WOOSTER, Ohio — Wayne and and Tuscarawas Counties will become the first Ohio counties to launch a new app to help pay and collect child support.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services' Office of Child Support is piloting the program with a projected live date in the fall. Eventually, the plan is for the app to be used by all 88 Ohio counties.
"It's important that we provide ways to quickly get these payments to children and their families as quickly as possible," said Michelle Masters-Haines with the state office of child support.
The app will allow people to make payments on their phones, look up case information, upload documents, and send messages to agencies.
"We think we're just moving with generations at this point. It's easy access when it's convenient for the families and I think it will really encourage our parents, grandparents and caretakers to be active," said Brynn Jackson, the director of the Wayne County Child Support Enforcement Agency.
Customers can still use a website to see bulletins and payment history. A link on the site directs people to another site for payments.
One of the reasons Wayne County was picked for the app pilot program is the county has the highest portal registration statewide.
"We're hoping that with this wide range of options that people will find that there's one that works best for them," Jackson said.
Ohio has more than 800,000 open child support cases, which is the fourth-highest in the country, but Masters-Haines said Ohio collects the third most among the top ten states.
Last year, $1.6 billion in child support payments were collected throughout Ohio. Currently, children in the state are owed a cumulative amount approaching $5 billion.
Wayne County ranks in the top ten in the state, collecting 77 percent of child support money owed. The county has more than 6,000 open cases. Last year, $16 million was collected.