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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: May 23, 2016


NEW CASTLE (May 23, 2016) - Governor Jack Markell signed House Bill 331 on May 19 renaming the Division of Child Support Enforcement to the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) as a way to encourage more Delawareans to seek assistance from the agency. DCSS is one of 11 divisions within the Department of Health and Social Services.

The Division of Child Support Services provides services to both custodial and non-custodial parents, helping them navigate the child support system. Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said by changing the division's name to the Division of Child Support Services, "The state has made a commitment to be inclusive of all Delaware citizens in need of child support services. I thank the Governor and the General Assembly for embracing that vision."

In order to support family independence for single-parent households in Delaware and across the country, the Division of Child Support Services establishes paternity for children born in Delaware and conducts enhanced case processing activities. The division achieves these goals through referrals to education and training programs, family-centered case processing techniques, and efficient collection and prompt distribution of support payments.

"Oftentimes custodial and non-custodial parents see the word enforcement and shy away from seeking help or applying for services for fear of punitive action against them," said Ted Mermigos, Division Director. "We hope that by instituting the name change, the citizens of our state will see that DCSS is service-oriented and will lessen the perceived notion that our division is going to punish individuals. We want people to seek assistance from us, and our name should reflect that. We want to help."

The Division of Child Support Service' three offices in Delaware and 192 employees oversee 82,212 cases statewide. In Fiscal Year 2015, the division collected more than $90 million in child support for single-parent households.

HB 331 was sponsored by Reps. Debra Heffernan and David Bentz and Sen. Bethany Hall-Long. The change takes effect immediately.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.