Child support enforcement can be a constant source of stress and confusion for single parents in California as well as the government agencies charged with overseeing the efforts. When parents do not receive their court-mandated support payments, raising children can be difficult. However, many states do not have the modern technology necessary to keep the system functioning well. In this context, the federal government is preparing to develop a nationally networked system for child support enforcement across the United States.
Most initiatives of the Trump administration have generally moved toward more state authority and limited federal centralization, but child support enforcement is a deviation from that trend. The $63-million Child Support Technology Fund seeks to develop a new IT system, located in the federal Department of Health and Human Services, to manage a centralized database for monitoring and enforcing state child support payment. This would be a change from a previous focus on funding states to update their own localized systems. Following the federal development, the HHS would allow states to join the new national system.
On average, state modernization efforts for child support database systems have cost $120 million each. Over the next five years, the federal government estimates that developing and using a single system will save around $800 million. States were required in 1995 to create effective, up-to-date systems to manage child support monitoring and enforcement. However, many states still lack the necessary technology.
No matter what type of system is in place, enforcing child support agreements can be a difficult process. Parents who are owed child support can consult with family law attorneys about pursuing missed payments in court.