judicial procedure in which child support agencies may order 
    testing when approved by judicial authorities. In the six remaining States, only the courts may 
    order genetic testing. 

    Federal law requiring States to empower their child support agencies with administrative authority 
    to order testing is part of a general effort to expedite paternity establishment procedures. Until 
    recently, paternity establishment was a highly judicial process - with family or juvenile courts 
    handling such cases in most States. However, because many State judicial systems were 
    overloaded, paternity cases could often take many months, even after location of the putative 
    father. A local child support worker explains how court involvement can create significant delays 
    in the paternity establishment process: 

    “He has the right to go to court, and can request a DNA test. He can’t get a 
    DNA test until he files an answer with the court, and requests the test. He will 
    then go back to court, perhaps several months later, and request the results. It 
    usually takes about 6-8 weeks to get the DNA results. So there could be three or 
    four months from the first court date. Getting court dates takes more time than 
    getting a DNA test result.” 

    States are using strategies to expedite judicial paternity procedures, such as having phlebotomists 
    present on days when paternity cases are heard. If one of the parties requests testing, the judge 
    can order all three parties into an adjacent room to provide DNA samples. Judges may also set a 
    date for final settlement of the case a few days after the test results are expected. 

    Another strategy to expedite paternity establishment is to make it predominately an administrative 
    procedure, requiring little court involvement.7 Empowering State child support agencies with the 
    authority to order testing is a necessary first step of this approach. In those States that 
    consciously attempt to make paternity establishment an administrative process handled chiefly by 
    the child support agency, respondents view genetic testing as quite simple. Once named as a 
    putative father, a man may either voluntarily acknowledge paternity, voluntarily submit to genetic 
    testing, or the agency may issue an administrative order for testing. Genetic material samples may 
    be submitted at the local child support office, or at a nearby location, perhaps on a putative 
    father’s first visit to the office. The results of testing either exclude the man or create a legally 
    binding presumption of paternity. Paternity is then established administratively and staff proceed 
    to obligate the father for support. (See Appendix A for example language of State documents 
    regarding ordering genetic testing.) 

    Genetic Testing May Be Used in Cases Where Paternity Has Already Been Established. 

    Local child support staff we interviewed report that genetic testing is occasionally used in cases in 
    which paternity has already been established by other methods. Federal law allows that paternity 
    may be established through voluntary acknowledgment of the mother and putative father. While 
    the parties may chose to pursue genetic testing prior to voluntary acknowledgment, they are likely 
    to sign an acknowledgment in the hospital immediately after the child’s birth. Congress clearly 
    requires that when such a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity is signed, States conclusively 
    establish paternity, following a 60-day rescission period.8 Beyond the rescission period, a 
    voluntary paternity acknowledgment may only be challenged based on “fraud, duress or material 
    mistake of fact.”9 

    Some child support staff interpret Federal law to mean that child support agencies and courts 
    should neither order nor pay for genetic testing once paternity has been conclusively established. 
    They argue that even if the man who acknowledged paternity is not the biological father, he 
    voluntarily chose to take responsibility, may already have a relationship with the child, and neither 
    he nor the mother should be allowed to revoke his parentage. They warn that if paternities 
    established through voluntary acknowledgment are commonly overturned through subsequent 
    genetic testing, the in-hospital voluntary paternity acknowledgment program may be jeopardized. 
    Other child support staff argue that if a man incorrectly acknowledges paternity the State has an 
    obligation to make testing available, even months or years after the acknowledgment. If genetic 
    testing excludes the man, the State could reverse the paternity establishment and discontinue 
    collection of child support. They maintain that collection is difficult if the man believes he is not 
    the father, and that the best interest of the child is served by a definitive ruling based on genetic 

    Similar concerns arise regarding the use of genetic testing in cases in which paternity has been 
    established by default. Federal law allows for paternity to be established through a default order 
    issued by the child support agency or the courts if a putative father does not heed a summons to 
    appear for genetic testing or other appointment. Although States are required to provide proper 
    service, a putative father who fails to respond could have paternity established by default with no 
    evidence other than the word of the mother. 

    Some staff express concern over who pays for genetic testing and who has the authority to order 
    testing in cases in which paternity has previously been established. If child support agencies 
    routinely pay for these tests, total testing expenses would rise. On the other hand, if the agency 
    refuses to pay, but allows genetic testing in these cases, some fear that only men with the financial 
    ability to pay for testing in advance could avail themselves of the service. Similarly, if only courts 
    may grant testing in such cases, those with greater resources could petition the courts to allow 
    genetic testing and potentially revoke paternity. 

