April 13, 2005

State of Alabama
Press Release: Human Resources, Department of

Alabama On Pace to Break Last Year’s Record for Child Support Collections

The state of Alabama is on pace to eclipse last year’s record-setting performance for child support collections, the Commissioner of the state Department of Human Resources (DHR) announced. "In FY 2004, child support collections totaled a record $260 million, an increase of more than $120 million over the amount collected in 1994," said DHR Commissioner Page Walley.

" In the first five months of the current fiscal year, statewide collections totaled approximately $114 million, compared to $110 million collected during the same period a year ago. This increase is the result of ongoing improvements in Alabama’s child support program," Commissioner Walley said.

In addition to record-setting collections, the state is eligible for a federal bonus for improved performance in operating its child support program."Our state received a $4 million federal bonus in FY 2004 for improved performance and, based on a recently completed federal audit, we are eligible for another bonus of similar size for the current fiscal year," said Commissioner Walley.

Walley said DHR is continuing to strengthen its performance in establishing paternity, which is necessary to obtain a court order for child support. "In October 2004, we had established paternity for 79 percent of the children for whom court-ordered support was being sought, compared to 74 percent in October 2002," said Commissioner Walley. In the past, federal penalties were imposed because the state failed to make required improvements in paternity establishment. "This year, we are in compliance with that requirement," said Commissioner Walley.

Commissioner Walley said Alabama’s child support computer system (ALECS--Alabama Location Enforcement Collection System) has been a major factor in the state’s improved performance. "This system enables us to process the large amount of information needed to handle the state’s 240,000 child support cases, and to comply with data collection requirements," he said. In April 2004, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) certified that ALECS meets federal requirements for the child support program.

"While we are fully aware that we must continue to improve, we are very proud of our county child support workers, because their tireless efforts made possible the strides that have been made in strengthening Alabama’s child support program," said Commissioner Walley. "With the cooperation of district attorneys, judges and other law enforcement officials, they work hard every day to ensure that dependent children receive the financial support that they deserve from their parents," he added.

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