My tenure as a member of the Texas Child Support Division provided me a unique perspective on the impact that receiving emotional and financial support from both parents can have on a child’s future. Regular and reliable child support payments can mean increased stability, improved intellectual development, and less stress.
I was proud to see that Texas was recently recognized by the National Child Support Enforcement Association as having the nation’s most outstanding child support program. The state has collected more than $31 billion in child support payments since 2002, which means many children are living better lives.
What’s even more amazing is they’ve been able to reach more and more families without expending additional resources. One key to making a state child support program more successful and cost-effective is improving public awareness and perception. This can be accomplished by:
- Partnering up. Often times, child support has a stigma or conjures up feelings of frustration with the system. A child support agency can educate people about the value of the child support program by strategically partnering with community-based organizations, other state agencies, public schools, the judiciary and the private bar.
- Remembering the families. People are not transactions. Child support drums up many emotions. These can be kept in check by creating a more family-centered approach to child support services. Family-centered programs concentrate on making the entire family successful. They may include providing opportunities for parenting time with the children and resources to obligors with special challenges – like unemployment, incarceration or disabilities.
- Recognizing Talent. There are many facets to orchestrating a child support program. Some are left best to technology, while others require employees or partners with the right expertise and a good dose of compassion. States must recognize what functions can be centralized, standardized, automated and what needs a human touch to find the greatest efficiencies.
We’re proud to work with Texas and other states. Together we are ensuring that children receive the support due to them from both parents, and we’re working to help them have a brighter future.