OKLAHOMA CITY -- When British Petroleum (BP) established a $20 billion fund to pay claims associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil well spill, Oklahoma Child Support Services (OCSS) researched ways to stake a claim on money owed to noncustodial parents behind on their child support payments. That effort is paying off for Oklahoma families.
The original plan was to send an electronic list of all noncustodial parents owing child support to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF). GCCF would check the list before paying a claim and anytime there was a match the money would be sent to Oklahoma. All of the other states would do the same thing to make the process easier on GCCF. After months of negotiation, GCCF decided they did not want to do an automated data match to help states collect child support.
OCSS was determined not to let this opportunity to help families slip away.
“We wanted to ensure children still received support even though their primary income source had been disrupted” said OCSS director Gary Dart.
OCSS developed a method to determine which parents were most likely to have a connection to BP, generating a list of almost 22,000 noncustodial parents. Last November, a subpoena for each case was created, stuffed in an envelope and boxed up. The stack of subpoenas was 70” high and took five boxes to mail.
After receiving the massive amount of paper subpoenas, GCCF called OCSS to learn how to set up an electronic data match not only for Oklahoma but for all states. The electronic data match information was accepted by GCCF in Feb. 2011. The first checks began arriving in July, and to date, OCSS has received $18,986.57 in past due child support through GCCF.
For more information about Oklahoma Child Support Services, call 1-800-522-2922 or visit www.okdhs.org and select “Child Support."
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 201,000 active child support cases, collecting more than $317 million in the last year on behalf of children and families.