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States Focus on Collecting Child Support


Across the country there is an ever-present problem of unpaid child support. While the traditional methods of garnishing wages, seizing tax refunds and lottery winnings nets results, some states are taking child support enforcement a step further. The methods of increasing the amount of child support payments that are collected vary, but the common goal is to provide children with financial support from both parents after divorce.

State Website Increases Child-Support Collections

Since all employers are required by federal law to report newly hired employees to a new hire directory, the state of Illinois has decided to use the law to help collect child support payments. All fulltime, part-time, temporary and rehired employees must be reported to the new hire directory by the employer within 20 days of starting work. Illinois Governor Rod B. Blagojevich has announced that the state's new hire reporting website will be improved, resulting in more child support payments being collected.

The Illinois new hire Web site has already proven to be an effective tool for child support collections. In the 2008 fiscal year it helped set a new record for the amount of child support that was collected. The site will be further improved with new features and enhanced security.

In the 2008 fiscal year, the new hire reporting Web site was credited with the collection of over $47 million in child support payments. This marked the fourth year in a row that the Department of Healthcare and Family Services has set a record for the amount of child support collected according to Government Technology.

Employers have been able to report new hires by mail, fax, e-mail, by submitting a magnetic file, but now will also be able to enter information directly into the Web site database. The information on new hires includes the employee's name, home address, Social Security number and specific employer information. Over 295,000 new employee hires have been reported on the Illinois new hire Web site since its launch.

Another State Program Helps Parents Keep Up With Child Support

In Oklahoma, county child support offices across the state have developed a program to help parents who owe child support keep up with the payments.

The Court Liaison Program assists noncustodial parents with finding and keeping jobs so that their court-ordered child support obligations will be paid. Enid News reported that the goal of the statewide program is to impact the lives of noncustodial parents and help them become productive citizens who are active in their children's lives.

The program focuses on parents who have poor histories of making child support payments. Often these individuals are facing challenges that prevent them from getting or keeping a job. Many may have felony convictions, long-term illnesses, mental illnesses or substance abuse problems in addition to little or no job training or transportation.

Noncustodial parents that have had a problem making child support payments may be ordered into the program by the family court, referred by their caseworker or voluntarily participate. Officials say that parents who owe child support have been receptive to the program after they have realized that it was put in place to help them.

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