    Some have suggested that the circumstances of individual cases may be more critical than 
    standardized policies. This view draws a distinction between cases in which child support staff 
    and courts ‘routinely’ ignore voluntary paternity acknowledgments by ordering testing upon 
    request, and cases in which only special circumstance can warrant paternity testing. For example, 
    suppose an in-hospital paternity acknowledgment is signed at the time of birth, but the mother 
    does not apply for public assistance or child support until the child is two years old. If child 
    support staff will routinely grant a father’s request for genetic testing, the credibility of the 
    original acknowledgment may be undermined. If, however, the Federal language of “fraud, duress 
    or material mistake of fact” is demonstrated, unique cases may be handled without discarding the 
    voluntary acknowledgment structure. 


    Many Mothers and Putative Fathers Have Incentives Not to Test. 

    State Child Support agencies and local staff agree that the greatest barrier to the effective use of 
    genetic testing is a desire on the part of mothers and putative fathers not to establish paternity. 
    State administrators report that putative fathers (43 States) and mothers (41 States) “do not want 
    paternity established,” and therefore avoid testing. Local child support office managers in our six 
    focus States express similar concerns, identifying the desire of mothers (80 percent of offices) and 
    putative fathers (72 percent) not to establish paternity as a barrier to the use of genetic testing. 

    Local child support staff explain that the perspective of mothers and putative fathers often 
    depends on their current relationships. A mother may have a relationship with another man and 
    fear that paternity and child support activities may disturb that relationship. Additionally, she may 
    no longer have a relationship with the putative father and not want him involved with her children. 

    Conversely, a mother may indeed have a relationship with the putative father, perhaps with him 
    providing informal financial support to the family. If the mother receives public assistance, much 
    of the father’s formal financial support would likely go to the State as reimbursement for 
    assistance rather than as support for the child. A putative father may have similar concerns. He 
    may not want to be involved with the family, or may already provide informal support and wish to 
    avoid participation in the formal child support system to maximize the amount of support reaching 
    his children. Depending on circumstances, putative fathers, like mothers, may have significant 
    incentives not to submit to genetic testing or to establish paternity. 

    The effect of these incentives is to increase the chance that one or more parties will not show up 
    for genetic testing when scheduled. When fathers fail to appear for genetic testing, States either 
    establish paternity by default immediately (10 States), provide a second opportunity or certain 
    amount of time for testing before establishing paternity by default (25 States), or refer the case to 
    court (11 States). Once a case is referred to the courts, judges may establish paternity by default 
    or re-order genetic testing. Judicial options may also include fining putative fathers, citing them 
    for contempt, or otherwise attempting to gain their compliance. 

    Mothers receiving public assistance risk being designated as non-cooperative and may face 
    sanctions for failure to appear for genetic testing. Sixteen States immediately make this 
    designation when a client fails to appear, while 32 States allow the mother a second opportunity 
    or certain amount of time to comply. Most States appear to allow caseworkers some discretion, 
    depending on the circumstances that caused the missed appointment. One State indicates that 
    their policy requires child support staff to communicate with a non-compliant mother before 
    making a determination of non-cooperation.10 If the mother is not receiving public assistance, 
    States cannot compel her to cooperate and generally begin case closure procedures once she fails 
    to keep appointments. (See Appendix A for example language of State documents regarding 
    ramifications of non-compliance.) 

    While the Cost of Genetic Testing Does Not Inhibit Its Use by Child Support Agencies and 
    Staff, It May Be Seen as a Significant Barrier by Some Putative Fathers. 

    The cost of genetically testing all three parties to determine paternity ranges from $230 - $500 
    across States. The Federal government reimburses 
    States for 90 percent of their paternity testing expenses, although the Administration’s FY 2000 
    budget proposes reducing the rate of reimbursement to 67 percent. 

    While almost all States appear to attempt recoupment of testing costs from men determined to be 
    fathers, 15 States allow local staff and courts discretion in seeking recoupment on a case-by-case 
    basis. Only one State indicates they do not try to collect reimbursement in any cases.11 Local 
    staff view cost and recoupment issues from a very practical perspective. As one worker explains, 
    cost concerns are often viewed as secondary to establishing paternity: 

    “Cost is not an issue. We would never discourage someone from taking the test 
    because of cost. Just the opposite. When there are any reservations, we would 
    tell him it is in his best interest to have the test. We don’t ask for reimbursement, 
    even if the test is positive.” 

