Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Friday, July 16, 1999


Improving child support is his top priority

WICHITA FALLS - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today spoke to the employees of the Wichita Falls Child Support Field Office 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 fifteen years, the child support system is in terrible shape," said Attorney General Cornyn. "This division is like a patient in critical condition, and my first responsibility is to stabilize the patient."

Earlier this year, Attorney General Cornyn went before the Legislature to present his proposal to improve child support. "My first priority is to improve customer service," said Cornyn.

Before Cornyn took office, more than $16 million in child support payments were collected but undistributed due to computer errors. The families most in need of assistance were denied their child support payments because of computer or administrative problems. That figure has been reduced to less than $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 Lubbock and Dallas Child Support Offices 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.

Cornyn added, "We have to realize that it took sixteen years to create these problems. We can't turn this around overnight. I have only been in office six months, but through hard work and innovative programs, we are finally taking the necessary steps to turn the situation around."

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Contact Ted Delisi, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050