Ohio officials want child support agencies in the 88 counties across the state to improve collection rates 10% by 2015. The state’s average collection rate is currently 67.3%.

The state last year launched an initiative to increase dollar collections to keep Ohio competitive in receiving performance-based incentives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ohio is sixth in the U.S. in child support caseload and its collection rate already is far above the national average of 61%, according to Jeff Aldridge, deputy director for the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.

Since the project started, Ohio's collection average jumped from 66.5% to the current 67.3%, said Aldridge. The state has helped by providing "work lists" for counties to check on unpaid child support cases. This year, the state shared a list of individuals over the age of 62 who owe child support, allowing agencies to look up who might be receiving Social Security benefits, enabling agencies to collect unpaid child support from their federal benefits check.

Reaching the goal of a statewide 70% collection rate is important to counties across the state because they have seen staff cuts at their child support enforcement agencies.  If the state can receive additional federal funding, it means more investigators to take up child support cases.

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