ARLINGTON - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today joined with State Rep. Toby Goodman, Chairman of the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues House Committee, to announce recent improvements in child support customer service programs, including the new Dallas - Tarrant County Child Support Call Center and the Child Support Interactive Section of the Attorney General's website.
"I am committed to improving every aspect of child support especially customer service," said Attorney General Cornyn. "These improvements will help parents get answers more quickly and efficiently. Because of the Dallas - Tarrant County Call Center, we have increased the phone call answer rate from 14% to 94%."
When Attorney General Cornyn assumed office in 1999, the statewide call center received approximately 1.3 million calls in a typical month. All calls to local child support offices were automatically forwarded to this statewide call center, creating a tremendous backlog of calls. Half a million of these calls were handled by an automated system, but 800,000 callers wanted to speak with a customer service representative. Unfortunately, only 14% percent, approximately 100,000 calls, were actually answered. The rest of the calls were automatically disconnected or frustrated callers hung up the phone.
With the new call center, Dallas and Tarrant County parents seeking assistance with child support cases can now call a local number, (972) 339-3100, instead of calling the statewide call center.
In January 1999, Attorney General Cornyn, implemented a phone call pilot project for the Child Support Division and started requiring some local offices to answer calls to decrease the call volume at the statewide call center. After assessing the success of the pilot project, Attorney General Cornyn received approval from the Legislature to hire additional staff to answer phones in new regional call centers including the Dallas-Tarrant County Call Center. In May, the Dallas-Tarrant County call answer rate was 94% (56,029 calls answered).
"We certainly have a long way to go, but I am hopeful that with teamwork and strong leadership we can make the changes that will truly improve child support," said Attorney General Cornyn.
Attorney General Cornyn also unveiled the Child Support Interactive section of the Attorney General's website at www.oag.state.tx.us. Visitors to the site can receive information about the child support program, request an application for services, and provide information on a delinquent parent. Custodial parents have been able to check on payment information and case status on a secure page on the site for several months. A site for noncustodial parents was launched June 23 allowing noncustodial parents to obtain case payment information online. All of these services are available 24 hours a day and seven day a week. The site receives 50,000 visits per month, and the number of visits is expected to grow rapidly.
The Attorney General is also sending public service announcements, in English and Spanish, to radio stations statewide in order to inform listeners about the new call centers in their area.
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