July 20, 2005
ATLANTA (GA) – A record amount of $590 million in child support was collected and distributed to Georgia families last year, according to Robert Riddle, director of the Georgia Department of Human Resources’ Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE).
“Child support ensures a basic standard of living for many children and helps families remain self-sufficient,” said OCSE Director Robert Riddle. “Close to one in four Georgia children – 24 percent – receives support from a non-custodial parent through our program. We are very pleased that our collections rose six percent over the previous year, even though many parents are still having trouble finding steady jobs. We hope to do even better next year.” The $590 million were collected during state fiscal year 2005, which ended June 30.
OCSE sends the money directly to custodial parents through either direct deposit or debit card accounts, which replaced paper checks last summer. “A year ago we switched to a system that gets support to families more quickly and without the problems caused by stolen or lost checks,” said Riddle. “Following that, we continued to improve customer service by expanding our Constituent Services Portal so both custodial and non-custodial parents can apply for services, track payments and update their case information online.” The portal is available in both English and Spanish at OCSE’s Web site: ocse.dhr.georgia.gov.
OCSE helps custodial parents obtain court orders and collects the payments. The agency also distributes support payments for a smaller number of parents who did not require state help to establish their cases. A total of approximately 239,160 non-custodial parents with child support cases made payments to OCSE in fiscal year 2005, benefiting some 515,062 children.
Legislation allows DHR to collect overdue child support directly from tax refund checks, lottery winnings and worker’s compensation settlements, as well as salary checks going to non-custodial parents who are under court order to pay. Parents more than two months behind may have their driver’s license or professional license suspended.
Custodial parents may apply to any OCSE office for help finding an absent parent, establishing paternity, getting a court order, collecting support and enforcing payment through legal remedies. Non-custodial parents may apply to ask OCSE to maintain an official record of their payments, and those with a support order through OCSE may apply for help with child visitation or enroll in the Fatherhood Program that helps low-income parents increase their earning power. The fee for services is $25 for any parent who does not receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
For information, contact:
Barbara Joye: 404/657-1385