Deadbeat Dilemma, Part 8

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

In Thursday's State of the State Address, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected to highlight improvements in child support collection this past year. Improvements to the state's centralized call center could also help.

Elmer Betancourt is the lead caseworker at the state's now centralized child support call center. He's seen a lot of changes in the child support system in the past 12 years.

"It's not a perfect system, but it's a heck of a lot better than what it was," says Betancourt.

Since the centralized call center was set up there have been improvements. Support orders, the first step in collecting support, have increased five percent. Child support collections have jumped up seven percent.

"The federal commissioner of child support was here last year and said this is a system that's on the rise and it shows in the numbers," says Pam Compton of the IDPA Child Support Enforcement Division.

But to continue the upward trend, changes have to be made. The morning we visited the call center, the phone system was down, and in fact, it goes down about once a month. The IDPA says a new system will be installed by the end of the year.

"We understand there are ways to go, but we've started our journey," says Compton.

Another new part of this journey is expected to be announced by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in his State of the State Address in Springfield Thursday. The IDPA is asking businesses throughout the state for help in tracking down deadbeats.

"We’re doing a lot of outreach to employers right now, sending them handbooks so they understand how to fulfill new hire requirements," says Compton.

Thirty percent of businesses are not reporting new hires to the state database in a timely manner like they should, and because a new hire could be deadbeat, improving that percentage could possibly improve child support collection.


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