Wednesday, February 17, 1999
TYLER - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today toured a Tyler Child Support field office and presented his emergency plan to stabilize the Child Support Division (CSD). "The child support system is in a critical state," General Cornyn said. "But it can improve through fundamental reforms in customer service."
For example, only one out of every eight phone calls is answered by the CSD. In many instances, the calls are automatically disconnected. The Division receives more than 1.3 million calls a month. Often when callers request to talk to staff in a local field office, they are routed to the central Austin call center instead, where they compete with thousands of other callers from across the state.
Additionally, millions of dollars of collected child support sits in bank accounts, undistributed, because of glitches in the computer system.
"My plan attempts to revitalize this agency by starting with the basics: add more personnel to answer the phone and create a computer system that is responsive," General Cornyn stated.
General Cornyn's plan calls for over 100 new employees to answer the telephones, which will more than double the number of telephone calls that can be answered each day. His plan also requires the majority of calls to be handled by local child support enforcement officials, rather the central call center. Currently, a successful pilot project in Dallas routes calls to the regional offices, and this project will be expanded under General Cornyn's plan.
"I'm committed to providing steady leadership and working with our experts until the computer system can respond to child support needs," General Cornyn said. The computer system is responsible for processing checks to the more than 2 million children who depend on child support. The CSD is currently working with a private consultant to ensure quality computer tracking software and a Y2K solution by early summer.
Improving the administration of the CSD is only part of the battle. "Only by encouraging responsible parenting can we ever hope to gain a handle on the child support problem. Responsible parents make strong families, and strong families make a strong Texas," said General Cornyn
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