Mark Kleine, information technology manager for McCoy Tree Surgery, headquartered in Norman, viewed the New Hire Reporting law as a work challenge. In order to comply with the law, which requires companies to report all newly hired employees to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, who then reports them to OKDHS, while minimizing the workload on his organization, Kleine designed a system for his company that automatically reports new hires.
"We started by just trying to comply with the law," said Kleine, "then we found out that we're actually helping the children of our state and the country get the support they need."
McCoy Tree Surgery, a 60-year-old company, operates in several states and employs more than 500 people. The company's process, including income assignment orders, has served as a model for other companies.
"We were initially invited by OKDHS to share our experience with how we got our system going," said Kleine. "It was the least we could do after all the work we've done to streamline the process. We're a big enough operation to have IT, and we're interested in providing training. The process has saved us money and time."
A federal, state, tribal and private sector partnership, the Child Support Enforcement program helps strengthen families and reduce dependency by ensuring that parents support their children.
The welfare reform act, Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), requires employers to report newly hired employees to a state agency. New Hire Reporting allows employers to report newly hired employees to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. The OESC then reports all new hire information to OKDHS Child Support Enforcement.
OKDHS matches new hire reports to child support records in order to locate parents, establish child support orders or enforce existing child support orders.
Most information is submitted by the employee on the W-4 form. The majority of employers participating in the New Hire Program report 'no' or 'minor' cost impacts to their business. OESC and OKDHS offer employers several reporting methods to ease any burden they might incur.
Child support enforcement services are available automatically for families receiving assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Foster Care and Medicaid programs. Additionally, child support services are available at no or minimal cost to any family who applies.
- OKDHS collected more than $187.5 million in child support in fiscal year 2005
- More than 177,000 children benefited from OKDHS child support cases in fiscal year 2005