Illinois – HFS launching virtual town hall meetings

HFS Division of Child Support Services seeking input from residents across Illinois in series of virtual town hall meetings

Springfield, IL (STL.News) The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is launching a series of virtual town hall meetings to engage with community members across the state to gather input as the state prepares for its regular review of Illinois child support guidelines.

The virtual town hall meetings will be held on Wednesday evenings beginning on Feb. 9 and running through the spring. Each meeting will target a certain geographic region of the state that corresponds with one of the Division of Child Support Services regional office service areas.

Members of the public are encouraged to participate in one of the meetings that is being held in their part of the state. HFS is eager to hear input from all participants, as it continues its mission of serving the needs of modern families as effectively as possible.

“We see public input as a crucial part of our evaluation of the current child support guidelines for Illinois, and in how we determine where we need to make changes so we’re meeting families where they are,” said Bryan Tribble, Administrator of the Division of Child Support Services at HFS.  “We are hoping many Illinoisans will participate in these virtual events and tell us what they need from us so we can ensure we keep improving and can serve them better in the future.”

HFS is preparing for its four-year review of Illinois child support guidelines, which is aimed at evaluating the effectiveness and fairness of the guidelines and identifying where gaps in services or barriers to access exist.

Illinois currently uses an income shares model for determining child support payments, which was implemented in 2017 because the model more fairly allocates financial obligations between parents for the benefit of their children.

The first two virtual town hall meetings will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 9 and Feb. 16, and will target residents of the counties the Springfield regional office serves, which are:  Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Christian, DeWitt, Greene, Hancock, Jersey, Logan, Macoupin, Mason, McDonough, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler and Scott.  Participants are asked to register online in advance of those events.

The series of town halls significantly expands beyond past efforts to gather public input on Illinois child support guidelines and is part of an ongoing effort by HFS to increase transparency and public accountability.

“HFS’ Division of Child Support Services has been nimble in its efforts to evolve how we serve Illinois families,” HFS Director Theresa Eagleson said.  “But families know best what their needs are, and we are asking them to take part in this dialogue so we can continue to improve how we serve them and reach more families across the state.”

Town halls for all regions are scheduled from 7 to 8:30 p.m. as follows:

Springfield region, Feb. 9 and Feb. 16.
Marion region, Feb. 23 and March 2.
Belleville region, March 9 and March 16.
Champaign region, March 23 and March 30.
Peoria region, April 6 and April 13.
Joliet region, April 20 and April 27.
Cook County region, May 4, May 11, May 18 and May 25.
Aurora region, June 1 and June 8.
Rockford region, June 15 and June 22.

HFS provides child support services to more than 440,000 families across Illinois.  These services range from helping parents establish paternity to establishing fair child support orders and enforcing them when necessary.  The services are available to anyone needing them, regardless of economic status.

In the state 2020 fiscal year, HFS collected and disbursed more than $1.3 billion in child support.

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