Equal Access

Materials for Providers of Legal Self-Help Service

Self-Help Tracking and Reporting Survey (STARS)


STARS for Court-Based Family Law Facilitator and Self-Help Center Programs

Family Law Facilitator Program

Assembly Bill 1058 requires that the superior court in each of California’s 58 counties to maintain an Office of the Family Law Facilitator, with a California licensed attorney with experience in family law, to provide litigants with free education, information, and assistance with title IV-D child support issues. A family law facilitator helps demystify courtroom procedures and humanizes the court system. The family law facilitator helps ensure accurate child support orders by helping parents prepare their legal papers correctly and more fully understand how to present their cases in court.

The Office of the Family Law Facilitator receives Title IV-D funding for providing assistance on cases that are currently receiving services from the local child support agency and on issues involving paternity, child support order establishment, modification, enforcement or health insurance.

Self-Help Program

California Rule of Court 10.960 provides that self-help services are a core function of the courts. Court self-help centers provide assistance to self-represented litigants. A court self-help center must include an attorney and other qualified staff who provide information and education to self-represented litigants about the justice process, and who work within the court to provide for the effective management of cases involving self-represented litigants. The information and education provided by court self-help centers must be neutral and unbiased, and services must be available to all sides of a case.

In 2018, the State Budget provided an additional $19.1 million in funding for self-help services in addition to the previously budgeted $11.2 million for a total of $30.3 million. The Budget Act requires that the Judicial Council submit a report to the Legislature by November 30, 2020 regarding the use of those funds and assessing the costs and benefits of different ways of providing services and considering different ways of providing services based on case types.


Since 2003, Family Law Facilitator and Self-Help Center staff have reported customer encounter statistics to the Judicial Council using a Microsoft Access based program called the Family Law Facilitator Encounter Database (FLFED). The information reported by courts is  used to provide courts with a detailed picture of their AB 1058 and self-help customers and the services provided by the court, to report statewide statistics to the Department of Child Support Services, and to inform Judicial Branch policy and budget decision-making.

Reporting System Refresh: Self-Help Tracking and Reporting Survey

In Fiscal Year 18-19, the Judicial Council provided courts with a new and streamlined version of the encounter reporting tool, called the Self-Help Tracking and Reporting Survey or STARS. The STARS program was fully implemented statewide as of November 2018.

Improvements in data collection include:

  • A leaner set of items to report on each encounter;
  • A much more rapid reporting experience (less than 30 seconds per encounter);
  • Web-based, responsive interface that can be used on a desktop, tablet or phone;
  • Cloud-based data reporting with no more data transfer; and
  • Access to statistics on the court's own data

Technical Details

STARS uses the Qualtrics Survey Data platform, which is licensed to the Judicial Council. There is no cost to the local court for implementing the new reporting system. STARS is available through a unique internet link sent to each court by the Judicial Council. Confidential data is not collected through this system. No time metrics or workload data are collected through this system. Courts have access to their own data only.

For question regarding the STARS program, please email stars.support@jud.ca.gov.

Contact: Cassandra McTaggart, Principal Manager I, Center for Families, Children & the Courts, stars.support@jud.ca.gov.