The state of Texas Office of the Attorney General collected 4.37 billion dollars in child support last year, according to Joel Rogers is the associate deputy director for policy legal and program operations for OAG child support division. Joe Rogers testifies on their child support program, why it was created, and how much they collect.
Joel testified in front of the Juvenile Justice & Family Issues committee last month on February 13, 2019. This hearing was for “invited testimony” only. The JJFI committee does this every year just before the public testimony hearings take place. This gives the bar association and the attorney general’s office an opportunity to get as much on the record as they want to explain bills they have interest in, wrote, had someone write and file on their organization’s behalf, and influence the rest of the committee members. They get this extra time to educate your legislators.
The rest of the public and other organizations and nonprofits get limited to 3 minutes of testimony unless they are invited to come and speak. Periodically, the legislators will have some additional people they consider experts on a topic they are interested in that session to speak giving them more than the 3 minutes of time.
The AG’s office has been the Title IV-D office for the State of Texas as a condition for receiving public assistance funds since 1985. They are responsible for locating absent parents, establishing child support orders, medical and dental support orders, and enforcing and modifying those orders. There office also frequently facilitates orders of conservatorship or possession and access orders or parenting time orders for children when they establish support obligations. In fact, there is a proposed bill this year regarding parenting plans and the AG’s office is the one the legislatures have chosen to develop the guidebook for parenting plans. This bill also gives the judges in Texas the power to override an agreed parenting plan between two fit parents.
Joel says there has been a steadily increasing demand for their services. Since 2007, their caseload has grown by more than 613,000 cases from 2005 through 2018, that’s 67% growth! And from 1.9 billion in child support payment collections in 2005 to over 4.37 billion collected in the last fiscal year. They have over 1.5 million cases with over 1.7 million children. This is approximately 1 in 4 Texas children that they claim are “served” by their program. Joel says that Texas has led the nation in the highest collections annually over any state child support program since 2007, collections per FTE, and cost effectiveness. Joel also says that the program has saved tax payers an estimated 1.86 billion dollars by avoiding and recovering public assistance costs including TANF, Medicaid, and food stamp costs.
He says their mission is “to encourage responsible parenting and promoting the involvement of both parents and ensuring that children get the support they need and deserve.”
You know, in a world where the courts followed constitutional law, then bragging about how well run and profitable your programs are that are related to these court orders wouldn’t be a bad thing. However, when the state violates civil rights, violates your child’s rights to make a profit for the state, that is beyond not okay, it is criminal, corrupt, unjust, and erodes society’s trust in their government institutions.
You can watch the entire video here