OKLAHOMA CITY -- The National Child Support Enforcement Association will award Oklahoma Child Support Services (OCSS), a division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS), with its Outstanding Program of the Year Award for 2011. The national award recognizes a State, Regional, Tribal or County program that has consistently and comprehensively exemplified the best in child support enforcement through an outstanding record of performance and in providing effective services to its constituency and its community.
The award will be presented to Gary W. Dart, OCSS director, at NCSEA’s Annual Conference and Expo in Atlanta, GA, on Aug. 1. Dart received written notification from NCSEA’s executive director Colleen Delaney Eubanks.
“The Awards Committee was impressed with the outstanding achievements of the Oklahoma program over the past several years,” Eubanks writes. “The accomplishments and innovation of your program are commended and is the type of national model the Outstanding Program Award is intended to highlight.”
A copy of the award announcement letter is available here (.pdf, 1 pp, 34 KB).
Applicants for the national award substantiated their performance in five areas: paternity establishment, child support order establishment, collections on current child support, collections on past-due child support, and cost effectiveness. Oklahoma has been first in the nation in paternity establishment almost every year since 2004, improved support order establishment by 21% in the last decade, improved current support collections by 24% -- more than twice the national average, had the nation’s fourth highest growth rate in collections of past-due support, and improved cost effectiveness at a rate more than 250% the national average.
Mr. Dart summarized the honor with the following statement. “We are proud of our program and what we do for Oklahoma’s children. In the late 1990s, our staff made a decision to turn the page on the past and become a program committed to continuous improvement. As a result, from 2000 to 2009, our rate of increase in total collections became the second highest in the nation. We are honored to be named as the nation’s Outstanding Program for 2011.”
Gov. Mary Fallin signed a proclamation last week making August “Child Support Awareness Month” in Oklahoma. The proclamation is available here.
“As a father myself, I know parents have no greater responsibility than supporting their children to the best of their ability,” said Jeff Wagner, OCSS spokesperson and organizer of Child Support Awareness Month activities statewide. “I’m proud of the work we do to ensure parents meet their obligations, and we appreciate every opportunity to build greater awareness about the child support program and how it benefits children, families, and Oklahoma taxpayers.”
For more information about Oklahoma Child Support Services, call 1-800-522-2922 or visit www.okdhs.org and select “Child Support.”
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 201,000 active child support cases, collecting more than $317 million in the last year on behalf of children and families.