Contact: Shelley Saukko
Social Services Department
August is Child Support Month
August is Child Support Month! And a recent study demonstrates at least one of the benefits of the Child Support Program in our state and region.
The Child Support program was originally created to offset the cost of public welfare programs; today it has grown to include both families on public assistance as well as a large percentage that are not. The original goal, to save public tax dollars, is still in place and serving the taxpayer well. As evidence, the Urban Institute was recently commissioned by the Federal Office of Child Support to study current outcomes. The conclusion was that, in the nation as a whole, for every $1.00 of child support that is collected for [welfare] cases, there is a $.40 cost avoidance ratio that offsets what would otherwise be spent on programs like MN Family Investment Program (MFIP - former AFDC), Social Security, Housing, Food Support (former Food Stamps) and Medicaid. Even for cases that are not receiving MFIP, there is still a $.19 savings on federal benefit programs. The result is increased family self-reliance and less dependence on public programs.
In St. Louis County in April of 2006, over 3000 families that had formerly been receiving public assistance were now receiving an average of $316 per month in child support; those same families also received an additional average payment of $186 per month in past due arrears payments. Total collections in St. Louis County in 2005 equaled about $25 million with a cost avoidance savings of over $5 million dollars.
St. Louis County has child support offices in Duluth, Hibbing, and Virginia, which are a part of the Public Health & Human Services Department.