OKLAHOMA CITY -- An online tool for finding parents who have a child support obligation launches Nov. 1 under a new law intended to hold more parents responsible for supporting their children.
The law allows Oklahoma Child Support Services to solicit the public’s help in locating absent parents in child support cases. The new Most Wanted Missing Parents Program significantly expands on the agency’s Most Wanted list, allowing it to include more parents, including those who have been established as fathers but have failed to appear in court to establish a child support order.
“When parents fail a legal obligation to support their children, there can be serious social consequences for the child and serious legal consequences for the parent,” said Jeff Wagner, spokesperson for OCSS.
“We’ll be able to locate more parents than ever before, improving collections by resolving otherwise unworkable cases at no additional cost or risk to the State of Oklahoma or taxpayers.”
In the last eight years, the Oklahoma Child Support Services’ Most Wanted list helped locate more than 600 people owing child support. The law seeks to improve that track record by expanding the number and types of individuals who may appear on a list.
Oklahoma Child Support Services is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. The new law gives OKDHS the authority to release a delinquent or missing parent “Most Wanted” type list of individuals who are in arrears in their court-ordered child support obligations or who are sought for the purpose of establishing a child support order. The list includes the individual’s name, photograph when available, last known address, and amount of any child support arrearage.
Under the law, disclosures made by OKDHS in a good faith effort to support its Most Wanted Missing Parents Program may not be considered violations of any confidentiality laws.
Beginning Nov. 1, the public may view and contribute information to the OCSS Most Wanted Missing Parents Program by visiting www.okdhs.org and selecting “CS Most Wanted” from the Quick Links on the left-hand side of the screen.
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 $318 million last year on behalf of children and families.