Difficulties with Child Support Collections Enforcement

Difficulties with Child Support Collections Enforcement

By: M. Scott Gordon

For many Chicago residents who are having difficulty with child support collections, the fact that Chicago needs money to fund its child support enforcement program is no longer surprising. Indeed, we have previously discussed Cook County State’s Attorney’s plans to seek funding from the federal government to make up for a lack of funding from the state of Illinois. But the problem of a lack of funding has reached other parts of Illinois. According to a recent article in the Daily Herald, Illinois taxpayers may have to take on the burden of funding (at least in part) child support collections programs.

Absent State Funding for Child Support Collections Enforcement 

According to the article, taxpayers in Kane County—a location in Illinois in which many Chicago employees live and from which they commute to work—may shoulder the burden of child support enforcement costs if another solution does not arise soon. There are numerous single parents in the area who need assistance with child support collections, yet there remains a large void left by the lack of state funding.

What is the solution to the problem? One possible solution involves turning to taxpayers. The current Kane County State’s Attorney, Joe McMahon, has requested “an emergency loan that would put local taxpayers on the hook to pay for child support enforcement conducted by his office.” What kind of funds are we talking about here? In total, the office needs around $746,000 of federal and state funding combined to do the level of child support collection work for parents who are not receiving payments. Last year, the enforcement staff in Kane County collected nearly $26 million in unpaid child support payments. State funding is supposed to come through a contract with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

However, as McMahon has made clear, “the state has failed to fulfill its end of the deal.” Without an Illinois state budget, counties surrounding the greater Chicago area have had difficulty finding funds to pay for child support collection enforcement, and unless there is a solution soon, children across the state could suffer the consequences. If the county officials want to be able to keep up with the child support collection enforcement needs, how much will taxpayers need to provide? In total, this year alone, taxpayers may end up being “on the hook for $310,000.” Without a state budget next year, taxpayers could end up being responsible for the full amount needed: at least $746,000 if past costs are any indication.

If Taxpayers Do Not Provide Funds, the State Will Take Responsibility

What happens if taxpayers do not provide the kind of funding needed for child support collections? According to the article, the local child support enforcement unit will close, and “the enforcement duties would fall back to the state.” This could end up being a disaster in the long run, as “McMahon doesn’t believe the state has the manpower in place locally to perform the enforcement task as efficiently or aggressively as his staff already does.”

In short, families who rely on local child support enforcement offices could suffer. If you are having difficulty obtaining court-ordered child support payments, an experienced Chicago child support collections attorney may be able to help. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today to discuss your case.