The director of Iowa’s Department of Human Services says he’s pleased with the early operation of an office set up to share child support information with Nebraska. D-H-S Director Kevin Concannon says they’re able to collect two-thirds of the child support ordered by Iowa courts, and they hope the two-state office in Omaha will improve that number. He says if you look at the one-third of support that’s not collected, a disproportinate amount is owed by people who move to other states to avoid collection. He says they recognized a number of people moving over into Omaha, or came back over from Council Bluffs. The office opened in April and Concannon says they’ve made progress in working out the system. He says both states are learning how to get things entered and get wage attachments done quickly in two states where people move back and forth across the border. He says with people from two states sitting side-by-side with access to the records of both states, they’re more able to track people down for child support. Concannon says the hardest part of getting the operation going was to solve the legal concerns. He says there were legal questions about giving access to records to information. He says both states have laws to provide access in each state, and he says they had to work out how to give each state comparable access to the information from both states. Concannon visited the office today (Tuesday) and says the first-of-its kind experiment is getting notice. He says the federal government had a representative there too, as the office may be a model for other states seeking to catch people who move to avoid child support. Concannon says securing the child support helps the kids, and the state also gets some of the money. He says there’s also a benefit for businesses.He says about two-thirds of child support payments are made through wage attachments and it was possible that Iowa and Nebraska could both have filed a wage attachment with a company. He says the joint office ensures that there’s just one attachment filed. Concannon says that makes it easier for businesses to keep track of the attachment. Concannon said the three-person unit is currently monitoring hundreds of cases that span both states. He says the percentage of on-time payments is up, as are collections in past-due cases.
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