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Berg Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Child Support Collections

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman Rick Berg introduced the "International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act of 2012" to help American women, children and families receive needed child support from parents residing overseas.

Berg's bipartisan legislation has received the support of Chairman Geoff Davis (R-KY) and Ranking Member Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), as well as all members--Republicans and Democrats--of the Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee. The proposal incorporates a number of recommendations offered at a recent subcommittee hearing on child support enforcement and makes a number of no-cost improvements to the State-administered child support enforcement program designed to improve child support collections.

At the introduction of the legislation, Berg stated: "In taking the next step toward ratifying the Hague Convention, we will empower states, which operate the Child Support Enforcement program, to do more to help families and children and ensure they have the same access to financial support even when one parent lives outside the country. As we heard at our hearing, it is now Congress' turn to act to make this possible."

Ranking Member Doggett also recognized the importance of Berg's legislation, commenting: "This legislation will help ensure that borders don't become barriers to children receiving the financial support their parents are obligated to provide. It does right by children and saves taxpayers' dollars."

The "International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act of 2012" serves as the implementing legislation for the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. This multilateral treaty, consented to by the Senate in 2010, provides for the structured exchange of information and consistent enforcement of international cases of child support.

The bill continues the Subcommittee's recent bipartisan efforts to standardize data within and across social programs. This includes applying the same data standardization provisions recently enacted in the child welfare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and unemployment insurance programs. Finally, the bill will allow researchers expanded access to data in the child support program's National Directory of New Hires for use in evaluating whether Federal reemployment programs are working as intended.

The Obama Administration is expected to support this legislation.


Problem: Currently, states have the option to recognize child support orders from other countries, and many of them do. However, the reverse is not always the same--a number of other countries do not cooperate with the states' requests.

Solution: In 2007, theU.S. negotiated a treaty, Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance, which provides for the recognition of child support orders from other participating countries. To ratify the treaty, advice and consent of the Senate and implementing language is required. The Senate gave its advice and consent in 2010. Berg's legislation offers the implementing language needed to move forward with the treaty.

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