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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2005

Governor Declares August is Child Support Month
Official Proclamation Recognizes Strengthened Enforcement and Increased Collections for Illinois’ Children

CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that August is Child Support Month and honored the Division of Child Support Enforcement with an official proclamation recognizing its success in strengthening enforcement and increasing collections for Illinois’ children.  Governor Blagojevich recently signed five bills into law that further improve the state’s child support services under the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS).
 
“Every year, it gets more expensive to raise children and every year even more children are being raised by single parents. Moms and dads who are bringing up families alone shouldn’t have to bear the financial burden alone.  My Administration has taken major steps to turn the child support system around in Illinois, and our efforts are paying off.  Deadbeat parents are hearing us loud and clear – If you don’t pay up, the state of Illinois is coming after you,” said Governor Blagojevich.
In July, Governor Blagojevich announced a record breaking $1 billion in child support payments have been made this year. The funds will provide 386,000 Illinois parents with the money they need to care for their children. More than $100 million of the $1 billion collected went to parents whose child support was severely overdue. Collections on cases receiving enforcement services from HFS grew 8.5 percent, surpassing the national average of 3 percent growth.  

During the month of August, HFS outreach staff will travel throughout the state to increase awareness on the new innovative and aggressive programs the Governor has implemented to improve collection for Illinois’ working families.
 
“The children of Illinois have found a passionate, determined advocate in Governor Blagojevich,” said Barry Maram, director of HFS. “We are acting quickly and efficiently to ensure that our children get the support they need and deserve.”
 
Laura Cassidy-Jaquez, a mother of two from Stone Park, IL, said she has witnessed a transformation in Illinois child support enforcement since Governor Blagojevich took office. “Five years ago, I would call to have my case re-filed, and it would never get done – my file would just disappear,” said Cassidy-Jaquez. “Since Governor Blagojevich started making changes, I haven’t had to worry about my family falling through the cracks, and I rest easy now knowing that my case is in responsive and efficient hands.”
 
Child support is the second largest income source for low-income families who qualify for the program.  In 2003, more than 846,735 children in Illinois were owed child support payments totaling about $3 billion, with a collection rate of 28 percent. Today, the collection rate is 32 percent, with 741,787 children’s support being enforced by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
 
This dramatic turnaround follows years of poor child support collection.  But, over the past two years, Governor Blagojevich launched a number of innovative and aggressive programs to improve collection to help working parents, including: a Deadbeat Parents Website that identifies parents who owe more than $5,000 in child support payments, resulting in the collection of over $172,000 in back payments  (http://www.ilchildsupport.com/deadbeats); HFS received federal certification of the Key Information Delivery System (KIDS), the main computer for the child support process; the New Hire Initiative made it easier for employers to comply with the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s New Hire Directory by establishing a toll-free hotline to get information and clarification about the law, and developed easy-to-understand marketing materials that assisted in the employer education process; and the Sheridan Rehabilitation Project that helps ex-offenders access jobs and training so they can meet their child support obligations. 
 
These initiatives and resulting success earned the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) a $7 million federal bonus award for meeting federal child support indicators, the largest incentive ever received by Illinois under a performance based system.
 
The Governor signed five pieces of Child Support legislation this summer.
 
  • Making the child support process more efficient: House Bill 785, makes child support collection more efficient by updating the process to reflect current practices.  The law is effective January 1, 2006.
  • Adding interest to unpaid alimony: Senate Bill 95, an initiative of the Illinois State Bar Association, provides that any new or existing order including any unallocated maintenance obligation (alimony) shall accrue simple interest at the rate of 9 percent per annum, just as child support obligations.  This law is effective January 1, 2006.
  • Improving ability to legally serve notices on non-custodial parents: Senate Bill 955 improves the Department's ability to legally serve notices on non-custodial parents.  This law is effective immediately. 
  • Making sure the family receives interest payments first: Senate Bill 452 simplifies the calculation and distribution of interest on unpaid child support and ensures that collections of interest are paid to the family first.  This law is effective January 1, 2006.
  • Making payments easier through currency exchanges: HB 783 allows a non-custodial parent to give certain information to a currency exchange so that their child support payments can be made there, giving the non-custodial parent more access to places where they can make payments.
 
Governor Blagojevich’s proclamation to the Division of Child Enforcement Services is attached.
 

Child Support Month Outreach Events

 
 
August 3 – 7
 
Kankakee County Fair
 
Kankakee County Fairgrounds
Kankakee
 
10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
 
August 3 – 5
 
McLean County Fair
 
McLean County Fairgrounds
Bloomington
 
12 p.m. – 9 p.m.
 
August 4 – 7
 
Kendall County Fair
 
Kendall County Fairgrounds
Yorkville
 
12 p.m. – 9 p.m.
 
 
August 5
 
Senator Miguel del Valle and Representative William Delgado Back-to-School Family Health Fair
 
Mozart Park
3840 West Armitage Avenue
Chicago
 
 
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
 
August 10
 
DuPage County Back-to-School Fair
 
 
DuPage County Fairgrounds
2015 West Manchester Road
Wheaton
 
11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
 
August 10
 
State Rep. Milton Patterson
32nd District Seminar
 
Vincennes Senior Center
7326 South Yale
Chicago
 
10:30 a.m.
 
August 11
 
Tri-County Economic Development Day
 
 
Martin Luther King Comm. Center
630 Martin Luther King Drive
Rock Island
 
12 p.m. – 7 p.m.
 
August 14
 
Senator Debbie Halvorson
“Reach Out” – A community fair
 
14th Street and Chicago Road
Chicago Heights
 
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
 
August 17
 
State Rep. Milton Patterson
32nd District Seminar
 
St. Brendan’s
6711 South Elizabeth
Chicago
 
10 a.m.
 
August 19
 
Health & Education Fair
 
3333 West Arthington
Chicago
 
 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
 
August 26
 
Lutheran Family Mission Headstart Health Fair
 
4920 West Madison Street
Chicago
 
2:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
 
August 28
 
WTTW Fun and Run
 
Lincoln Park
Chicago
 
8 a.m.  – 12 p.m.
 
 


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