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President Clinton Proposes New Child Support Crackdown and Announces a Record 80 Percent Increase in Child Support Collections

December 31, 1998

Today, President Clinton announced a new child support crackdown aimed at the nation's most egregious child support violators. Despite record child support collections, there are still too many parents who flagrantly ignore their obligations to their children, and the President will propose to spend $46 million to identify, investigate, and prosecute these deadbeat parents. The President took this action today as he released new evidence that his Administration's child support efforts are working: child support collections have gone up a record 80 percent since he took office, from $8 billion in 1992 to an estimated $14.4 billion in 1998.

New Record Child Support Collections

Since taking office, President Clinton has made child support enforcement a top priority, and those efforts are paying off for children across America. New figures released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today show that child support collections have gone up a record 80 percent since the President took office, from $8 billion in 1992 to an estimated $14.4 billion in 1998. Moreover, new figures show that the federal government has collected $1.1 billion this year by withholding federal tax refunds from deadbeat parents. Nearly 1.3 million families in all 50 states benefited from these tax refunds, which totaled $151 million in California, $63 million in Ohio, $52 million in Florida, and $48 million in New York (a state by state chart is available).

New Child Support Law Enforcement Initiative

To ensure that every parent pays the child support he owes, in June President Clinton signed into law the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act, creating two new categories of federal felonies for the most egregious child support violators, a measure he had called for in his 1997 State of the Union address. Many prosecutors say they would be able to prosecute even more child support cases if they had legal staff dedicated to the issue and if they received referrals after a complete financial investigation had been conducted.

     New Investigative Resources: Under this new initiative, the U.S.
     Department of Health and Human Services will establish 
     investigative teams in five regions of the country to identify, 
     analyze, and investigate cases for prosecution.  These sites, 
     costing approximately $12 million over five years, will serve 17 
     states plus D.C., which together have 63 percent of the nation's 
     child support cases.  State child support offices will refer their
     most serious child support cases to these sites, where trained 
     investigative staff will locate the violator, document information
     needed for prosecution, and then provide the investigated case to 
     the appropriate prosecutor.  These sites will be based upon a 
     model law enforcement effort established earlier this year to 
     serve five states, which in six months has produced an 
     eighteenfold increase in federal convictions and collections.

     New Prosecutorial Resources: To ensure U.S. Attorney's offices 
     have the skilled legal staff  they need to prosecute more deadbeat
     parents, the President proposes to provide new funds for legal 
     support personnel, who will conduct fact finding and 
     investigations, do legal research, and assist in the drafting of 
     court papers.  The President's new budget will include $34 million
     over five years, $5 million in FY 2000 rising to $8 million in 
     later years, to fund an eightfold increase in legal support staff 
     dedicated to child support.  With this new staff, the U.S. 
     Department of Justice expects to increase child support 
     prosecutions significantly.