BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Social Services (DSS) set a record for the second year in a row when it comes to collecting child support payments -- more than $354 million for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2009, which is up from more than $346 million collected in FFY 2008.
DSS recently was awarded a record $6,796,529 in performance incentive funds by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement as a result of the agency's performance in FFY 2008. DSS' award amount has more than doubled since the award system began in 2000.
"Child support collections directly impact the lives of children in our state by providing for their basic needs," said DSS Secretary Kristy Nichols. "Our Support Enforcement Services division strives each day to ensure that non-custodial parents are meeting their responsibility to their children, and each dollar of our performance incentive awards will be reinvested to continue to improve services and increase collections. It is through the partnership efforts of our staff, local business owners, district attorneys and our federal partners that we have been successful in collecting these child support payments."
In 2009, DSS' Support Enforcement Services (SES) division managed 280,551 child support cases. The total collections of $354 million in FFY 2009 were made in 138,104 cases and represent a 10 percent increase over the past two years, up from $323 million in FFY 2007.
More than $253.8 million of the collected funds in FFY 2009 went to current child support obligations. The remaining $100.2 million was applied to arrears cases of unpaid child support obligations.
The $6.7 million performance incentive award will allow the agency to reinvest in the child support program and continue to finance components of the program including the Customer Service Center and Web site functions, technology upgrades to improve efficiency and effectiveness and parent and asset location systems.
Federal performance incentive awards are based on five performance indicators including paternity establishment, obligation establishment, current support, arrears cases collections and cost effectiveness. Awards are given each year following a federal audit of state collections.
For more information on Support Enforcement Services, visit www.dss.louisiana.gov/SES.