October 2, 2007
ATLANTA (GA) – The Department of Human Resources (DHR) Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) is pleased to announce the initiation of its DNA collection program. Through this program, paternity results can be received in only 3 to 7 days; whereas the previous method of DNA collection could take up to 2 months. The program, which initiated earlier this month, is currently being piloted out of the Athens and Newnan Child Support Offices.
"Paternity establishment is the first step to strengthening families and providing resources to children" says OCSS Acting Director Keith Horton. "With the implementation of this program, OCSS can more effectively enforce parental responsibility."
Previously, OCSS would refer all paternity testing requests to a vendor. At that time, the vendor would then notify the involved parties and set up an appointment to swab the clients DNA. During the appointment, a technician/phlebotomist would take a DNA sample, photograph and fingerprint the involved parties, label the samples, and secure the samples for mailing to the lab. On average, the process of referring the father for testing, to the receipt of the test results would take six to eight weeks. However, through the OCSS DNA pilot program the Child Support Agent can simply swab the father, take the photograph, process the paperwork, and call the carrier for pick-up the same day. In addition to collecting DNA samples at OCSS offices, agents have also drawn samples for customers in court and jails.
OCSS has nearly 400,000 parents under order to pay child support and in fiscal year 2007, OCSS distributed nearly $600 million from regular paying parents to child support recipients. For non custodial parents who are willing, yet unable to pay their support regularly; OCSS provides parental assistance through the Fatherhood Program. The Fatherhood Program, designed for both mothers and fathers, is used to help non-custodial parents who lack the economic capacity to make timely payments due to employment barriers such as lack of a high school diploma or GED, no driver’s license or transportation, alcohol and substance abuse, criminal records, and mental health issues.
For information, contact:
Camille Cunningham, 404/463-5027