By Portia WIlliams
According to reports from ODJFS, over the last 11 months, Ohio has seized $2 million in unpaid child support from jackpot winners at Ohio’s casinos and. August is Child Support Awareness Month, and ODJFS joins Governor John R. Kasich and Lt. Governor Mary Taylor in honoring the parents, families, caseworkers, and judicial and social services organizations that provide essential support to more than 1 million children around the state.
Reports reveal that since September 2014, the ODJFS has partnered with the Lottery Commission, Casino Control Commission, and Ohio’s casinos and racinos to check jackpot winners against a database of parents who owe child support. If a winner owes child support, the casino withholds all or part of the jackpot.
Cynthia C. Dungey, ODJFS director, said the winnings make up a small portion of the annual $2 billion in child support payments in the State of Ohio.
“These winnings are a small part of the nearly $2 billion in child support payments made each year in Ohio, but it is important that we deliver this money to the children who deserve it,” Dungey said. “If parents are behind on their child support, it is only right that any gambling winnings go directly to their children.”
On the local front, executive director of Scioto County DJFS Paige Robbins said the local agency will be involved in the process as well, should any earnings occur that should go towards any unpaid child support owed in Scioto County.
“Child support payments are taken very seriously in the state of Ohio, and because falling behind on child support can severe illegal and financial problems,“ Robbins said. “August is Child Support Awareness Month, and the purpose is to raise awareness of the child support program.”
“Today, where we stand on casino/racino intercepts and to date we have never had one in our county, and we can pull up reports on where we stand on the intercepts,but I believe that is a great system, ” Robbins said. We are truly glad for the state’s efforts in seizing winnings from the casinos and racinos, although we do not have any cases at this time.”This only effects larger winnings, such as any winnings that exceed $1,200 on a slot machine, $5,000 at poker tournaments, or $600 on a $2 bet at a race track will be intercepted forchild support payments.”
Ohioans were also encouraged to wear green to work on Wednesday, Aug. 5, in recognition of Child Support Awareness Month.
According to ODJFS, Ohio’s county child support enforcement agencies collect 69 percent of all child support owed, far better than the national average of 64 percent. Ohio consistently ranks in the top five of all states for collections on current support due and exceeds the national average for establishing paternity.
For each dollar in administrative costs, the child support program collects and distributes $7.34 in child support. Families with questions about child support orders can check their case information online at childsupport.ohio.gov or may contact their county child support enforcement agency.
According to Robbins,as of June, Scioto County has collected more than $5million dollars in child support which represents 70 percent of the total child support orders that are sent.
“People can now make their child support payments with Money Gram, and this is something new,” Robbins said. “You can pay cash at a Money Gram location, CVS and Walmart are both Money Gram locations, or you can pay online with a credit card.”
Those who wish to utilize the new methods for making child support payments may call, 1-800-926-9400, or moneygram.com/PayBills
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.