Pennsylvania National Leader in Federal Measures of Child Support Enforcement

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Department of Human Services (DHS) celebrates the 40th anniversary of the federal Child Support Enforcement Program by recognizing Pennsylvaniaranking first in the nation in child support enforcement collection, according to federal standards.
Governor Tom Wolf declared August as Child Support Enforcement Month in Pennsylvania.

“The department has the highest current collections and arrears percent in the nation – and that is something of which we are extremely proud,” said Secretary Ted Dallas. “The funds collected by DHS employees and county Courts of Common Pleas’ Domestic Relations Sections are a vital lifeline for Pennsylvania children, and thousands of Pennsylvania children have the resources to help ensure they have the food, clothing, and school supplies they need.”

Pennsylvania is the only state to meet or exceed all five federally mandated performance measures established by the Child Support Performance and Incentive Act. The commonwealth, working closely with the Pennsylvania County Domestic Relations Sections, has met the federal measures every year since 2009.

Additionally, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia rank #1 and #2 in child support performance among U.S. cities.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services, Administration of Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) determines which states meet the federal performance measures. Because of Pennsylvania’s success, the commonwealth receives a greater return from federal performance incentives that are reinvested within the Pennsylvania child support program.

The specific performance measures are:

  • Current Collections – Measures the collection of current support due each month. Pennsylvania is the highest in the country, at 83.5 percent. The national average is 64.3 percent.
  • Arrearage Collection – Measures the collection of overdue support each month. Pennsylvania is No. 1 in the country, at 83.5 percent, well above the national average of 62.9 percent.
  • Support Order Establishment – Measures the number of support cases with established child support orders. OCSE requires states to establish orders for at least 80 percent of open child support cases.Pennsylvania is at 89.8 percent compared to the national average at 84.8 percent.
  • Cost-Effectiveness – Measures the amount of money spent by the state Child Support Enforcement program against the total support collections. OCSE requires a cost-effectiveness ratio of $5 collected for every $1 spent by the program. Pennsylvania collects $5.48 for every $1 spent compared to the national average of $5.22.
  • Paternity Establishment – Measures the number of support cases with paternity established. OCSE requires states to establish paternity for at least 80 percent of open child support cases. Pennsylvania is at 96.5 percent compared to the national average of 95.9 percent.

Note: Performance information is based on data for federal fiscal year 2014.

DHS’ Bureau of Child Support Enforcement administers Pennsylvania’s child support collection and enforcement efforts through cooperative agreements with the 67 county Courts of Common Pleas’ Domestic Relations Sections.

This summer, the department rolled out a mobile version of the Pennsylvania Child Support website. The mobile site is designed to simplify screen navigation for people accessing child support program information and case details. As more than 18,000 people visit the main child support website daily and 67 percent use mobile devices as their primary means of accessing online content, DHS created the innovative site to make it even easier for people to make payments or check case details.


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