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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Parents who pay child support through the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) are increasingly finding MoneyGram a convenient way to make their payments.
Participation has grown dramatically each month since DCFS aligned with the money transfer company in late 2016 to allow parents to electronically send payments to DCFS for transfer to custodial parents.
In January, noncustodial parents made $20,777.90 in support payments through MoneyGram. The payments more than doubled by February, totaling $51,123.70 that month. By June, noncustodial parents were making $147,047.32 in payments through the service. Payments through the first six months of 2017 totaled $531,241.91.
"Child support has an enormous impact on children - and not just financially," said DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters. "Statistics show that noncustodial parents who pay child support are more involved in their children's lives. It increases father-child contact by more than 27 days per year, and children who receive support also perform better in school."
MoneyGram is available at hundreds of locations throughout the state including Walmart, CVS, Albertsons, Ace Cash Express and others. In addition to storefront locations, parents can also make payments online at MoneyGram.com or from the MoneyGram smartphone app (available for Apple® and Android™ devices).
The service makes it easier and more convenient for noncustodial parents to make child support payments. Previously, the only payment option was a money order mailed to the Centralized Collection Unit in Baton Rouge. DCFS now takes payments through MoneyGram or via bank or credit card online, in addition to money orders by mail.
DCFS handled 283,871 child support cases in 2016, collecting $417.4 million in payments.
In 1995, President Bill Clinton proclaimed August as National Child Support Awareness Month. The proclamation marked the 20th anniversary of Congress' enactment of the Child Support Enforcement and Paternity Establishment Program. The federal-state child support program was designed to reduce welfare expenses by collecting child support from noncustodial parents. The program is based on the premise that both parents are financially responsible for their children.
Child support represents 41 percent of family income for poor families with income below the poverty level who receive child support, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
For more information on making child support payments, including through MoneyGram, go to http://www.dcfs.la.gov/csepayments.