Friday, April 9, 1999
LUBBOCK - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today spoke to the employees of the Lubbock Child Support Field Offices emphasizing the importance of their work and the changes his administration is making to improve child support.
"Due primarily to a lack of leadership and direction over the last 15 years, the child support system is in terrible shape," said General Cornyn. "This division is like a patient in critical condition, and my first responsibility is to stabilize the patient."
On February 10th, General Cornyn went before the Legislature to present his proposal to improve child support. "My first priority is to improve customer service," said General Cornyn. "I want those families who depend upon child support payments to know that I will make every effort to see that they receive the benefits they are entitled to," he added.
Before General Cornyn took office, more than $16 million in child support payments were collected but were undistributed due to computer errors. The families most in need of assistance were denied their child support payments because of computer or administrative problems. In the last three months, that figure has been reduced to about $6 million and the work to eliminate the undistributed collections continues.
Additionally, the vast majority of the people calling the Child Support Offices for assistance were automatically disconnected or received a busy signal. Only one in every seven phone calls was actually answered.
However, an innovative pilot program in the Dallas Child Support Office is showing great promise, and many more phone calls are being answered. If these results hold up, the Attorney General intends to implement this new phone system statewide.
General Cornyn said, "These delays and lack of customer service in the child support program are simply unacceptable. It is not too much to expect of the government that we answer the phones and deliver child support payments on a timely basis. We must -- and we will -- do better."
Still, he added, "We have to realize that it took 16 years to create these problems. We can't turn these problems around overnight. My administration is only 90 days old, but we are finally taking the necessary steps to turn the situation around."
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