Neb. Gov. Dave Heineman announced that more than $1 billion in child-support payments has been distributed to 176,000 Nebraska children during the last five years, thanks to efforts of the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center in the State Treasurer's Office and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

"Our children are the future of our state and they deserve both emotional and financial support," Gov. Heineman said. "That support helps families build and maintain a more stable environment, which benefits children of all ages."

On March 29 achieved the $1 billion milestone in child support distributions, thanks in part to advances in technology that have had a positive impact on how quickly child support payments are collected and distributed. The payment center opened in December 2001.

State Treasurer Ron Ross said, "When the payment center first opened, the majority of child support payments were made by check. Today, many payments come in electronically, which has resulted in a much faster turnaround."

In 2004 the state added the ReliaCard, an electronic payment card, and the push for direct deposit has also sped up the process of getting those support payments out to families. Nearly 99 percent of child support payments are processed and disbursed within 48 hours.

HHS uses a variety of techniques to help enforce a child support order: income withholding, license suspension, consumer credit bureau reporting, passport denial and intercepting tax refunds. Custodial and non-custodial parents can apply for support services.

HHS Services Director Nancy Montanez said, "Our employees have gone the extra mile to track down parents and ensure that child support is collected. Children have a right to financial support and having that support helps families build a more stable environment for children in this state."

The child support customer service hotline is available toll-free at (877) 631-9973. More information is available on the HHS Child Support Enforcement Web site.