The 1995 Family Support Act required Texas and other states to create their own child support collection and enforcement system. However, a new proposal would see the creation of a federal program called the Child Support Technology Fund. The White House and the Department of Health and Human Services have requested $63 million for this effort for fiscal year 2019. If approved, it would allow the HHS to develop an IT system that can be used to track payments at the state level.
States would then be allowed to use that technology to monitor and enforce collection efforts within their borders. Creating such a system is estimated to save HHS $800 million over the next 10 years. Over the past five years, the department has spent about $1 billion to reimburse state governments for the cost of creating their own systems. Many states have had difficulty in doing so. Indiana scrapped its efforts, saying that its system relied on technology that would result in catastrophe if it crashed.
If the request for funding is granted, it is not certain when a new federal system would be available. There were no details provided as to where it would be hosted or who would be responsible for maintaining or upgrading the system.
Child support payments are generally intended to look out for the best interests of the child. Therefore, parents who fail to make them may face significant penalties. Parents who may be struggling to make payments may benefit from asking for a support order modification. Parents who are owed money may wish to talk with an attorney about ways to have the order enforced.