Illinois’ ranking among the country’s worst states on the issue of child support collection is getting a little better thanks to its new hit-em-where-it-hurts policy of denying hunting and fishing licenses to people who are behind on their child support.
According to this Chicago Tribune story, since the program went into effect six months ago, the state has collected almost $130,000 from 90 parents who owed child support, but were denied licenses until they started to pay up. Interestingly, 88 parents decided to give up on their licenses rather than pay. And soberingly (you can never have too many adverbs), custodial parents in Illinois, who are mostly women, are still owed a grand total of $3.2 billion with a “b” in back child support.
The story also cited some successes in other states that have implemented the policy. One Maine hunter, for example, reportedly paid $30,000 in back child support to hunt moose.
The Illinois article was built around a mother of two teenage boys, whose father hadn’t paid child support since 2005. But when he went to apply for his hunting license last year, he was denied. The father finally got the license by starting a payment plan, and the family used the money to enlarge their too-small kitchen. Sounds like another success story. Can you think of a down side to such state programs? -K.H.