Local Child Support Unit collected more than $14 million last year

MEXICO, NY – Every child should have the emotional and financial support of both of 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 Unit, a division of the County Department of Social Services, provides parents with information and assistance to ensure their children receive the financial and medical support they are entitled to.

“The work of the Child Support Unit has a significant impact on the quality of life of families across Oswego County,” said County Legislator Shane Broadwell, chairman of the County Legislature’s Human Services Committee. “There are currently 8,149 child support cases serving 8,630 children in Oswego County. In 2013, the Department of Social Services Child Support Enforcement Unit collected financial support amounting to $14,536,304.”

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.

Child support services are available to the general public; there are no eligibility requirements.

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.

“The Oswego County 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 actions can include suspending driver’s and/or professional licenses, taking tax refunds, lump sum awards, and/or lottery winnings, and seizing bank accounts as well as other assets,” said Commissioner of Social Services Gregg Heffner, LCSW-R. “There are also court-based enforcement measures that may be available. The goal of these enforcement measures is to recover child support owed.”

The Legislature’s Human Services Committee oversees the Department of Social Services.

In addition to Legislator Broadwell, District 17, Scriba, committee members include vice chairman Daniel LeClair, District 8, Palermo; Shawn Doyle, District 3, Pulaski; Daniel Farfaglia, District 24, Fulton; John Proud, District 7, Mexico; Marie Schadt, District 19, Oswego; and Stephen Walpole, District 14, Scriba.

For more information, visit www.childsupport.ny.gov

To contact the unit, call the Child Support Customer Service Helpline at 1-888-208-4485 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., or email [email protected], or visit the Department of Social Services, 100 Spring St., Mexico 13114, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.