Ken Carlson

Parents can make child support payments at retail outlets

There’s a new option in Stanislaus County for parents who need to make child support payments.

Beginning Monday, parents can make payments in cash at MoneyGram stations in retail stores such as Walmart and CVS pharmacies. The state Department of Child Support Services began with a pilot program in Contra Costa County and expanded the service to a group of counties including Stanislaus and San Joaquin.

Tamara Thomas, Stanislaus County director of child support services, said parents will have a payment option closer to home. Previously, the only way to make a cash payment was to travel to the county child support services office on Hackett Road in south Modesto.

Thomas said a self-employed truck driver, who was stranded in stormy weather in Nebraska, recently called the county office asking how to make a monthly payment that was due. Thomas got in touch with Contra Costa County, which provided info that allowed him to deliver cash to a Walmart in Nebraska that had a MoneyGram kiosk.

“It was a win for everyone,” Thomas said. “The parent was able to make his monthly payment and his child and family received the financial resources they needed for the holidays.”

Parents using MoneyGram to make child support payments in Stanislaus County need their personal participant ID number and the group “Receive Code 14630.” MoneyGram collects a $1.99 service fee. It can take three days for payments to be recorded with the county, so don’t wait until the last minute.

An online search for MoneyGram sites, at, showed more than 40 locations in Modesto, a dozen in Turlock, and locations in Ceres, Oakdale, Riverbank, Hughson, Patterson, Newman and Waterford.

According to the county, payments can be made at retail chains including CVS pharmacy, Walmart, Raley’s, Winco Foods, Food Maxx, 7-Eleven and others.

Officials said the recent test project in Contra Costa County resulted in 127 child support payments in six weeks. The payments totaled $38,228.

The convenience apparently made a difference for 13 parents, who fulfilled their responsibility for the first time in more than five months. In six cases, payments had not been made in more than a year.

Information about different child support payment options is available at or by calling (866) 901-3212.

Employees in Kaiser’s eyeglass department also are part of the work stoppage.

Strikes are not unusual for Kaiser health facilities. Almost 70 percent of its 175,000 employees are represented by nearly 30 unions.

The NUHW claims that Kaiser does not staff its clinics with enough mental health professionals to meet growing demand for those services. Kaiser responded that hundreds of therapists have been added to its mental health staff in California in the past several years, and it’s working to hire more.

Kaiser said the NUHW represents fewer than 5,000 of Kaiser’s employees and, since its creation in 2009, has never negotiated a contract with the Oakland-based health care organization.

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at or (209) 578-2321.