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Child Support Audit

The first time the state issued duplicate child support payments last November it was because of a computer error. That's the finding of state auditor Claire Mc-Caskill.

During a visit to Springfield, she said the computer had problems sorting lists around the thanksgiving holiday. Using a funds transfer, the state took back a large portion of the one point 2 million dollars that had been erroneously transferred into the bank accounts of custodial parents.

The rest of the money the state could not recover, about 200 thousand dollars came to the state from the private company the state had hired through contracts to computerize child support payments'the company's computers were responsible for the errors. But Mc-Caskill says the price of the mistake went beyond real dollars.

In a letter dated June 5th to the state department of social services and the division of child support enforcement, Mc-Caskill reveals the details of the computer glitch.

The letter also outlines the human errors that led to the second case of duplicate child support payments made in January. That occurred in the St Louis area when about 64 thousand dollars in duplicate checks went to custodial parents.

Mc-Caskill says the error occurred when state workers incorrectly began sorting through child support checks that were no longer valid because they had not been cashed within one year of being issued. Mc-Caskill says while the computer problems have been addressed, there's no way to guarantee a human error won't happen again. She says in the wake of the recent problems, her office is conducting two other audits of the child support enforcement system in Missouri.

There's also an audit underway to examine the security of the computer system within the division of child support enforcement.

She says it's important to make sure a limited number of individuals have the authority to alter child support information.