Congressman Geoff Davis (R-KY), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Ways and Means, announced today that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on no-cost improvements to the child support enforcement (CSE) program. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 2:00 P.M.
In view of the limited time available to hear witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. Witnesses will include state child support enforcement officials and other experts. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.
The CSE program was created in 1975 in order to reduce public expenditures on welfare by obtaining support from noncustodial parents on an ongoing basis and to help non-welfare families get support so they could stay off public assistance. Today, this State-administered program has grown to serve all families that request services and is estimated to handle 50 to 60 percent of all child support cases. States and Territories receive over $4 billion annually in Federal administrative funds, which covers approximately two-thirds of the total cost of operating the CSE program. In FY 2010, the CSE program collected $26.6 billion in child support payments and served nearly 15.9 million child support cases. However, the program collects only 62 percent of current child support obligations for which it has responsibility.
In 2007, the United States was party to the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. The Hague Convention aims to increase cooperation among nations for the international recovery of child support and other forms of family assistance. In order for the United States to fully ratify the Convention, Congress must approve and the President must sign implementing legislation that would amend Title IV-D of the Social Security Act and require States to update their child support laws by adopting amendments to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). This implementing legislation, which is designed to improve child support recovered in international cases, is expected to result in no additional State or Federal program costs.
Beyond the Hague Convention, other no-cost improvements to the CSE program expected to be reviewed in the hearing include improving data and information exchange among state courts and human services organizations, as well as expanding researcher access to the National Directory of New Hires (a database under the authority of the CSE program) in order to improve the evaluation of employment programs.
In announcing the hearing, Chairman Geoff Davis (R-KY) stated, "Ratification of the Hague Convention will mean that more children living in the United States will receive the financial support they deserve, even when one parent lives in another country. In addition, given the number of agencies involved in this issue, it is critical for technology to keep pace so families receive the support they need. This hearing will review several simple, no-cost ways of improving child support programs to achieve those goals, which I am hopeful Congress will pass in the near future."
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