Analysts are calling Ohio’s child support enforcement portal “totally broke” and saying it’s a “broken, broken, broken system.”
A recent study found that Ohio’s “Child Support Portal” is “completely broken” and has been “fraudulently accessed” by users.
The study, which was conducted by the consulting firm KPMG and conducted by Ohio’s Office of Child Support Enforcement, found that the portal is “not in compliance with Ohio law” and is “unnecessary and ineffective.”
“It is not clear to us whether Ohio law is clear on the role that the state’s child-support portal should play in ensuring that a child is receiving financial support from their parents and the courts,” said John DeJong, director of KPMI’s child justice program.
“It is clear that child support can be issued in Ohio, but the state can’t issue child support orders in Ohio.”
DeJong added that while child support in Ohio is supposed to be “treaty-bound” by law, the portal has been used “for many years without any formal court process.”
“If the state wants to address this issue, it needs to establish rules and standards for the issuance of child support, not for this particular portal to be used,” he added.
The website has a “troubling” reputation, said DeJongo.
It’s “frequently cited” for not being clear on child support laws.
In one instance, he said, a “support provider” used the portal to issue a support order against an ex-boyfriend, but “the support provider never filed the court action, and the child support was never paid.”
He also called out the portal for being “complicated.”
It’s unclear what court process Ohio requires a parent to fill out to file a support request, and what happens if the parent cannot afford to pay the child.
“It’s hard to understand how this portal could have been created in the first place,” DeJons said.KPMG has been analyzing Ohio’s Child Support Portal for more than a year, and DeJongs team found that “it has been a total failure for years.”
The company found that children are not being served by the portal.
Instead, the report found that child-welfare records “show the parents are often not served at all.”
“There is a significant risk that the system could be abused by people who do not understand the rules or the laws,” the report said.
DeJons told Business Insider that the company is also concerned that “people who are being asked to pay child support are not necessarily the ones who are paying it.”
Dejong also noted that the court system in Ohio “does not require a person to file for child support at all, so that may be a concern as well.”
De Jong said that the report is a “wake-up call” for Ohio, which he says has “lost sight of the fact that we are not the first state to have a broken system,” and is now “looking to the federal government for help.”
“They should be looking to Ohio and other states that are not doing this right, and they need to start looking at it right now,” De Jong added.
“I am calling for an end to the system that has been broken for so long and I am calling on Ohio and all of its partners in this effort to fix it.”KPMI is calling on federal lawmakers to enact laws that require “a clear, consistent, and legally enforceable process to obtain a child support order.”