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Oklahoma Department of Human Services collects record amount in child support

LAWTON, Okla._More Oklahoma families now have the financial support they need as the Oklahoma Department of Human Services registers a record-setting year for child support collections.

The agency says they have collected $362 million in support payments. Lawton's local branch of the services brought in around $20 million alone. Local officials say there's still a lot of work to be done.

Craig Pindell is a Lawton father who, in seven years, has had his fair share of heartache between two states when it comes to receiving money for his son.

"My child support is from the state of Texas so therefore I had to go between someone and more times I would hear when they had something it would take 30 days for them to reply from Texas," said Pindell.

As an Oklahoma resident, he found a helping hand here in Lawton and now, thanks to child support services, there's no waiting for that which is owed to his family.

"It's been pretty consistent and my son's been getting it three times a month...he's 19 years old so it benefits him a lot," said Pindell.

Craig's story is just one of thousands that walk through the doors of Lawton Support Services each year. Each case may be different, but all pose challenging factors that make any number of collections a major milestone for the agency.

"We try to celebrate those successes because it can be a very, very long process for the families as well as for the staff here," said Vicki Spurgeon, managing attorney at Lawton Child Support Services.

Spurgeon said the record-setting $362 million they collected in the state didn't exactly come easy.

"We receive cases here where we first have to locate the other parent, once that's done, then we may have to establish paternity if the child was born out of wedlock," explained Spurgeon.

She says the new record only sets the agency up for even more goals to strive for.

"One of our focuses is on trying to establish paternity and child support orders as early in the child's life as possible. It's also important because studies show that when child support is paid and both parents are active in the support of their children, they're also active in their lives," said Spurgeon.

So they'll continue to help people like Pindell who believe his child is worth every penny.

"It feels good to know you get the support you need. You just have to be patient and be consistent," said Pindell.

Child Support Services currently has over 200,000 active cases statewide. For more information about Child Support Services, call 1-800-522-2922, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit www.okdhs.org and select “Child Support”.

 

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