Today, President Clinton announced a new child support crackdown aimed at the nations most egregious child support violators. Despite record child support collections, there are still too many parents who flagrantly ignore their obligations to their children, and the President will propose to spend $45 million to identify, investigate, and prosecute these deadbeat parents. The President took this action as he released new evidence that his Administrations child support efforts are working: child support collections have gone up a record 80 percent since he took office, from $8 billion in 1992 to an estimated $14.4 billion in 1998.
New Record Child Support Collections
Since taking office, President Clinton has made child support enforcement a top priority, and those efforts are paying off for children across America. New figures released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today show that child support collections have gone up a record 80 percent since the President took office, from $8 billion in 1992 to an estimated $14.4 billion 1998. Moreover, new figures show that the federal government has collected $1.1 billion this year by withholding federal tax refunds from deadbeat parents. Nearly 1.3 million families in all 50 states benefited from these tax refunds, which totaled $151 million in California, $63 million in Ohio, $52 million in Florida, and $48 million in New York (a state b state chart is available).
New Child Support Law Enforcement Initiative
To ensure that every parent pays the child support he owes, in June, President Clinton signed into law the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act, creating two new categories of federal felonies for the most egregious child support violators, a measure he had called for in his 1997 State of the Union address. Many prosecutors say they would be able to prosecute even more child support cases if they had legal staff dedicated to the issue and if they received referrals after a complete financial investigation had been conducted.
New Investigative Resources: Under this new initiative, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will establish investigative teams in five regions of the country to identify, analyze, and investigate cases for prosecution. These sites, costing approximately $12 million over five years, will serve 17 states plus D.C., which together have 63 percent of the nations child support cases. State child support offices will refer their most serious child support cases to these sites, where trained investigative staff will locate the violator, document information needed for prosecution, and then provide the investigated case to the appropriate prosecutor. These sites will be based upon a model law enforcement effort established earlier this year to serve five states, which in six months had produced an eighteenfold increase in federal convictions and collections.
New Prosecutorial Resources: To ensure U.S. Attorneys offices have the skilled legal staff they need to prosecute more deadbeat parents, the President proposes to provide new funds for legal support personnel, who will conduct fact finding and investigations, do legal research, and assist in the drafting of court papers. The Presidents new budget will include $34 million over five years, $5 million in FY 2000 rising to $8 million in later years, to fund an eightfold increase in legal support staff dedicated to child support. With this new staff, the U.S. Department of Justice expects to increase child support prosecutions significantly.