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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Little Rock, Arkansas)
For Immediate Release                                   January 17, 2001


Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new data showing that our Administration's tough child support enforcement efforts have been effective and are paying off for our children. Child support collections broke new records in 2000, collecting $18 billion -- an increase of $10 billion since 1992. The new data today also shows that in 2000 alone, nearly 700,000 delinquent non-custodial parents were matched to more than one million financial records, and that through withholding tax refunds, a record $1.4 billion in overdue child support was collected -- twice the amount collected when I took office.

Our Administration's commitment to work with states to efficiently and effectively hold non-custodial parents accountable for their child support obligations has demonstrated significant improvement over the last eight years. Today, parents who owe child support have their wages garnished, their federal loans and passports denied, their bank accounts seized, and their tax refunds withheld. Last year alone, nearly 3.5 million delinquent non-custodial parents were located through the National Directory of New Hires posting.

In addition, Welfare to Work grants have helped States, tribes and communities nationwide have created programs that help low-income, non-custodial fathers get and keep jobs that will allow them to pay child support and provide their children emotional support. Congress just enacted my proposal to extend these grants for an additional two years.

Despite these tremendous gains, there is still more to do. In my FY 2001 budget, I proposed the Fathers Work/Families Win initiative to help low-income fathers and families work and support their children, along with needed reforms to the child support system. I urge the next Administration and the 107th Congress to take action this year to promote responsible fatherhood and ensure that more child support goes directly to families.