ATLANTA (GA) – Child support collections reached a record $554.2 million last year in Georgia, according to Robert Riddle, director of the Georgia Department of Human Resources’ Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE).
“Child support is a lifeline for families,” says 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 five 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 $554.2 million were collected during state fiscal year 2004, which ended June 30.
OCSE sends the money directly to custodial parents, through either direct deposit or debit card accounts. Paper checks are being phased out. “The payments are now reaching families faster, and they don’t have to worry about delayed, lost or stolen checks,” says Riddle. “In addition, we expanded online services so both custodial and non-custodial parents can have easier access to information about their case. All these innovations are saving Georgia taxpayers millions of dollars in staff time, printing and postage.”
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 231,000 non-custodial parents with child support cases made payments to OCSE in fiscal year 2004, benefiting some 516,000 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. The fee is $25 for any parent who does not receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
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