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NEW CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM SHOWS BENEFITS

Collecting child support can be a challenge for many custodial parents in Washington. In fact, as the recession has continued, even more non-custodial parents have found themselves unable to make their required monthly child support payments. It is these people that one state is working to find and assist in an effort to make the child support system work better for all involved.

In a new initiative that may be of interest to those in Washington, one state is trying a new approach to child support collection. When an individual who has been paying their child support begins to miss payments, the state agency in charge of child support collections assigns them a social worker. This social worker is tasked with determining why the individual has begun to miss their child support payments. If it is due to economic hardship or job loss, the social worker is able to offer programs such as job training and financial planning to help them get back on track and current in their payments.

Though this program is in its infancy, authorities in the state in which it is being utilized believe that it is working. This may be due in part to the $20.7 million more in child support payments collected as of late August, as compared to the same timeframe last year. The new program does not apply to those who have a history of intentionally failing to pay child support when they have the means to do so.

As many custodial parents in our state well know, it can be a challenge to make ends meet if the needed support payments fail to arrive. The money intended to go to pay for the basic needs of a child must be found elsewhere. It is the urgent need to collect child support payments that has led one state to try to make changes to help increase the flow of money to the families that need it. Other states will surely watch to see if the program succeeds and if similar measures could be implemented in their own jurisdiction.

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