|Contact:||Sunny Mindel/Micheal Anton (212) 788-2958|
Jack Deacy / Jennifer Falk (ACS) (212)341-0999
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Administration for Children's Services (ACS) Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today announced that the City achieved record levels of child support collections in Fiscal Year (FY) 2000.
The City collected in excess of $404 million in court ordered payments, an increase of $52 million, or almost 15 percent, over last year's collections of $352 million. The payments helped to support approximately 190,000 children. Also attending the announcement at City Hall were ACS General Counsel Joseph Cardieri and Deputy Associate Commissioner Frank Richards of the ACS Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE).
Mayor Giuliani said, "Today's announcement that child support collections are at record levels shows that the City of New York is working harder than ever to protect children. Failure to pay court-ordered child support is both illegal and immoral. It causes hardship and suffering in the lives of children and families who are entitled to this support. New York City's child support collections have made historic gains in the last several years, and today we send another message to deadbeat parents that they will be held to their obligations."
Commissioner Scoppetta said: "Every dollar our Office of Child Support Enforcement collects translates into food, clothing, shelter and education for the children of our City. Stronger legislation, tougher regulations and our own aggressive enforcement initiatives are making it much more difficult for delinquent parents to avoid their legal and moral responsibilities to their children. I want to thank Associate Commissioner Mike Infranco and his staff at the Office of Child Support Enforcement for their hard work and commitment on behalf of the children of New York."
Child support collections have steadily increased over the past several years,
from $284 million in FY 97 to $318 million in FY 98 to $352 million in FY 99.
The ACS Office of Child Support credits the unprecedented growth in collections
this fiscal year to the following factors:
Child support collections are expected to continue to improve through seizures of assets from banks and brokerage accounts. OCSE also plans to focus efforts on assisting New Yorkers who will be leaving the welfare rolls to maintain their financial independence through timely child support payments. A plan to expedite the process for custodial parents requesting services in Family Court is also expected to take effect this year.
The Mayor and Commissioner Scoppetta also announced that the City's rate of paternity establishment (legal fatherhood) at the time of birth also reached record levels this past year. Paternity was legally established at hospital and birthing centers for 33,000 children, encompassing more than 60 percent of the City's out of wedlock births.
Before a court order of support can be issued for a child, paternity must be established if the child was born out of wedlock.
"Establishing paternity is important because it gives out of wedlock children the same rights as children born to married parents," Commissioner Scoppetta added. "Parents are being encouraged to establish paternity in the hospital when their baby is born, in conjunction with the processing of a birth certificate. The efforts of the new OCSE Paternity Outreach Unit and the ongoing cooperation of the City's hospitals and the City's Department of Health have helped to increase the establishment of paternity."
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