JUNEAU (AP) -- The state has hired a private contractor to help collect money owed in delinquent child support cases.
Up to 1,500 cases, many for parents who live out of state, will be assigned to Maximus of McLean, Va.
''This is the first time the Alaska child support agency has tried using a private contractor for collections,'' said Barbara Miklos, director of the Child Support Enforcement Division. ''We're hopeful that a company with a nationwide reach and experience can succeed in finding some of the delinquent parents.''
Maximus will be paid a 17.5 percent commission on its collections.
The one-year contract covers only cases where the entire debt is owed to the state as reimbursement for public assistance benefits paid to the parent with custody of a child, Miklos said.
''We will give Maximus only those cases where we have been unable to locate the delinquent parent or where our collection efforts have come up empty,'' Miklos said.
The contract also is limited to cases in which no payments have been made in the last six months, other than Internal Revenue Service tax refund garnishments or forfeitures of Permanent Fund dividends.
Miklos said the 1,500 cases to be assigned represent almost $31 million in child support owed to the state -- an average of $20,000 per case.
The Child Support Enforcement Division has almost 48,000 active cases and last year collected about $81 million.
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