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Pennsylvania ranks high with child support enforcement

Pennsylvania was rated as a national leader in child support enforcement by collecting 84 percent of overdue child support in 2014. In that year, support enforcement officers collected over $1.2 billion. Over the last 14 years, the state collected over $17 billion.

Child support officers undergo training and career development from the Penn State Child Support Enforcement Training Institute (PACSETI). This program helped Pennsylvania become the only state to meet all of the federal government's performance standards used to evaluate a state's enforcement program.

The federal government uses five performance standards. Its evaluations are based on a state's performance with obtaining current collections, collection of delinquent payments, establishing support orders, cost effectiveness and establishment of paternity.

PACSETI was established in 2001. It has conducted training for over 5,000 enforcement workers, while 24,000 workers also received instruction over the internet and sessions.

Instructors include former fied workers, child support personnel, lawyers and Directors from the Domestic Relations Sections of Pennsylvania's 66 trial courts. The Penn State Harrisburg School of Public Affairs reviews the credentials of instructors.

PACSETI provides training to enforcement workers in case initiation, finding a non-custodial parent, determining paternity, financial processing, support order enforcement, dealing with government and intrastate support cases and closing cases. All support enforcement workers in Pennsylvania must complete this training.

The Institute works with several entities. These include the Penn State Justice and Safety Institute, the Commonwealth's Department of Human Services' Bureau of Child Support Enforcement, the Domestic Relations Association of Pennsylvania and the DRS.

Even with this enforcement record, seeking a fair and equitable support order and court enforcement may require legal assistance. A qualified attorney can help parents receive support for their children's everyday expenses, health care and education.

Source: Penn State News, "Penn State's role in Commonwealth child support enforcement program turns 15," Sept. 22, 2016

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