WHEN CHILD SUPPORT GOES UNPAID IN ILLINOIS
According to the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, there were approximately 496,500 child support cases in the Illinois Child Support Program in 2013. These cases affected an estimated 517,600 children in the state. Unfortunately, more than $3 billion in back child support payments owed to these children has yet to be paid.
When child support is not paid, it affects the child’s educational opportunities and can even interfere with a child’s ability to live to his or her full potential. According to state Rep. Camille Lilly, “It’s important that our laws reflect how necessary these payments are for many families. An efficient child support system also requires us to recognize that those who owe child support are not falling behind by choice, but often because they are simply unable to pay.” In response earlier this year, Lilly introduced House Bill 2791, a measure that directs the Division of Child Support Services to conduct a study that focuses on the reasons child support is going unpaid. The measure was signed in to law in early August. In 2017, results of the study will be reported and used to create a comprehensive road map that enables Illinois to create an effective and efficient child support system.
Factors Being Evaluated Under House Bill 2791
Many times parents fall behind on child support payments because they are not able to pay. In order to identify the reasons behind unpaid child support, the study will focus on:
- Demographics of individuals who do not pay child support: Researchers will consider the demographics of individuals who are not up to date on child support payments, including an individual’s income level, his or her level of education, age when he or she first became a parent, any prior criminal history, the number of children involved and the language that is primarily spoken.
- Institutional Barriers: Researchers will investigate any institutional barriers that interfere with a parent’s ability to pay, including when and how the payments are collected.
- The impact that non-payment has on the parents ability to secure employment: When a parent’s inability pay child support interferes with his or her to secure employment, parents are unable to pay. The department will focus on whether the status of child support payments is available to employers who run background checks or credit checks, and if it is, how it might affect an individual’s ability to get a job.
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