U.S. Child Support:

Needed Efforts Underway To Increase Collections From Absent Parents

HRD-85-5: Published: Oct 30, 1984. Publicly Released: Nov 29, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Child Support Enforcement Program at several state and local child support offices to report the program's progress in collecting support payments from absent parents and to recommend ways to increase the effectiveness of collection efforts.

GAO found that: (1) absent parents paid about half of the support owed, and about two-thirds of these parents' payments were delinquent by more than 30 days at least once during the study year; (2) there are few standards governing collection activities, and the agencies are not acting promptly or at all to collect past due amounts; and (3) the availability of collection services for families not in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children Program varies. GAO believes that the Child Support Enforcement Amendments of 1984 could significantly reform the enforcement and collection of child support and that the Department of Health and Human Service's Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) should remain cognizant of those factors that may have limited past collection performance and might under the new law. OCSE should also monitor the new law's effect on local agencies' ability to carry out the program's other functions.

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