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Michigan Office of Child Support Receives a Federal Incentive Payment Increase

Contact: Gisgie Dávila Gendreau, marketing and public relations director (517) 373-7394

Jan. 5, 2009

LANSING - Amidst the discouraging economic climate, the Michigan Office of Child Support is reporting positive news - a $27 million federal incentive payment for improving service to families.

The payment includes a 1 percent increase which puts Michigan fourth highest among all the states receiving incentive payments for performance on key measures.

The awards are made annually by the Federal Office of Child Support, housed within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Beginning in 1998, federal law mandated that in order to receive incentives, all states were to begin tracking their performance on five key measures: paternity establishment, order establishment, current collections, arrears collections and cost-effectiveness.

"We're very pleased with our progress in these five key areas," said Ismael Ahmed, director of the Michigan Department of Human Services. "Child support is a proven tool to help combat childhood poverty and provide for their needs."

The award will be split with the local county friends of the court and prosecuting attorneys, who will receive about $14.5 million. The rest will be used by the state of Michigan to cover administrative costs of the Michigan child support program.

Just as many private businesses establish goals and measure their progress in achieving their goals, child support programs nationwide are also held to measurable standards. Incentives are paid to the states for their performance in meeting their goals. This provides a meaningful guide as states strive to improve both service to families and cost-effectiveness in the operation of their programs.

In 2007, child support workers in the DHS Office of Child Support, in conjunction with prosecuting attorney and friend of the court offices, collected $6.38 in child support for every $1 spent operating the program. On average, each child support worker collected $603,465 for the children in the state.

This shows that despite the difficult economic climate in Michigan, parents are cooperating with the child support program to ensure that children have what they need to be happy and healthy. Click here for more statistics on Michigan's child support program.

For more information, please visit the DHS Web site at www.michigan.gov/childsupport.

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