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Cook County Connections: Child Support Services in Cook County

Sep 14, 2022 10:52AM ● By Laura Durenberger
Photo: Cook County Public Health

By: Alison McIntyre, Cook County Public Health & Human Services Director - September 13, 2022

Child support services work with parents and guardians to ensure that children and families receive financial, medical, and childcare support. In Minnesota, counties are federally mandated to provide child support services to families. 

What is child support?

Child support is money that parents pay to their child’s other parent or caregiver to support their children. When parents do not live together, they can go to court and ask for an order establishing a set amount for child support. Someone who has custody of a child, such as a grandparent, may also ask the court to order one or both parents to pay child support. A court may issue an order for child support when parents do not live together and the parent with custody of the child applies for public assistance.

In State Fiscal year 2020 the state of Minnesota collected $586 Million, and 95% of that money went directly to families with the other 5% reimbursing public assistance. Child support served 226,000 children within this year.

Child support services include:

  • Locating parents and establishing paternity, including genetic testing
  • Opening and closing child support cases
    • Establishing court orders for child support
    • Working with other states to establish and enforce child support
  • Enforcement of child support orders
    • Collecting and enforcing court orders for child support
    • Help families modify court orders when family circumstances change

Child support services do not include divorce assistance, parenting time or custody assistance, legal advice our counsel. Please contact an attorney if you need any of these services.

How are child support services provided in Cook County?

Since 2013, Cook County has partnered with Carlton County Public Health and Human Services to provide child support and collections services to the residents of Cook County.

In 2021, $195,875 was collected on the 136 open child support cases in Cook County. Nation-wide, more than one in every five children receive financial assistance from noncustodial parents through child support services, making it one of the broadest reaching federal programs in existence.

If you have questions about establishing paternity, applying for child support or regarding modification or enforcement of an existing child support case can contact the Child Support office by calling 1-888-818-4511 or visit MN Child Support Online at www.childsupport.dhs.state.mn.us.

For information on applying for economic assistance or health care programs in Cook County, call 218-387-3620 and ask to speak with an intake financial worker. You can also email our team at [email protected] or apply online at www.mnbenefits.org or www.mnsure.org.

Learn more about child support services and the Public Health and Human Services Department at the September 20th PHHS Board Meeting at 8:30 a.m. in the Cook County Commissioners Room. PHHS Board Meetings are available to livestream and view on the Cook County website at www.co.cook.mn.us. You can also find us on Facebook @CookCountyPHHS and Instagram @cook_county_phhs to learn more about our work supporting the health, safety and well-being of Cook County.

County Connections is a column on timely topics and service information from your Cook County government. Cook County – Supporting Community Through Quality Public Service.


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