Iowa is outperforming most other states in the country in terms of collecting child support payments for custodial parents. Roger Munns, a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Human Services, says Iowa’s Child Support Recovery Unit collected a record $351-million in 2008. That marked a 2% increase over the previous year.
“I think credit goes, obviously first, to the non-custodial parents who are having their own issues, but made it a priority to support their kids,” Munns said. “Credit also goes to a very strong administrative effort by Iowa’s Child Support Recovery Unit.” Iowa’s CSRU routinely ranks among the leading agencies of its kind for both cost effectiveness and on-time payments.
Munns says for every one dollar spent on collecting payments in Iowa, the state generates more than $5.30 in collections. Iowa also boasts a 70% rate of on-time payments from non-custodial parents. Munns says the CSRU is agressive in establishing paternity and court orders for child support payments, but also encourages non-custodial parents to play an active role in their children’s lives.
“It’s pretty well known, at least it’s our theory, that non-custodial parents who are involved in the lives of their kids are a lot more likely to comply with court ordered support payments than are parents who feel estranged from their children,” Munns said. In 2003, Iowa became the first state to require nearly all benefits be paid electronically. It’s now a standard procedure nationwide.
Munns says electronic payments reduce problems with check cashing fees and theft, plus the benefits are delivered to custodial parents more accurately and on-time. Officials with Iowa’s CSRU were recently presented with the 2009 Outstanding Program of the Year award from the National Child Support Enforcement Association.