Iowa and Nebraska officials have opened a new office in Omaha to better track residents in the two states who owe child support. Roger Munns, spokesman for Iowa’s Department of Human Services, says both states do a good job of collecting child support when both parents live in the same state, but when parents live in different states, the chances of collecting child support decline because you have to deal with two sets of regulations and money transfers from one state to another. Munns estimates there are about 15-hundred cases in which the parent who has custody of a child lives on one side of the Missouri River, and the parent who owes child support lives on the other side of the border.Munns says interstate child support cases make up about 23 percent of the entire Iowa child support caseload, but about 35 percent of the unpaid child support is owed by parents who live out of state. The new office opened 10 days ago in Omaha and has three workers. Two of the employees are paid by Iowa; the other by Nebraska. Munns says the computer system allows the workers to access child support files from both states. Munns says the workers have all sorts of duties, such as helping establish paternity. Munns says the workers can help get a court order, and find the person who owes the child support, if that’s an issue. Munns believes this is a first-of-its-kind collaboration. Munns says he doesn’t want to “trumpet this too loudly” and find out he’s wrong, but Munns knows of no other states with similar child support collection offices along their borders. Munns says they’re eager to find out if it works and launch similar partnerships with South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri.
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