    While some local offices may not try to recoup costs, many fathers are charged for testing, and 
    the cost may constitute a significant barrier for them. Eighteen State agencies report the fees 
    charged for genetic tests are a barrier to putative fathers’ use of testing. To understand how cost 
    could discourage use of testing, imagine a situation in which a low-income or unemployed man is 
    alleged to be the father of a child. Suppose he questions that the child is his, yet knows paternity 
    is a strong possibility. The effect of recoupment policies is that the man in this scenario must risk 
    up to $300 to find out whether the child is his. His other options are to wait for a default order of 
    paternity to be issued or voluntarily acknowledge paternity. In each case, he technically gives up 
    his right to genetic testing. For many men, the $290 gamble may prevent them from testing and 
    learning definitively whether they are the father. Since staff freely encourage testing, they may be 
    waiving the recoupment policy in similar situations. However, unless caseworkers have clear 
    authority to waive recoupment, some fathers may not test because of the cost. 

    Two factors determine the cost of genetic testing for individual paternity cases: whether the same 
    parties have to be re-tested for any reason; and whether multiple men have to be tested before 
    paternity is established. Re-testing the same parties is occasionally required and occurs when 
    samples are contaminated or otherwise insufficient for conclusive results. Child support agencies 
    typically cover the cost of this rare type of re-testing, with no recoupment. Parties in paternity 
    cases may also wish to re-test because they are dissatisfied with, or doubt, the results of an earlier 
    test. Typically, if a second test is granted, the party requesting the test must pay the costs in 

    Testing of multiple partners may be required to determine paternity. Local staff report that while 
    most women know who the father is with certainty, some women name two, three, or four men as 
    possibly the father. Rarely, even more men are named. In most States, paternity workers use 
    practiced interview skills to help a mother determine the most likely candidate from among the possibilities.

    Child support offices typically perform genetic testing in the order of likelihood, and 
    only test others if the first man is excluded. However, in a focus State that primarily uses a 
    judicial process for establishing paternity, workers report testing as many as three men at the same 
    time before making a pleading in court. Because it took so long in this locality to arrange court 
    dates, it was more prudent for child support attorneys to get permission to test all alleged fathers 
    at once than it was to go before the judge after each possible exclusion. These workers suggested 
    that their decisions often involved a trade-off between time and money. 

    The Time, Location and Method of Sample Collection Present Significant Barriers to Testing. 

    State and local staff report that getting parties to testing sites is problematic. Lack of 
    transportation to the testing facility was identified as a barrier to mothers (41 States) and putative 
    fathers (25 States). Inconvenient testing locations was also identified as a barrier for mothers 
    (23 States) and putative fathers (16 States). Local office managers in focus States agreed, 
    identifying transportation as a barrier for mothers (71%) and putative fathers (35%), and 
    inconvenient locations as a barrier for mothers (26%) and putative fathers (12%). 

    About forty percent of State agencies also identified client fear of needles as a barrier to the use of 
    genetic testing for both mothers and putative fathers. Some State administrators indicate a 
    reluctance to using needles for collecting samples from infants under a certain age. Additionally, 
    many prisons do not allow phlebotomists to bring in needles for collecting samples from prisoners. 

    While Genetic Testing Mostly Expedites the Paternity Establishment Process, Staff are 
    Concerned About Scheduling Delays and Parties Intentionally Using Testing to Delay 
    Paternity Establishment. 

    Thirty-nine State child support agencies report that genetic testing sometimes prolongs the 
    paternity establishment process, yet only seven view these delays as a problem. Similarly, only 
    eight percent of local child support office managers in focus States view delays attributed to 
    genetic testing as a problem. Test results are typically returned to local offices two to four weeks 
    after genetic samples are submitted, but occasionally take longer. Time may be wasted prior to 
    the test because caseworkers report difficulty in scheduling appointments for parties to submit 
    samples of genetic material. Finally, mothers and putative fathers often use the genetic testing 
    process to undermine or stall paternity establishment efforts. Local workers in several offices 
    reported frustration caused by these delays: 

    “He comes in and wants to be drawn. I have to wait two months for a draw date, 
    and then it’s going to take six to eight weeks for the results to come back. Well, 
    that’s not going to meet our 90 day [goal] right there. I don’t see how it could be 
    improved, unless we did it weekly. So that’s a barrier, not having testing as often 
    as you’d like.” 

    “A lot of [putative fathers] have learned if they ask for a blood test, it’s going to 
    prolong it. So a lot of them ask for it even though they know they are the father. 
    They’ve just learned to work the system.” 

    As previously noted, the major reason genetic testing delays paternity establishment is because 
    parents delay testing. Mothers and putative fathers frequently fail to appear for scheduled testing 
    appointments. This situation requires re-scheduling or may cause a case to be switched from 
    administrative to judicial procedures. If only the courts may order testing, or must approve 
    orders for testing, further delays may ensue. States attempt to overcome these delays by testing 
    parties, especially putative fathers, the first time they appear at a local child support office or at 
    court. Many offices arrange appointments with putative fathers and mothers on specific days in 
    which phlebotomists are scheduled to be in the office or at court. 

