Thursday, October 7, 1999
AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today released the end of State Fiscal Year (SFY) 1999 child support statistics showing promising improvements in collection rates and paternity statistics. The statistics demonstrate that progress has been made, and the Attorney General's recent changes in the child support system are bringing about needed results.
"When I came into office, I inherited a Child Support Division long suffering from years of neglect. We have made some changes and seen some progress, but we still have a long way to go," said Attorney General Cornyn.
This Division has the fourth largest caseload in the nation with 1.2 million cases involving 2 million children. In an encouraging turn of events, child support collections for these cases increased 15% from $757 million in SFY 98 to $868 million in SFY 99 outpacing the 8% growth in cases from 1.1 million to 1.2 million.
Also, voluntary paternities have increased 5% from 56,884 to 59,607. A judge cannot order child support and the Attorney General cannot collect child support until legal paternity has been established. This has become increasingly important since in SFY 1999 over 105,000 children were born out-of-wedlock in Texas. Outreach coordinators from the Child Support Division work with hospital staff to encourage parents of children born out-of-wedlock to establish legal paternity by signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity form.
If one or both of the parents do not sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity form, the Attorney General must establish legal paternity in the courts. The Child Support Division set a new record with a 16% increase over last year in establishing paternities in 37,002 cases involving 46,556 children. Last year, paternities were established for only 40,173 children.
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