Gov. Otter convenes special legislative session for child support bill

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter issued a proclamation today to convene a special session of the Idaho Legislature on Monday, May 18, to consider a bill that will bring Idaho’s Child Support Program into national compliance.

“It is a great relief to us that Gov. Otter is initiating this opportunity for lawmakers to reconsider legislation that is good for our children and good for our state,” Department of Health and Welfare Director Richard Armstrong said. “We know the extreme hardships that could occur if we don’t fix this. We have great confidence in our legislators that they will resolve this for the sake of our children.”  Continue reading “Gov. Otter convenes special legislative session for child support bill”

Here’s what would be affected if Idaho loses its TANF funds

If the state Idaho’s Child Support Program doesn’t meet federal requirements by June 12, the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding of $30.4 million is threatened.

A list of programs that receive all or part of their funding from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is below. The budgets for these programs are a mix of state and federal funds. The percentages vary for each program, so it’s impossible to say at this point what the impact might be if Idaho stops receiving TANF funds. But we do know that each of these programs would be affected. We’re seeking more information and clarification from federal officials. Continue reading “Here’s what would be affected if Idaho loses its TANF funds”

A roundup of questions we’re being asked about the child support legislation

This is a compilation of questions compiled and written by staffs of the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, Department of Health and Welfare and the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement.

Does the legislation threaten the due process rights of Idaho’s citizens?
No. In fact, the amendments expressly say that an Idaho court may refuse to recognize and enforce an order if the issuing tribunal (a court of law in another country) did not observe minimum standards of due process. This legislation actually increases due process protections compared to the current child support law in Idaho.

Continue reading “A roundup of questions we’re being asked about the child support legislation”

Gov. Otter: ‘We are engaged, and we are going to do something.’

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter spoke to the media Thursday morning assessing the 2015 legislative session, and addressed the child support bill that was tabled, SB 1067. Otter said he is working with lawmakers to find a solution.

“I think it’s important that we understand the consequences of doing nothing,” he said.

Continue reading “Gov. Otter: ‘We are engaged, and we are going to do something.’”

A snapshot of Idaho child support collections in March

Idaho collects more than $200 million in child support payments a year, on average. The chart below is a point-in-time snapshot for March 2015. Organized by county, it shows the number of children involved in child support orders in Idaho, what percentage of the total county population those children represent, and the total of child support payments collected. The amount of child support received by each child varies.

CHILD SUPPORT_BY_COUNTY(3) countybycounty

The clock started ticking today…

Our agency has received official notification this evening from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement that Idaho has 60 days to bring its child support program into federal compliance.

The Idaho Legislature adjourned Saturday, failing to pass legislation to meet minimum federal requirements for working on child support cases with foreign countries. Failure of that bill prompted the federal government to issue a formal notice in its intent to disapprove Idaho’s state plan Tuesday evening.

Idaho now has 60 days to correct the problem. If not, access to child support enforcement tools and funding will discontinue on July 1st.

Idaho_NOI_Letter_04142015

Letterpage1

Loss of federal tools would severely hamper state’s ability to collect child support payments

A lot of discussion has focused on the federal money the state might lose if the child support issue is not fixed during the next two months. It is serious money, but the real impact to children and families would come from the loss of federal tools the Idaho Child Support Program relies on. Here are some of the tools Idaho would no longer be able to access and a description of what they are used for:

Wage Withholding: The most important tool the state uses to collect child support payments from non-custodial parents who don’t voluntarily make their payments is wage withholding. The increase in collections by wage withholding is due, in part, to improved accuracy, ease of paternity testing, and the new-hire reporting system. In FFY 2014, $105.8 million was collected using this tool, accounting for 61 percent of all the state’s child support collections, as shown in the chart below.

Wage Withholding TS

Continue reading “Loss of federal tools would severely hamper state’s ability to collect child support payments”

Gov. Otter expresses concern about child support implications

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter issued the following statement today regarding the impact of legislative action on Senate Bill 1067 shortly before the Legislature adjourned its 2015 session:

“I am concerned that some members of the House Judiciary and Rules Committee put Idaho’s child support system at serious risk by killing Senate Bill 1067 in the waning hours of the 2015 legislative session. We are analyzing the impacts of the committee’s actions and what they mean for the 400,000 people who depend on Idaho’s system.”