CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today issued a proclamation declaring August “Child Support Awareness Month” in Illinois. The Governor’s proclamation coincides with Futures for Kids Day at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, a day of activities for the Fair’s youngest visitors. Last month, the Governor announced that during fiscal year 2008, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services collected a record amount of child support for Illinois families.
“Our children depend on us for provision and safety. So on a day set aside for kids, it is the right time to remind parents of the steps Illinois has taken to make sure children have the financial support they deserve,” said Governor Blagojevich. “Meeting your obligations to your children should come first and we will continue to impose consequences for parents who do not support their children.”
During fiscal year 2008, the Governor announced HFS collected $1.33 billion in child support for Illinois’ children. That amount is more than 8 percent more than the $1.22 billion collected during the previous fiscal year. This marks the fourth consecutive year the Department has collected a record amount of unpaid child support. Success has been due primarily to innovative programs geared toward holding non-custodial parents accountable.
“Most parents provide the necessary support to their children, but there are consequences for those who do not,” said HFS Director Barry S. Maram. “Helping parents meet their obligations to their children strengthens families, and the Department is proud to offer free child support enforcement services to any parent who needs our assistance.”
During the past year, HFS has employed innovative programs to impose consequences on parents who are not paying child support. Working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, HFS is making sure parents who do not first support their children financially will not be given the privilege of hunting and fishing permits. Starting this year, Illinois drivers who do not pay child support will have their driver’s licenses suspended through the Department’s Driver’s License Suspension Program, a joint effort with Secretary of State Jesse White. In addition to new and expanded programs, HFS continues to see success through other effective methods, such as the Deadbeat Parent Web site and the Governor’s New Hire Outreach program.
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, such as 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 calling 1-800-447-4278 for assistance.
The Governor’s proclamation is as follows:
WHEREAS, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services has been given the responsibility of providing child support services to all Illinois families, and
WHEREAS, Illinois recognizes that children need strong family support; and
WHEREAS, Illinois works to focus attention on the needs of children to have both parents' involvement in their children's lives; and
WHEREAS, under my administration, Illinois Child Support Enforcement was named the Most Improved Program in the nation for 2006 by the National Child Support Enforcement Association and was given the Commissioner's Award for Excellence in Performance in 2007 by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement; and
WHEREAS, Illinois' focus on improving outcomes for families has resulted in record-breaking collections of more than $1.33 billion dollars; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services is working closely with the Department of Human Services, Public Health, Children and Family Services, Employment Security, Corrections, Revenue, Natural Resources, the Secretary of State other state and county agencies as well as community groups to increase the number of children for whom paternity is established and whose families receive child support services; and
WHEREAS, Illinois is playing a lead role in helping strengthen Illinois families through innovation and sound practices in child support services;
THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim August, 2008 as CHILD SUPPORT AWARENESS MONTH in Illinois to promote the importance of child support and to affirm the continued commitment of my administration to helping our children receive the love and care that is vital to their success and the future welfare of Illinois.