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Child Support Awareness Month Highlights Collections

August is Child Support Awareness Month. The Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services (HFS) recently issued a press release that emphasized some of the talks and activities associated with Child Support Awareness Month, including efforts to improve child support collections in Chicago and throughout the state. What else do you need to know about Child Support Awareness Month? And do such public outreach campaigns result in better child support collection efforts over the year?

Learning More About Child Support Awareness Month

As the press release explains, Child Support Awareness Month is all about ensuring that children in Illinois have the proper environment for success. The activities for this public awareness campaign kicked off on August 9, with a “Brighter Tomorrows” event featuring Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti. As Felicia Norwood, the Director of HFS explained, “in August we celebrate parents who support their children and children who benefit from the support of both parents.” She went on to articulate how “parents who pay and parents who receive child support are building healthy foundations for children.”

In Illinois, HFS serves around 480,000 families and provides a number of different child support services. When it comes to child support collections, HFS can help parents to obtain a child support order and to enforce it—collecting child support owed—when it is necessary. Norwood emphasized that child support is extremely important in terms of financially raising a child, but it can also have a psychological impact.

To be sure, financial child support payments provide economic help for kids, but those payments also provide “a lifelong knowledge that their parent cares enough to contribute to their well-being and needs.” As such, when parents pay child support on time according to the court order, it helps to “create a solid foundation that can build a brighter tomorrow for children.” On average, child support makes up around 16 percent of a family’s income in Illinois. Yet for families who are below poverty level, child support means even more. Indeed, for families beneath the poverty line, child support makes up around 45 percent of the total income.

Why is it So Important to Ensure that Child Support Gets Paid?

As we mentioned above, child support is extremely important for the financial well-being of children in single-parent households. At the same time, regular child support payments serve other purposes, too. The press release emphasizes the importance of enforcement efforts and child support collections because regular child support payments can help to do some of the following:

  • Support a family’s self-sufficiency;
  • Reduce public spending;
  • Increase involvement of noncustodial parents in their kids’ lives; and
  • Help improve the cognitive development of children owed child support.

During the last fiscal year, “more than $1.4 billion in child support was collected and disbursed,” the press release reported. And the HFS child support collections program is economically effective, collecting nearly $4.70 in owed child support for every $1 spent.

If you have questions about child support collections or need assistance having your child support order enforced, an experienced Chicago family law attorney can assist you. Contact M. Scott Gordon & Associates to learn more about how we can help.