OHIO — An Ohio man says he’s had a hard time finding a reliable web hosting company to serve his child support payments for more than a year.
The man, who asked not to be identified because he has no financial stake in the lawsuit, told Axios he’s been in and out of the web hosting industry for over a year and that the state of Ohio has had difficulty attracting a company to service his child-support payments since it began to be able to collect child support online in the fall of 2014.
“I’ve been on both sides of the fence, but when it comes to child support, the state has always been slow to catch up,” the man said.
He said he’s never received a response from a web hosting service company for more then a week, and has received two or three different emails from the same company since April, each with the same message: “Sorry, the system is down and we can’t assist you.
Please email [address].”
Amber Rochon, an attorney with the advocacy group Child Support Watch, said the state was using outdated data and had missed out on opportunities to attract a quality web hosting provider.
“It’s an absolute crisis.
It’s like you’re in a bad car wreck and no one knows where you’re going,” Rochont said.
“The problem is not just the state.
We’re the ones who have to fix it.”
Rochon said the federal government has offered to pay for the web service, but she said that hasn’t been enough to lure a web-hosting company to offer a stable, reliable service.
“We have to get the web services providers to do a complete overhaul,” she said.
The Ohio Department of Labor and Industry is working to find a suitable web hosting partner to provide the child support payment service for the next few months, she said, but said that’s still up in the air.
Rochont noted that she believes the state should offer a more substantial payment option than the child-supply site, like a cash check or credit card, that it’s using to help fund its child support services.
“The fact is that there’s not a web service that is going to replace the state’s child support collection system,” she added.
The Department of State has not yet announced any changes to the state web-service provider, which has been operating since 2013.
Ohio is the second state to offer child support support payments through the state government, following Texas.
The child-aid system is funded by fees and taxes, and can be used to pay the state for everything from basic child support to child custody.
According to a report released in July by the nonprofit nonprofit advocacy group Advocates for Children and Families, Ohio’s child-help payments now exceed $5 billion annually.
The advocacy group has also noted that the backlog in child support collections has doubled in Ohio in the past decade, from 4.3 million to 11.3 milllion.