CHICAGO – Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) Director Barry S. Maram today announced that for the fifth consecutive year, the department has collected a record amount of child support for Illinois children. The $1.38 billion collected for custodial parents during fiscal year 2009 is a slight increase over the amount collected during fiscal year 2008. This small increase reflects the nation’s economic recession, which has brought new challenges to collecting money from noncustodial parents who may be experiencing unemployment or decreased wages.
“We understand that the troubled economy means families are struggling, and custodial parents depend on child support perhaps more than ever before. As unemployment rises, we understand that increasingly more noncustodial parents are finding themselves out of work,” said Director Maram. “As a department, we will continue to help both parents get through these uncertain economic times and find the best possible way to make sure their children get the financial support they need.”
Despite the challenges posed by the current recession, the department was able to achieve successful collections though several programs proven to be effective in the past. The department continues a successful partnership with the Department of Natural Resources to deny hunting and fishing permits for parents who do not pay child support. HFS also continues to work with Secretary of State Jesse White’s office to suspend driver’s licenses belonging to parents who do not pay their child support.
Other tools used to target parents who do not pay child support include the Deadbeat Parent Web site, which is used as a last resort mechanism to collect child support from the most egregious evaders by posting their photos online. The New Hire Outreach Program, which has been highly successful in the past, saw significantly reduced success mainly due to rising unemployment numbers in Illinois. Decreasing numbers of new hires resulted in decreased collections.
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/. Parents who need assistance making arrangements to pay child support can go online or call 1-800-447-4278.