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Child Support Enforcement

By Nancy Kellman

The receipt of child support on a timely basis for millions of American mothers and their children is very important. There exists a national Child Support Enforcement Program to help promote family self-sufficiency and child well-being. It is a federal/state/local partnership. Child support agencies locate non-custodial parents, establish paternity when necessary, establish orders for support and collect child support payments for families.

All states run a child support enforcement program, either in the human services department or department of revenue, often with the help of district attorneys and other law enforcement agencies and officials of family or domestic relations courts. Families seeking child support services must apply directly through their state or local agency which is running the program. Today almost $18 billion in child support is distributed to a caseload of about 17 million.

Child Support services are available to a parent with custody of a child who has a parent of the child living outside of the home. Services are available automatically for families receiving assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Current child support collected reimburses the state and federal governments for TANF payments made to the family. Those not receiving public assistance can apply for child support services. Child support payments that are collected on behalf of non-TANF families are sent to the family.

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement maintains an Internet site that is always available and open to give general child support information. It provides access to state child support agency Internet sites as well. Questions regarding a specific case are best answered by the state child support agency since states are responsible for the day-to-day administration of the program. Find out more at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/.

By Nancy Kellman, Contributing Writer SearchMothers.com

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