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Child Support Parenting Time Calendar Survey Results

In April, the Child Support Division posted a survey on the Minnesota Child Support Online website asking for feedback from parents, magistrates, legal professionals, and child support staff on the state of Oregon’s parenting time calendar tool. The division is using this feedback as it designs Minnesota's calendar tool for parents.

Nearly 1,900 participants responded to the survey. Of those who responded, 70 percent had two or more children, while only 30 percent had one child. Nineteen percent of respondents have a different parenting schedule for each child, and 53 percent have an existing court-ordered parenting time schedule.

When using the Oregon parenting time tool, only 60 percent of respondents were able to enter their parenting time schedule into the tool and obtain a result. Feedback included respondents saying the tool is too busy and has too much information displaying at once; that the tool is difficult to understand; options need clear definitions; and that the Oregon tool wouldn’t work for Minnesota parents.

Department and information technology staff are designing a calendar tool to work effectively for Minnesota parents using feedback from the survey. More information and updates will be available as work continues.

Child Support Task Force continues work to improve guidelines

Established by the 2016 Minnesota Legislature, the Child Support Task Force meets monthly to discuss the complex economic data and policy issues leading to recommendations to improve Minnesota's child support guidelines.

The task force includes parents, legislators, court and child support professionals, and staff from organizations that work with parents who pay or receive child support. Starting in September, the task force will feature expanded time for public comments at its next four meetings for parents to share their experiences, successes, and challenges and make suggestions for program improvements.

The meeting on September 19, 2017 will be dedicated exclusively to public comment while meetings on September 27, October 25, and November 29 will include two hours for public comment at the end of the regularly scheduled meeting. The task force wants to remind people to limit their comments to five minutes so everyone is able to share their thoughts. Click here for more information about the task force and the meeting on October 25.

Minnesota's child support program ranks in the top five nationally in collections of current, monthly support and overdue support.

Child Support Division and counties reach out to parents with suspended licenses

During Child Support Awareness Month, the Minnesota Department of Human Services' Child Support Division and county child support offices are sending letters to parents who have fallen behind on child support to help them start paying again and get their licenses back. The goal is to help parents get back on track and help their children get the financial support they need.

Last August, Ramsey County implemented a similar project encouraging parents to contact their county child support office and discuss ways to pay their child support so they could re-activate their driver's licenses. Thirty-one percent of all recipients contacted the Ramsey County office after receiving the letter and paid over $330,000 in support.

Modeling the successful Ramsey County project, the division and other counties instituted a similar project across the state on August 11.

In fiscal year 2016, the counties and department collected $595 million in child support for 245,000 children.

New video helps parents understand options for establishing parentage

Establishing parentage at the time of a child's birth is important for new, unmarried parents but even more so for the child. Many parents don't know their options or understand the benefits of determining parentage when the child is born. The Minnesota Department of Human Services' Child Support Division recently created a new parentage video called "Establishing Parentage - What Every Mother and Father Should Know" to help these parents decide how they want to establish parentage and understand the benefits in doing so after their child is born.

The video focuses on two ways to establish parentage, signing the Recognition of Parentage form or by court action which usually involves genetic testing. The video also covers the benefits of establishing parentage for the child and touches on related subjects like child support, custody, and parenting time. The video is about eight minutes long, translated into four languages, and replaces the "Power of Two" paternity video made over 15 years ago. Watch the video here. 

Minnesota's child support program serves over 245,000 children. In federal fiscal year 2016, child support workers established paternity through 2,800 court orders and 1,168 Recognition of Parentage forms signed at county child support offices.

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