CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ Division of Child Support Enforcement collected $109,000 during the first three months of a new partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The funds were collected from Sept. to Dec. 2007 from 171 individuals. This innovative collaboration utilizes IDNR’s new point of sale hunting/fishing license technology to identify deadbeat parents who apply for hunting or fishing licenses. Parents interested in applying for licenses for the 2008 season are encouraged to review and meet any child support obligations they may have before the new IDNR license year begins April 1.
“As a new year of hunting and fishing gets underway, we want to make sure that parents are aware of their obligations,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “It’s important that parents meet their financial obligations to support their children, before they spend that money for their own recreation. Ultimately, we will deny deadbeat parents the right to hunt and fish, if they fail to meet their responsibilities to their children.”
The Division of Child Support Enforcement expects that collections through this new enforcement method will increase in the coming weeks, as more parents apply for hunting and fishing licenses. The 2007 licenses expire on Mar. 31, 2008.
During his administration, Gov. Blagojevich has launched a number of innovative and aggressive programs to improve child support collections, including the Deadbeat Parents website and the Passport Denial Program. These changes have helped produce results. In fiscal year 2007, the Illinois child support collections reached $1.22 billion, an increase of more than 7 percent from the $1.14 billion record-breaking collections for the state in fiscal year 2006. In 2001, by comparison, $726 million was collected.
As a result, Illinois is being recognized as a national leader in child support enforcement. In Sept. 2007, Illinois was honored by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement with a Commissioner’s Award of Excellence for High Performance. This award recognizes Illinois for performance in all areas of the national strategic plan for child support. In August 2006, Illinois was named the 2006 Most Improved Program in the country by the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA). The NCSEA recognizes outstanding achievements in child support enforcement and the 2006 award was given to the State of Illinois’ program for its increased collections and new programs. Seven years ago, Illinois was ranked among the worst programs in the country.
Child support enforcement services are available to any parent who needs assistance in establishing legal parentage, establishing child support or medical support, or enforcing support. Some enforcement tools, like interception of income tax refunds, are available only to customers of the child support enforcement program. To register for free child support enforcement services, parents must complete and sign an application. Applications are available online at http://www.ilchildsupport.com/ or by phone at 1-800-447-4278.