In the State of Missouri, any payment of public assistance for the benefit of a dependent child creates an obligation that is due and owing by the parent absent from the home where the child resided at the time the public assistance was paid. View the statute.
Public Assistance Benefits
When a custodial parent is receiving (or has received) public assistance benefits in the form of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Family Support Division may refer the case to this office for the purpose of seeking reimbursement from the alleged father or non-custodial parent of the amounts paid to the custodial parent.
Reimbursement of TANF may be included in a paternity action, or filed within another civil action currently pending between the parties, or filed separately as its own cause of action.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, a custodial parent may be required to appear for court hearings in order to assist the prosecutor in resolving a reimbursement referral.