DWD: Wisconsin’s Child Support Program Ranks Among Best

Rose Lynch, Director of Communications, 608-266-6753

Federal report shows state exceeds national average in all performance areas

MADISON – Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman announced today that a new federal report ranks the Wisconsin Child Support Program among the best in the nation.

Each year, the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) assesses programs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. The office recently released its preliminary findings for the 2004 federal fiscal year. The findings show that Wisconsin remains a leader in child support programs.

“In Wisconsin, our children come first, and this report shows parents take their responsibilities seriously, as do state and county workers in collecting child support,” Secretary Gassman said. She noted child support staff at the state and county levels are among the most efficient, collecting $5.90 for every $1 spent on the effort. The national average is $4.38 collected per $1 spent.

Secretary Gassman said the report underscores Wisconsin’s commitment to children and families, a priority of Governor Jim Doyle and his KidsFirst initiative to ensure every child a safe, secure, and healthy start, a good education and opportunities to succeed in life.

“Wisconsin ranks among the best states in the nation,” Secretary Gassman said. “In 2004, we collected more than $588 million in child support. Only nine states collected more, and these are far more populous states. We made the top ten in collections, even though Wisconsin ranks 20th in population.”

Wisconsin’s collection total of $588,914,411 was $184 million more than the national average of $404,915,411. The total is the highest amount collected in five years. Wisconsin collected $1,734 per case in 2004.

The findings noted outstanding performance in the following areas:

Collections per full-time employee: $528,649 or 45% more than the national average.
Collections rate: 67% of current support due, compared to national average of 59%.
Percent of nonmarital births with paternity establishment: 100%, compared to 85% nationally.

The complete 2004 Data Report is available at: http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cse/prgrpt.htm.