"We know that when children get the support they need, they have
the best chance at a bright future," said Governor Blagojevich. "The
passport denial program allows us to hold up deadbeat parents'
ability to travel until they've agreed to a plan that fulfills their
financial obligation to their children. It's one more way we can
make sure Illinois' children get the support they deserve."
The Passport Denial Program, which is part of the Federal Offset
Program, is designed to help states enforce delinquent child support
obligations. Under the program, non-custodial parents certified by a
state as having arrearages exceeding $2,500 are submitted by the
Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to the Department
of State (DoS), which denies them U.S. passports upon application or
the use of a passport service. Illinois Department of Healthcare and
Family Services' Department of Child Support Enforcement staff then
work with the debtor to make arrangements to pay the child support
debt in order for the passport hold to be released. In most cases,
full payment of the debt is required. Illinois is one of only seven
states to collect over $3 million in child support dues through the
Passport Denial Program since its inception in 1998.
The Passport Denial Program has been effective for parents across
Illinois, including Ms. Peggy Carlson of Quincy. The non-custodial
parent of her child resided in Germany and needed his passport to
continue to live overseas and be able to visit the United States. He
paid the entire case balance of $46,097.06 for the release of his
"I never expected to receive the past due child support, because
the father lived in Germany," said Peggy Carlson. "Without the
State's help, I never would have gotten it. Thank you very much!"
In August, Illinois was named the 2006 Most Improved Program in
the country by the National Child Support Enforcement Association
(NCSEA). NCSEA recognizes outstanding achievements in child support
enforcement, and the 2006 award was given to the State of Illinois'
program for its increased collections and new programs. In November,
Illinois' Division of Child Support Enforcement received the
prestigious Lincoln Foundation Award for Performance Excellence for
the second year in a row. The Division was one of six recipients of
the Lincoln Foundation Silver Award in 2006, building on successes
that led to a Bronze Award in 2005.
"We have aggressively pursued every avenue to ensure that
Illinois' children get the child support they need," said Barry
Maram, Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family
Services. "Under Governor Blagojevich's leadership, Illinois' child
support program has made a dramatic turnaround, and we are proud to
be among the states leading the nation in child support collections
through the Passport Denial program."
In the mid-1990s, the Child Support Division's performance fell
steeply, causing hardship for thousands of Illinois parents. In
fact, in 2000, Illinois faced the serious threat of federal
penalties for poor child support enforcement.
[to top of second column]
Over the past four years, Governor Blagojevich launched a number
of innovative and aggressive programs to improve child support
collections, including the Deadbeat Parents website and the New Hire
Directory website. These changes have helped produce results.
The Governor's New Hire initiative now averages $3.7 million
monthly in new collections, compared to just $1.5 million monthly in
2004. In addition, nearly 17,000 employers who previously did not
report New Hires are now regularly reporting. Over the last year,
$40.5 million was collected through the New Hire initiative. Child
support collections that resulted from passport seizures nearly
doubled from $550,000 in 2005 to over $1 million in 2006. In
addition, the Division of Child Support Enforcement successfully
seized over $10 million in assets in 2006, compared to $9.6 million
Illinois has outpaced the national rate of collection improvement
over the past four years. In federal Fiscal Year 2001, Illinois
collected approximately 38 percent of current child support due,
while in 2005 it collected 53.3 percent. Nationally, about 57
percent of support was paid as it was due in 2001, while in 2005
about 60 percent was collected. So, while the nation has realized a
3 percent gain in child support collected as it was due between
federal fiscal years 2001 and 2005, Illinois had a dramatic 15
percent increase during that same time.
And the state is doing a far better job in slowing down the
growth in past due child support (arrears) than the rest of the
nation. In 2001, just over $88 billion dollars of child support
arrears were owed across the nation. In 2005, that number had risen
to $106.5 billion, an increase of $18.4 billion dollars, or 21
percent. By comparison, Illinois' $2.6 billion in arrears rose to
$2.8 billion, or 8 percent. Illinois' arrears growth is
significantly less than the nation's, indicating that we are doing a
better job of both collecting support as it's due and of collecting
old support that was unpaid in past years.
These initiatives and resulting success earned the Division of
Child Support Enforcement an $8.6 million federal bonus award for
meeting federal child support indicators, the largest incentive ever
received by Illinois under a performance-based system.
Child Support Enforcement services are available to any parent
who needs assistance in establishing legal parentage, establishing
child support or medical support, or enforcing support. Some
enforcement tools, like interception of income tax refunds, are
available only to customers of the child support enforcement
program. To register for free child support enforcement services,
parents must complete and sign an application. Applications are
available online at http://www.ilchildsupport.com/ or by phone at
[Text copied from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]