JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — In a partnership between the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Treasurer’s Office, Missouri has put more than $2 million in unclaimed property toward outstanding child support bills, the state announced Tuesday. 

The new, automated system matches past-due child support payments with unclaimed properties in a database run by the Treasurer’s Office. When a match is made, transmission of payment is then transferred to DSS, and the agency has the ability to withhold the property from an individual who still owes child support. 

The offices said Tuesday more than $2 million had already been put toward 18,724 child support cases — just in the first phase of the program. 

“This is a perfect example of good government,” Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick said in a statement. “By working with [DSS] to automate this system, we are increasing efficiency and ensuring more children in Missouri will receive money that is rightfully theirs.” 

Both executive agencies noted the funds collected were “significant.” For example, more than $28,000 was collected from one individual who had outstanding child support payments. 

“Working together, our agencies are able to meet our goals and better serve Missourians,” Jennifer Tidball, DSS acticing director, said. “Children benefit, getting the money they are entitled to receive, and Missouri taxpayers benefit by not burdening the financial responsibility of parents.” 

Last month, Fitzpatrick told This Week in Missouri Politics he’s focused on taking a “proactive” approach when it comes to tackling unclaimed property — which can range from uncollected final paychecks to utility deposits to estates from a deceased individual — in his fairly new role in the executive branch

The Treasurer’s Office also announced last month it had returned more than $45 million of unclaimed property in the fiscal year that closed June 30, breaking a record for the most property returned in one year. The previous year, before Fitzpatrick was in office, the office returned more than $44 million.