Wednesday, May 19, 1999
SAN ANTONIO - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn and Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chair Diane Rath announced a innovative pilot program to help noncustodial parents who owe child support find work. Currently, approximately 400,000 Texas children receive welfare instead of child support from the noncustodial parent-at a cost of $215 million to Texas taxpayers. This cooperative pilot program will help noncustodial parents achieve the means to pay their child support and move their children off Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).
"Parents who do not meet their child support obligations have caused the children and their custodial parents to struggle to make ends meet, and the taxpayers have become responsible for $215 million in additional welfare benefits," said General Cornyn. "If only they had received their child support payments, these children would not be dependent upon welfare," continued Cornyn.
The pilot program is a cooperative effort which draws on the strengths of the Attorney General's office, TWC and the local community. The program will offer assistance in job placement, skills training, and counseling. The key is to help these parents find and keep a job.
In the first step of the program, the Attorney General's office identifies a child support case in which the custodial parent relies upon TANF and the noncustodial parent is unemployed and is past-due in child support payments. The Attorney General's office notifies the court of the case. The court then determines the proper course of action--whether to require back payments, counseling services, and participation in work activities, and the court refers the parent to the appropriate public or private agency for assistance.
"The Texas Workforce Commission strongly believes that the local communities are in the best position to address local workforce needs," added Rath. "In the case of delinquent noncustodial parents of children receiving welfare, local workforce development boards can help them obtain employment under the work-first philosophy, with follow-up training and post-employment support services such as transportation and child care."
- 30 -