13-year child support quest exposes state’s incompetency

A Shawnee County woman testified to Kansas lawmakers about the failures in the state's child support collection system.

By

State News

October 21, 2021 - 9:38 AM

Katie Whisman delivered a searing indictment of the state’s privatized child-support system Tuesday to a special legislative committee. Photo by (Screen capture of Kansas Legislature/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Shawnee County resident Katie Whisman’s testimony about failure of the state’s child support collection system to deliver more than $53,000 owed by her daughter’s father inspired a rousing assault by legislators on state contractors responsible for the mess.

Whisman proved no match for the bureaucratic indifference of companies managing the privatized system, despite bringing her skills as a veteran law enforcement officer to the battle. She said the system proved difficult to understand and even more challenging to navigate.

She offered statistical evidence of system failure that landed like punches of a boxer pounding away at a taxpayer: More than 103,000 cases are in arrears. Kansans are owed $842 million in unpaid child support. Only 55% of payment orders generate cash.

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