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Kansas Launches Ad Blitz To Increase Child Support Compliance

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Andy Marso/KHI News
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 Two Kansas government agencies are teaming up on a $50,000 ad campaign urging employers to follow federal child support law.

The law highlighted in the campaign requires employers to report new hires to the Kansas Department of Labor so the department can  withhold any child support the new employee owes.

The Department for Children and Families (DCF), which handles child support enforcement in the state, partnered with the labor department to hire JNA Advertising in Overland Park to create television and print ads for the campaign.

“Right now there’s some great employers who do report their new hires but some who don’t,” says Trisha Thomas, DCF’s director of child support services. “We just want to educate those folks.”

She says about 20,000 Kansas employers report on new hires, but she was unsure how many do not. Still, she hopes the ad campaign will lead to millions in additional child support revenue.

John Nohe, JNA’s president and CEO, unveiled three posters Friday that will be used in the campaign.  One features a robust stalk of broccoli with the text: “You can’t make sure Kansas kids eat their vegetables. But you can make sure they have the support they need.”

Nohe’s team plans to roll out ads at 17 TV stations across the state, with the air time donated because they are public service announcements.

States set their own penalties for not following the reporting law, but there is no fine for non-compliance in Kansas. Thomas says the state is not considering putting one in place because she believes most of those failing to report are not doing so maliciously.

Missouri hasn’t traditionally levied fines either, but the state’s Department of Social Services is in the process of implementing some. Intentional failure to report new hires in Missouri will soon result in a $25 fine. An employer who conspires with an employee to flout the reporting law faces a $350 fine.

Andy Marso is a reporter for KHI News Service in Topeka, a partner in Heartland Health Monitor.

Andy Marso is a reporter for KCUR 89.3 and the Kansas News Service based in Topeka.
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