RICHMOND, Va.– Use of an online portal developed to help streamline child support payments in Virginia continues to grow.

Transactions through the $4KIDS program and other electronic methods through the state Department of Social Services increased by nearly 16 percent, or more than 30,000 transactions, in 2012, according to Virginia Interactive, the company runs the website and phone service for the agency. Total money processed increased by 18 percent to $42.6 million.

The portal that allows non-custodial parents and employers to make child support payments free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Agency officials have said it is helping get child support to parents and children faster and easier, and is cutting down on administrative costs for the department.

The payment system was first launched in July 2007, but a redesigned version of the site was launched in December 2009 under a $99,000 contract between the agency and Virginia Interactive. Since then, more than 545,000 payments totaling more than $100 million have been processed. Average monthly transactions for 2012 were $3.5 million, representing an average increase of $1.2 million per month, the agency said.

In Virginia, about 330,000 children — about one-fifth of the state’s child population — were child support recipients in fiscal year 2012 and are owed $3.1 billion in past due child support, the social service department said. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, the agency collected a record $657.1 million in child support payments, a more than 1 percent increase from the previous year.

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