N.D. Child Support Collections Exceed $91 Million in 2003
January 13, 2004
Bismarck, N.D. - The North Dakota Department of Human Services announced that child support collections totaled $91.5 million in 2003 - a five percent increase over 2002 totals. Officials attribute part of the increase to stronger federal and state enforcement tools. Federal tax refund intercepts, for example, increased by about 12 percent totaling $4 million in 2003.
"Enforcement efforts are providing more children with parental support. We are pleased with the increased collections, and we will be working to strengthen support for children even more in 2004," said state Child Support Enforcement Division Director Mike Schwindt.
Commenting on the growth in collections, department Executive Director Carol K. Olson said, "The 2003 state legislature approved legislation to promote parental responsibility and to deter people from falling behind in their child support obligations. The enforcement tools are working."
The portion of the child support caseload referred by public assistance programs and by custodial parents totaled $59.4 million. According to Schwindt, collections for this segment of cases grew by 7.6 percent from the previous year.
Schwindt credited North Dakota employers for honoring income-withholding orders, which are the most effective enforcement mechanism. Other enforcement tools include the denial of passports, credit bureau reporting, tax refund intercepts, estate recovery, as well as the revocation of driver licenses, professional licenses, recreational licenses, and motor vehicle registrations.
North Dakota's child support enforcement program impacts about 140,000 people, mainly children. Enforcement services involve county-operated regional child support enforcement units, county social service boards, judges, judicial referees, clerks of court, state's attorneys, the department's Child Support Enforcement Division, and information technology professionals from the department and state.
Heather Steffl, N.D. Department of Human Services, (701) 328-4933