By: Al Reyes, Division Chief, Communications and Media Services, L.A. County Child Support Services Department
The Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department (LA County CSSD) held a productive meeting with staff with the office of the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles to discuss how to improve child support collections for families and children on both side of the U.S./Mexico border.
“Los Angeles County shares more international child support cases with Mexico than any other country,” noted L.A. County CSSD Director Dr. Steven Golightly. “This meeting served as another step in forming a stronger partnership with Mexico, leading to a brighter future for the families of Mexico and Los Angeles County.”
On October 31st, Deputy Consul Fernando Lopez Vargas and two staff members of the L.A. Mexican Consulate visited LA County CSSD executive offices and operations in Commerce. Hosting the meeting was Eric Lee, Division Administrator of LA County CSSD’s Intergovernmental Division (IGR). Mr. Lee held an introductory meeting with the consulate officials which included Deputy Director Elizabeth Paik and LA County CSSD Head Attorney Alex Bauer from the executive office and members of the IGR legal staff.
Consulate officials wanted to learn more about the U.S. child support system because they receive many inquiries from people receiving support in Mexico about cases established in Los Angeles County. Latinos make up half of Los Angeles County’s population of ten million people, with the majority being Mexican Americans, many with family roots in Mexico.
“Although Mexico is not a part of the Hague Convention, we are bilateral partners,” observed Mr. Lee. “We receive a vast number of cases for establishment and enforcement for children (in California) and in Mexico. When we establish an order or enforce an order against a parent paying support residing in California for a parent receiving support residing in Mexico, payments are sent to the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles.”
The Mexican consulate delegation was given a tour of LA County CSSD’s state-of the-art, Customer Contact Center and sat down with the LA County CSSD IGR team to discuss ways to expedite obtaining and collecting on orders. The delegation provided illuminating information about Mexico child support laws and processes. They also agreed to reach out to the Mexican child support headquarters in Mexico City to try to assist LA County CSSD in pursuing, establishing, and enforcing child support against individuals residing in Mexico.
LA County CSSD discussed further training for Consulate staff on the child support process in the U.S. including a request that the training be done via Skype so the local child support offices in Mexico could also participate. The delegation also expressed a strong interest in the chief attorney’s invitation to tour the child support courthouse in Los Angeles. Lastly, the delegation invited LA County CSSD Director, Dr. Golightly to a meeting at the embassy with the Consulate General.