OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) announced today that Oklahoma Child Support Services’ (OCSS) ending caseload in April was 200,240, topping 200,000 for the first time in the OKDHS division’s history.
There are 222,740 children in this record-setting caseload. In federal fiscal year 2010, OCSS distributed more than $300 million in child support collections, also an Oklahoma record.
Reliable child support helps a family achieve and sustain financial stability, easing the custodial parent’s worries about financial issues and reducing the family’s long-term need for other kinds of state assistance. OCSS is number two in the nation in collections growth over the last 10 years.
“Healthy families need reliable resources,” said Gary W. Dart, OCSS administrator, “and having a reliable source of financial support is one very critical resource.”
Eligibility for some OKDHS programs requires parents to seek child support from the non-custodial parent. Others open cases with OCSS for a variety of reasons, including access to its enforcement remedies -- like wage assignment and tax refund intercepts -- or for the peace of mind that clear monitoring and documentation can provide to avoid the “he said, she said” when determining amounts owed.
Unlike most state assistance programs, there are no income-based eligibility requirements for child support services. Either parent may apply to open a current support case.
“Research shows that children who receive financial support from both parents do better in school and have improved development over those who don’t,” said Jeff Wagner, OCSS program administrator for communications.
“Parents who pay child support regularly are also shown to be more involved with their children, providing them with emotional as well as financial support. It’s critical to our whole society that parents take responsibility for raising their children.”
Oklahoma Child Support Services is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. To promote healthy families, OCSS establishes, monitors and enforces reliable support while encouraging self-sufficiency and strengthening relationships. The division is responsible for more than 200,000 active child support cases, collecting approximately $300 million a year on behalf of children and families.