WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine today announced a month-long child support amnesty program in August as part of Child Support Awareness Month. The Office of Attorney General’s (OAG) child support amnesty program will help parents who have fallen behind on payments get back on track and will halt or postpone enforcement actions related to failure to pay. During August, OAG will also offer free paternity testing, distribute free school supplies, host a career fair for non-custodial parents, and share in-house workforce development resources. OAG’s amnesty program and additional support services are designed to give parents the tools they need to support their children.
“Every child in the District should have the support they need to thrive, and that means making sure parents are supported too,” said Attorney General Karl Racine. “When mothers and fathers fall behind on child support payments, often due to difficult circumstances, we want to help them get back on track.”
OAG’s Child Support Services Division (CSSD) works to establish paternity and child support orders and helps parents find jobs that allow them to be the financial backbone of their families. In 2017, OAG collected $56 million in support for more than 26,000 children and established parentage for nearly 6,000 children.
Child Support Amnesty Program
From August 1 to August 31, 2018, OAG’s Child Support Services Division (CSSD) is offering an amnesty program to help parents get back on track with their child-support payments. During the month of August, CSSD experts will work with parents who voluntarily participate in the program to help them better manage their obligations.
If non-custodial parents make a current child support payment and make a good-faith effort to pay toward outstanding child support debt, they may be eligible for the following benefits:
- Help with restoration of driver’s licenses revoked for failure to pay child support;
- Help with eliminating any arrest warrants related to failure to pay child support;
- Dollar-for-dollar matching grants applied to any debt parents owe to the District under the TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) program.
Parents who wish to participate can visit the CSSD office at 441 4th Street NW, Suite 550 North from 8:45 a.m. - 3:45 p.m., Monday through Friday. CSSD case managers will work with parents to make payments on their cases and develop plans to get on track to meet their obligations.
During 2017’s two-week amnesty program, OAG assisted 258 parents who had fallen behind on payments and collected more than $81,000 in back child support. As a result of last year’s success, OAG is extending the amnesty program two additional weeks in 2018.
Free Paternity Testing
Establishing paternity is important for both children and fathers. If a father is not listed on a child’s birth certificate, a genetic test can help a father assert his parental rights or make sure his child can get access to his benefits, like health insurance. A genetic test is also often needed to establish a child support order.
Typically, genetic tests cost between $130 and $200, but during the month of August, individuals who are interested in establishing paternity can access completely free genetic testing through CSSD. In addition to the free test, individuals who participate will each receive a $25 gift card.
This free service is only offered to District residents and individuals who have not established paternity for their child or children. Interested individuals should visit CSSD office at 441 4th Street NW, Suite 550 North from 8:15 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday during August.
Back-to-School Supply Giveaway
From August 27 through August 31, CSSD will distribute backpacks and school supplies on a first-come, first-served basis at the CSSD offices at 441 4th Street NW, Suite 550 North. While supplies last, each family with an active child support case and school-aged children can receive up to two backpacks.
Fatherhood Career Fair & Workforce Development Resources
CSSD is focused on helping non-custodial parents gain employment. Last year, two workforce-development specialists joined CSSD’s team to assist non-custodial parents in finding work. The specialists advise parents and connect them with training, mentoring, and job opportunities. CSSD also runs an intensive program called the Alternative Solutions Center, which focuses on knocking down barriers to employment through wraparound services and provides coaching and mentoring even after parents have started work to help them keep their jobs and succeed.
On August 31, CSSD will host a career fair for non-custodial parents with active child support cases in the Old Council Chambers at 441 4th Street NW. More than 30 area employers will be represented. Qualifying participants will also be able to access free health screenings and free mobile phones.
For more information about workforce development resources, contact CSSD’s Customer Care Center at 202-442-9900.
OAG is working to make child support services more efficient and easier to access:
- Customer Care Center: Customer care is available weekdays from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at 202-442-9900. Care Center staff can speak with parents about their case, update information about address or employment, and provide assistance to ensure parents don’t fall behind on child support payments.
- Online Case Look-Up: Parents can access their case information online 24/7 here. They can check the balances they owe, update their employer information, or update their personal contact information. To get a PIN and use the online system, follow the instructions here.
For more information, visit CSSD’s website at http://cssd.dc.gov