Stanislaus County Child Support Services have prevailed in the wake of budget cuts and reduced staff to render its child support enforcement efforts more effective; they are ranked ninth in the state for cost-effectiveness and have garnered awards for their improvements. A reported collection rate of 63 percent represents an increase over past rates; however, it still puts the county behind over half of California counties. A new program has been implemented to additionally raise the percent of child support collections by addressing a problem that some officials see at the heart of delinquent payments.
Fathers and mothers alike are among those guilty of delinquent payments, but fathers make up the majority, with around 90 percent owing child support. The high rate of unemployment is a critical factor here, according to the director of County Child Support Services. An initiative between them and Alliance Worknet hopes to use federal funds to assist delinquent parents with finding jobs, and the coordinators also want to provide parent counseling.
The county has made several other efforts that have gained attention from national organizations. Awards from the National Child Support Enforcement Association and California Department of Child Support Services highlight increased efforts to ensure a steady flow of monthly payments to the custodial parent. Officials also attempted to reduce court costs by providing mediation via the County Child Support Services.
Courts have a number of penalties to impose on parents found guilty of failing to make child support payments. This form of enforcement is somewhat limited, however, as jail time and license suspension provide little relief to the custodial parent. It is hoped that alternative child support enforcement measures are more successful and actually beneficial to all parties involved. Custodial parents who are facing the pressure of delinquent payments may find assistance from a knowledgeable child support attorney.
Source: The Modesto Bee, “Stanislaus program to help parents find work to pay child support,” Ken Carlson, Feb. 12, 2013