Ministry of Community and Social Services (Family Responsibility Office)
A father contacted the Ombudsman out of frustration after trying in vain to find out from the Family Responsibility Office how much he owed in child support arrears. The debt was affecting his credit rating, but each time he contacted the FRO to clarify what he owed, he was given a different amount – ranging from $6,000 to $27,000. He feared that the FRO was attempting to get him to pay for a period when his child was living with him and he was not required to pay support.
FRO staff initially told the Ombudsman that the man owed $6,063.53, but once they were asked to review the file more closely, they found that in fact no arrears were owed. The FRO admitted to the Ombudsman that it had overlooked correspondence from the child’s mother confirming that the father did not owe her any further child support.