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Child support legislation advancing in Senate

Parents in Texas and around the country may be interested in proposed legislation scheduled to be considered by the Senate Finance Committee before the end of 2013. The bipartisan bill, entitled the Supporting At-Risk Children Act of 2013, is designed to strengthen the enforcement of existing child welfare laws and contains several provisions that appeared in an earlier proposal introduced in the Senate several months ago.

The bill would require the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to use federal child support enforcement resources in order to maintain compliance with obligations contained in any multiparty treaty to which the United States is a signatory. It would also require states, as a condition of receiving federal funding, to comply with amendments made to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.

Another provision of the proposed legislation would expand state access to the Federal Parent Locator Service, a program run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This service is designed to assist child support investigators in finding noncustodial parents, putative fathers and other relevant parties in order to establish and enforce support orders.

This legislation is an attempt to address a pervasive problem, and its passage may be particularly helpful to single mothers and custodial parents living in states such as Texas due to the close proximity to easily-traversed international borders. As statistics show that there is more than $100 billion owed in overdue child support obligations by noncustodial parents, any method of improving collection and enforcement efforts will be welcome.

Source: WOWT, "Child Support Measures From Grassley In Broad Bill Advancing In Committee", December 14, 2013

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Bruce Turner

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