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Child Support Program Overview

The child support program was developed to ensure that both parents take responsibility for the support of their children. Child support is the money that is ordered by the courts to be paid by a parent for the support of his or her minor child, when that parent does not live with the child. The parent not residing with the child is called the non-custodial parent or the NCP. The amount of money to be paid is based on standardized guidelines that consider the incomes of both parents, the needs of the child, and whether or not there are other dependents. Medical support is also considered a form of child support. In the case of medical support, a parent provides health insurance coverage for his/her child.

The child support enforcement program in this country handles collection of support payments from NCP's and distributes the money to the custodial-parent (CP) who lives with the child. The program initiates, tracks and enforces these child support obligations.

It is true that the majority of NCP's are fathers, however in some 10% of cases the NCP is the mother. There are also situations where both parents are ordered to pay child support. In these cases the person who receives the child support could be a grandparent, aunt/uncle, foster parent, or whomever the child is living with.

Families who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, sometimes referred to as TANF or welfare, are required to participate in the child support program. A portion of the child support payments received each month is returned to the families receiving TANF benefits to supplement the TANF payment. These payments, sometimes known as disregard payments, are paid via the Division of Social Services. Child support payments not returned to a family receiving TANF benefits are used to reimburse the federal and state government for the welfare assistance issued to the family.

Clients who are NOT receiving assistance from TANF receive the same services for a $25 fee. These services include location of absent parents, establishment of paternity, establishment of child support orders, collection of child support payments, and enforcement of child support orders.