    Cases are also delayed when mothers intentionally name the wrong man as the father. It may take 
    weeks or months to exclude the first putative father, before workers can get another name and 
    begin the genetic testing process again. To discourage these intentional delays, one focus State 
    instituted a policy of designating a mother on public assistance as non-cooperative, and imposing 
    sanctions, if the first two men she named as father were excluded by genetic testing. This policy 
    has been challenged in court because it is difficult for caseworkers to determine if mothers are 
    attempting to defraud the system, or truly do not know which of several men is the father of her 


    Some State agencies and local child support offices are using promising strategies to overcome 
    barriers to the use of genetic testing including, as previously discussed, not charging fathers for 
    paternity testing. Other promising strategies include: collecting genetic samples without using 
    needles, and; immediate collection of genetic samples at local child support offices. 

    While Buccal Swab Sampling Overcomes Barriers Associated With Drawing Blood, Its Use is 
    Limited and Some Authorities Still Prefer Blood Samples. 

    Only three States do not yet use buccal swab sampling, a method that uses cells swabbed from the 
    cheek instead of drawn blood, to obtain genetic material needed in paternity testing. Despite the 
    widespread acceptance of swab sampling in States, clients may not have access to the method in 
    some areas. Offices in three of our six focus States have near universal access to swab sampling, 
    yet access in the other three States is limited with 38 percent of local offices reporting no swab 
    sampling. There appears to be confusion among some State and local offices regarding the 
    acceptance of swab sampling. State agency respondents in one focus State indicate buccal swab 
    sampling is not allowed for paternity testing in their State, yet 13 local child support office 
    managers (68%) report some use of the method in their areas. 

    Child support staff suggest three explanations for local variation in access to swab sampling. In 
    one respect, inconsistent implementation may simply reflect which services are provided by 
    genetic testing vendors. Many States contract with private companies to collect samples and test 
    for paternity. If a vendor handling a region of the State only uses drawn blood, parties may not 
    have other options. A second explanation involves possible resistance to the buccal swab method 
    by local judicial authorities. Many local child support offices still rely heavily on the court system 
    and appear to conform testing procedures to the preferences of local judges.

    Buccal swab sampling is preferred over drawing blood by 29 State child support agencies and 41 
    percent of local office managers in the six focus States.12 Swab sampling is preferred primarily 
    because it is less invasive for all parties, especially children. Swabbing also avoids client fear of 
    needles, which was identified by about 40 percent of State agencies as a barrier to the use of 
    genetic testing for both mothers and putative fathers. The method is also viewed as easier, faster 
    and safer to administer than blood sampling. With no fear of the safety risks associated with 
    handling blood, a few local managers note that their staff has been trained to perform the simple 
    swabbing procedure. State administrators also indicate that swab sampling is the most acceptable 
    method for collecting samples from infants under a certain age. Finally, many prisons do not 
    allow needles, leaving swabbing as the only method for obtaining samples from prisoners. A local 
    child support worker describes the typical view of sample collection using swabs, reporting: 

    “We do buccal swab here, so I tell the client there are no needles, and no blood, 
    and that makes it easier because sometime they have young kids and don’t want to 
    get them stuck.” 

    Eleven State agencies and 23 percent of local child support managers in focus States prefer drawn 
    blood sampling. The primary reason given for preferring blood to swabs is a misconception that it 
    provides scientifically more reliable results. Phlebotomists explain, however, that the DNA is the 
    same in every cell of the body and the accuracy of testing performed on cheek cells collected with 
    a swab is the same as using blood.13 Another reason for preferring blood samples is that, if 
    performed improperly, swabbing may not collect enough cells for paternity testing and may 
    require re-sampling. Some child support staff indicate that blood samples have stronger standing 
    in court proceedings. One worker suggests that blood sampling is less vulnerable to fraud and 
    another believes it “motivates some putative fathers to sign the [voluntary acknowledgment],” 
    because they do not want to face the needle. 

    Collection of Genetic Samples in Local Child Support Offices Surmounts Barriers That Delay 
    Paternity Establishment, But This Service is Not Offered in Most Areas. 

    Some States are attempting immediate collection of genetic samples, on-site, at local child 
    support offices or in court. Parties may submit samples of genetic material at local child support 
    offices in 29 States. However, implementation is rarely Statewide and often only a fraction of 
    local offices offer this service. Fourteen of these States do report that all or nearly all of their 
    local child support offices are equipped to draw blood or perform swab sampling. However, 12 
    States report that only a few offices have sampling equipment and 20 States report that none of 
    their local offices are equipped for sample collection. 

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