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Friday, November 09, 2012

Ind. Gov't. - "Child support $2.3 billion problem in Indiana"

Kara Kenney of WRTV 6 has posted a long report, with video, that begins:

INDIANAPOLIS - The Call 6 Investigators have uncovered a $2.3 billion problem in Indiana that is using precious local and state resources and draining consumers' wallet.

Hoosier parents owe more than $2.3 billion in child support, according to the Indiana Department of Child Services and Child Support Bureau, which handles 350,000 cases.

Ninety-five percent of cases involve males and 5 percent involve females accused of nonpayment of child support.

State and local agencies spend $83.2 million in state fiscal year 2012 on the child support problem, including finding noncustodial parents, prosecuting cases, establishing child support orders and processing payments.

The Call 6 Investigators found agencies strapped for manpower and others finding it hard to make a dent in the pervasive issue.

Later in the story, under the heading "Court system strains to keep up with cases":
Where Indiana struggles most is establishing child support orders, which is when a judge determines how much a noncustodial parent should pay. In that category, Indiana dropped to 41st in 2010.

Prosecutors said getting both parents into court can be difficult.

"If someone doesn't want to be found, it can be impossible to find them," said Marion County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Owens.

Indiana courts are bursting with child support cases, so lag time is a concern.

"We are incredibly understaffed," Owens said.

Marion County handles more than 71,000 cases with 82 full-time employees, working out to

865 cases per employee.

The Call 6 Investigators also checked with surrounding counties and found all are handling hundreds of child support cases per worker.

"Child support is a huge problem," Owens said. "It impacts not only folks who have kids, but it does impact folks who don't."

Deadbeat parents owe more than $607 million in child support in Marion County alone. Parents line up every morning beginning at 7 a.m., waiting for a walk-in appointment with a prosecutor.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 9, 2012 09:31 AM
Posted to Indiana Government