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August is Child Support Awareness Month

MEXICO – Every child should have the emotional and financial support of both their parents, even if both parents do not live together with the child.

Child support payments can make the crucial difference between poverty and self-sufficiency for the households of children in which a parent is absent.

The Oswego County Child Support Enforcement Unit, a division of the Department of Social Services, provides parents with information and assistance, ensuring their children receive the financial and medical support they are entitled to.

“New York State law provides that if you are the parent of a child, you are responsible for the financial support of that child until they reach age 21, even if you have never or no longer reside with the child,” said Gregg Heffner, commissioner of Social Services.

There are currently 8,222 child support cases serving 8,875 children in Oswego County.

In 2012, the Oswego County Child Support Enforcement Unit collected financial support amounting to $14,580,296.

Parents and guardians applying for or receiving cash assistance are automatically referred to the child support enforcement unit for child support services, and are required to comply with the child support unit in order to receive their benefits.

Parents and guardians who are not in receipt of cash assistance may also apply for child support services.

“The child support enforcement unit can help locate the absent parent, assist in the establishment of paternity, and help obtain child support and medical support orders,” said John Ferry, coordinator of Child Support Enforcement. “Once an order for support is in place, the child support enforcement unit can aid parents by collecting support through automatic income deduction. The child support enforcement unit can also assist with filing modification and violation petitions with Family Court.”

When payments fall behind, the child support unit utilizes various automatic processes to enforce payment of the support order.

These can include suspending driver’s and/or professional licenses; taking tax refunds, lump sum awards, and/or lottery winnings; and seizing bank accounts and assets.

“The goal of these enforcement measures is to recover child support owed,” said Heffner.

For more information, visit www.newyorkchildsupport.com

To contact the child support unit, call the child support customer service helpline at 1-888-208-4485 Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; email the unit at childsupport@oswegocounty.com; or visit the Department of Social Services, 100 Spring St., Mexico, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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