Why We Are Here
Why We Are Here
Did you know that children who do not receive financial support from both parents are more likely to face poor health, substance abuse, aggression and domestic violence, and less likely to graduate from high school and succeed in life than children who receive financial support from both parents?
That is because without financial support, children are first to fall under the national poverty line. Four times as many divorced women with children fall under the poverty line than married women with children, and single mothers are nine times more likely to live in deep poverty than the married family.
We often think that the greatest harm to a child from the family divorce is emotional, but statistically, the greatest impact comes from the economic challenges associated with single parent households.
For the children, "family income appears to be more strongly related to children's ability and achieve than to their emotional outcomes." (Brooks-Gunn, Duncan, J.G. (1997). The Effects of Poverty on Children). Statistics from the Urban Institution show that child support is the dividing line that keeps many families from experiencing poverty, as child support makes up 35 percent of the family income for poor families not on welfare. But nationwide, almost 70 percent of children who are eligible for child support never receive it.
That is why we are here. It is not mere rhetoric when we say that we will continue improving our processes for the benefit of the children in Tarrant County. We began our child support monitoring program with a collection rate of 65 percent at its inception in 2000 and have constantly and consistently improved our rate since that time. Today we boast one of the highest published child support collection rates in the nation.
Through a cooperative agreement with the State of Texas and the federal government, and with the support of the Tarrant County Commissioner’s Court, the paying case rate for the Tarrant County Child Support monitoring program averaged 89 percent for 2019, and has averaged greater than 85 percent for the last 10 years. According to a local newspaper report, the national average is less than 40 percent.
Additionally, in any given year, our staff audits almost $300 million in child support and produces pay records for court. We handle over 100,000 customer service inquiries and obtain about 300 agreed child support orders through mediated negotiations conferences. Working hard to secure the future of our children, we are proud to be part of a county, and a department, that cares.