If you live in Texas and have been awarded child support, you’ll be glad to know that the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division is the most successful and cost-effective program in the nation. According to Attorney General Ken Paxton, the Child Support Division has set a record by collecting more than $3.9 billion in child support for the state fiscal year that ended Aug. 31.
In his article for the East Texas Review, Paxton explains that the money collected during that period “benefitted 943,000 families and topped the previous year’s record by $186 million.” Paxton attributes this success to the dedication and hard work of the men and women who staff the state’s Child Support Division.
Not only are their efforts of benefit to the children of divorce in Texas, but they also save the taxpayers a bundle. Mara Friesen, Deputy Director for Child Support, says, “By ensuring that parents financially support their children – rather than taxpayer-funded public assistance programs – the Child Support Division saved taxpayers an estimated $1.76 billion in state fiscal year 2014, as child support payments reduced the need for TANF, food stamps and Medicaid.”
Although these achievements by the Texas Child Support Division are certainly praiseworthy, it’s too bad there is a need for such efforts in the first place. If all children of divorce had mothers and fathers who took their parental responsibilities seriously, even more money could be saved and used for the public benefit.
A typical Texas Child Support staff member collects $11.34 for every dollar spent, putting Texas first in cost effectiveness. This is 216 percent better than the national cost effectiveness ratio of $5.25. With the national ratio so much lower, you can see how a lot of money is spent on forcing dead-beat child support payers to do what they should be doing voluntarily.
It’s hard to believe the extremes to which some parents will go to avoid paying child support. The worst example we’ve heard of was reported in the New York Daily News. A father was convicted of murder, for throwing his four-year-old daughter off a cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. According to the article, it took three trials over a period of twelve years to get the father, Cameron Brown, convicted for the first-degree murder of his daughter, Lauren. The article says, “A witness came forward at the third trial who testified that Brown said it would be “nice to get rid of Lauren” to avoid $1,000-a-month payments.”