78.6 F
Cruz Bay
Sunday, July 25, 2021
HomeNewsLocal newsPaternity and Child Support Division Closer to Fixing Backlog of Cases

Paternity and Child Support Division Closer to Fixing Backlog of Cases

Attorney General Denise George. (2019 Government House photo)
Attorney General Denise George (2019 Government House photo)

The combination of the pandemic, staffing shortages and an outdated database has resulted in a series of backlogged cases within the Division of Paternity and Child Support, preventing custodial parents and their children from receiving their court-mandated support.

But that backlog is being addressed, Attorney General Denise George told lawmakers on Monday.

During a meeting of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Justice and Public Safety held Monday, Sen. Alma Francis Heyliger said her office has been inundated with frustrated mothers and custodial parents who are not receiving child support.

“This is an ongoing conversation,” Francis Heyliger said. “I literally had one mother with three daughters, about a week ago, and she has been trying to get funding from their father for the last few years. Apparently, every time he works and people know where he is working, she goes and reports the information to the agency, but she is not getting any traction. And these stories are endless in our community.”

Advertising (skip)
Advertising (skip)

Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George said the division was aware of the complaints from the community and, since she became attorney general, has worked to alleviate the problem.

“When I came on board from the very beginning … the Paternity and Child Support Division was severely understaffed,” George said. “What we are doing to address the situation is that we have reorganized and sought funding, and right now we are at a place where the 33rd Legislature was able to appropriate certain funding, and we have used that funding to build the necessary staff that we need.”

The 33rd Legislature earmarked $680,000 for hiring necessary personnel within the division.

“Up until just a month ago, we had only one investigator within the Paternity and Child Support Division,” George said, but another four have been hired, and “they will immediately start investigating the backlog.”

The division also has hired caseworkers, case administrators and client facilitators, 15 in total, who will assist with the cases, George said. And all of these hires were hired “with the intention of them being able to address the backlog, address the shortfall. All of these cases are finally going to be able to effectively get the attention that it needs, and we’ll be able to effectively enforce and collect, which I believe fully that is what the children of the Virgin Islands and families deserve.”

The division is also in the process of re-platforming the Child Support Territorial Automated Reporting System, which George said, “will greatly increase efficiency, accuracy and timely processing of cases, and enable it to reach its ultimate goal to provide its customers with real-time access to their cases using more innovative technologies, such as a computer application or portal to gain access.”

Though the division has faced several challenges, George said because the division was able to hire special agents on both St. Thomas and St. Croix, “we have begun to aggressively collect on all outstanding arrears, to include the redistribution of the undistributed funds.”

The division has collected over $3.3 million so far this year between the many cases the division handles – 4,752 in the St. Croix District and 3,676 in St. Thomas/St. John District.

Though the problem is not entirely rectified, and the division requires additional staffing, George said the steps taken thus far, “bring us closer to addressing the backlog and seeing substantial improvement in providing the improved services to the children and families of the V.I.”

Sens. Steven Payne Sr., Novelle Francis Jr., Dwayne DeGraff, Kenneth Gittens, Francis Heyliger and Franklin Johnson were present for the hearing. Sen. Javan James Sr. was absent.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.



JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,348FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
18 hours ago
Virgin Islands Source

Juju & Cece’s Lemonades and Treats is hosting a "Freco and Lemonade" event today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cultured Naturals Body Care located on Company Street in Christiansted, St. Croix.

The business, Juju & Cece’s Lemonades, evolved from a summer project put together by 4-year-old Juliett Reid-Ventura and 3-year-old Gracie Reid-Ventura. #visource #usvi #supportlocalbusiness
... See MoreSee Less

Juju & Cece’s Lemonades and Treats is hosting a Freco and Lemonade event today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cultured Naturals Body Care  located on Company Street in Christiansted, St. Croix. 

The business, Juju & Cece’s Lemonades, evolved from a summer project put together by 4-year-old Juliett Reid-Ventura and 3-year-old Gracie Reid-Ventura. #visource #usvi #supportlocalbusiness

Comment on Facebook

Cute as a button. Darling little princess. Please protect them

Make sure they Mask 😷 up.

Loving and trusting someone is such a risk and i don't wish any woman to be in the same shoes as i was sometime back when I caught my husband red-handed with my own best friend in our own bed. I couldn't believe it when I saw it and my heart started beating so fast and felt like my body is shaking then I ran straight to my elder sister's house. I cried so much and my sister left me to cry and told me it would help ease the pain I was feeling. Then she sat me down and asked me if I still love my husband and I told her yes of course, and she told me that we all learn and grow through mistakes and no one is perfect and told me that if I wanted my man back I should fight for him and never trust friends again.My sister told me to contact profisma+27783320386 who had helped her husband with financial issues and told me he will help me bring my man back. It took me weeks to think about it because we come from a strong religious background but things worsened because I could not even concentrate at work and i got fired, and after that, i remembered what my sister had told me about consulting with him. That's when I contacted him and told everything, he listened, and told me that he will solve all my problems in 48 hrs. Since it was my first time doing this, i could not believe his words just like that but i had to wait until the time he had promised. I was asked to buy materials to help me which I did, we begun the prayer and results were delivered in three days. My husband called me and asked me where I was, and he came straight to me and confessed how my best friend seduced him, and he was sorry to fall into her trap and showed me all the messages my best friend was sending to him and promised never to see her again and promised to love me and only me. That evening he took me to a romantic dinner, Since prophet isma helped me, I got a better paying job than the previous one, my husband is back to the old man I used to know and he loves me so much and does everything to see that am happy. Thank you so much prophet, your spells indeed work. If you're going through struggles, you can text him on WhatsApp +27783320386 or call him

Load more
Print Friendly, PDF & Email