North Dakota child support efforts rank third nationally
May 11, 2004
BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota ranks third among the states in child support enforcement efforts according to information compiled by Policy Studies Inc. The ranking, while preliminary, compares states on a number of performance measures including paternity establishment, the number of cases with child support orders established, the amount of child support that is due and is actually paid, collections on past due accounts, and efficient program operations. The ranking is based on preliminary 2003 federal fiscal year results. North Dakota ranked fourth last year.
“This report shows that North Dakotans do a good job of ensuring that children and families receive the support they deserve,” said Department of Human Services Executive Director Carol K. Olson. “State and county employees also deserve credit for their roles in achieving these results.”
Child support collections in North Dakota grew by 12.7 percent from the 2002 to the 2003 federal fiscal year. The state moved from fourth place to second place nationally in the collection of current child support obligations at 71.3 percent. The state was also able to collect past due support in 2.7 percent more of the cases.
Child Support Enforcement Division Director Mike Schwindt said, “This report is positive. We know that we can do even better to help children as we implement more enforcement tools.”
Schwindt noted that $17 million of current support was due but not collected on time last year. He equated that to families receiving only 70 percent of a paycheck each month. The total amount of unpaid child support in North Dakota totals about $200 million.
The report also shows that North Dakota runs an efficient program. For every dollar spent on child support enforcement, the state collects $4.93. Last year, each child support enforcement worker in North Dakota brought in an average of $393,000 in child support, which is a 15.7 percent increase over 2002.
There are about 150 people employed in the North Dakota child support enforcement program. Thirty-eight individuals work in the state office, and the rest are employed at the eight county-run regional enforcement units. Their work impacts about 140,000 people living in North Dakota, other states, and other countries.
Mike Schwindt (701) 328-3582 or Heather Steffl (701) 328-4933