State distributes poster to find child support offenders

State distributes poster to find child support offenders Gov. Bill Janklow has unveiled South Dakota's latest "Most Wanted" child support poster, featuring six of the state's most evasive child support offenders.

"The vast majority of parents not living with their children really do care about and try to support their children," Janklow said. "However, the people on this poster don't consider payment of their child support a priority in their lives, and it's their kids who suffer."

This year's poster, issued by the Department of Social Services (DSS), features six people who owe, in total, more than $94,000 in back support to their children. The poster contains each person's photograph, physical description, last known address and amount of support owed.

DSS distributes the posters to post offices, local law enforcement agencies, government offices and child support agencies in other states. The poster is also available on the state's Child Support Enforcement Web site at http://www.state.sd.us/social/CS. People with information or tips on the whereabouts of those on the poster should call Child Support Enforcement at (605) 773-3641 or send an email to cse@dss.state.sd.us.

Since the start of the Most Wanted Poster program in 1995, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has collected more than $317,000 from 41 of the 53 parents featured on the posters, Janklow said.

"Distributing the poster makes it really tough for people to just take off and abandon their kids without at least supporting them financially," Janklow said. "The poster also lets people know that we are serious about collecting child support.

During state fiscal year 2002 (July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2002), OCSE collected $68 million in child support, initiated more than 32,000 enforcement actions to collect child support payments on behalf of families and children, established paternity for 3.100 children born out of wedlock, established 2,400 new child support orders and processes 2,400 support order modifications, according to Terry Walter, OCSE Program Administrator.

Walter said child support collections continue to rise annually and have nearly tripled since state fiscal year 1994, when $24 million was collected.

"We have an extensive automated network of public and private sources to locate noncustodial parents and their income sources," Walter said. "Automation of many of the case management, collection and distribution functions has been a key factor in the overall success of our program."

Walter said the single, most significant improvement to the child support system during this period has been the state and federal new hire reporting programs implemented in 1997 following the federal welfare reform initiatives enacted by Congress. Under new hire reporting laws, employers in each state are required to notify their respective Department of Labor or new hire reporting agency of each newly hired employee within 20 days.

"Automated interfaces at the state and federal levels enable the Office of Child Support Enforcement to issue employers orders for withholding of income from noncustodial parents' paychecks," Walter said. "The cooperation and assistance of the employer community has been tremendous and is a key factor in assisting children to receive financial support from their parents."

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