Location:
CHILD SUPPORT;

OLR Research Report


February 17, 2010

 

2010-R-0035

VARIOUS QUESTIONS ON CHILD SUPPORT

By: Emilee Mooney Scott, Legislative Fellow

You asked a series of questions regarding child support and paternity. The questions are answered individually below:

1. How many fathers pay child support? How many fathers are not paying?

The Department of Social Services (“DSS”) does not routinely break out noncustodial parents (“NCPs”) by gender. Approximately 93% of NCPs are fathers, and the remaining 7% are mothers.

We were unable to determine the total number of NCPs paying child support statewide, because some NCPs comply with child support arrangements without state involvement. DSS's Bureau of Child Support Enforcement (“BCSE”) enforces child support orders pursuant to Title IV-D of the federal Social Security Act (88 Stat. 2351 (1975), 42 U.S.C. 651 et seq.). Title IV-D allows states to enforce child support orders, and to use a portion of the child support collected from an NCP to reimburse government agencies for support provided to the family.

DSS had 193,985 open IV-D cases at the end of federal fiscal year (“FFY”) 2009 (October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009). Of these cases, 139,953 have a court-ordered obligation to pay some sort of support. This support can include current cash support, cash support in arrears, medical support, and medical coverage for the family. Thus, 72% of the IV-D caseload has a court-ordered obligation. While they do not always pay the full amount, approximately 62% of NCPs ordered to provide support pay on a regular basis.

2. How often does BCSE go to court to establish paternity or child support obligations?

BCSE establishes paternity and support with assistance from the Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”). In Connecticut, paternity has been established for 92.8% of children born out of wedlock. Most children have paternity established at the hospital at which they are born, pursuant to the state's Voluntary Paternity Establishment Program. This program allows the father to be listed on the child's birth certificate if the parents complete an Acknowledgment of Paternity form (Form VS-56). More information on this program is available in the attached pamphlet published by the Department of Social Services.

When paternity has not been established, BCSE makes referrals to OAG for establishment of paternity and support orders. When paternity is adjudicated in court, a support order is often entered as well. On average, BCSE makes 260 referrals for paternity establishment per month, and these referrals result in an average of 160 paternity adjudications per month. Additionally, BCSE takes an average of 115 paternity acknowledgements per month. In total, paternity was established or adjudicated for 13,192 children in FFY 2009.

Referrals to OAG for support establishment average 650 per month statewide, resulting in approximately 650 average monthly obligations established. OAG also represents BCSE in divorce hearings approximately 30 times per month. Additionally, BCSE enters 1,350 previously established orders monthly in the DSS child support system, which allows the order to be enforced through the IV-D system.

3. How much child support has been collected and how much is owed?

In FFY 2009 $318.5 million was ordered as current support and $185.7 million (58%) was paid. In addition to current support, DSS tracks past-due support. Since the child support enforcement program has been in place, arrears have accrued to almost $1.5 billion. Of this amount $80.45 million in arrears was collected in FFY 2009. Overall, in FFY 2009, 128,658 cases had arrears due, and 80,231 (62%) of these cases had a payment made in the year.

Table 1 below shows the amounts collected by BCSE for the last five state fiscal years (“SFY”, July 1 to June 30). In SFY 2009 $317.8 million was collected in the Connecticut child support enforcement program.

Table 1: Total Collections ($)

Year

(SFY)

Total Disbursed
In-state IV-D Collections

Non-IV-D Collections

Collections Forwarded to Other States

Total

2005

234,775,085

31,047,004

18,273,086

284,095,175

2006

238,314,396

33,886,188

18,669,194

290,869,778

2007

246,192,162

35,903,366

18,894,679

300,990,207

2008

254,281,194

38,143,461

18,963,609

311,388,264

2009

259,425,997

39,978,132

18,424,632

317,828,761

Table 2 below provides additional detail on in-state IV-D collections. About 82% of in-state support disbursed is sent directly to families, usually through electronic bank account transfers. The remaining 18% is assigned to the state to reimburse it for support provided to the family.

Table 2: Disbursed In-state IV-D Collections ($)

Year

(SFY)

Non-Assistance Collections
(to families)

Current/Former Assistance Collections (to state)

Total

2005

191,661,282

43,113,803

234,775,085

2006

194,197,355

44,117,041

238,314,396

2007

201,178,687

45,013,475

246,192,162

2008

208,457,231

45,823,963

254,281,194

2009

212,369,249

47,056,748

259,425,997

What is the average amount of support per family?

An approximate average across the entire obligated IV-D caseload is $352.00 per month.

ES:ts