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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Support Division among Top 10 in state

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Clay County Child Support Division is sixth among Indiana's 92 counties for making improvements in child support collections on behalf of children.

"Occasionally, we receive feedback from the state telling us how we are doing," Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger told The Brazil Times. "This year, the numbers really popped out."

According to the Indiana Department of Child Services, local collections of child support payments were 14.46 percent higher for the period of January through June 2009. The period of collections for January-June 2009 were also 8.54 percent higher than the prior year.

The overall goal of the office is to represent children's best interest in support matters, which includes:

* Establishing paternity,

* Collecting funds to reimburse the state's cost (or the taxpayers' expense) for providing benefits like TANF or Medicaid insurance for families in need, and

* Establishing and taking necessary steps to ensure child support payments.

"In a perfect world, all obligations to children would be met," Reberger said. "The fact is that's not always true."

With the economic downturn causing many individuals to have fewer resources to pay debts, Reberger said Clay County's numbers are impressive compared to other counties that aren't doing as well.

Among Clay County's neighbors, Greene (--0.72), Sullivan (--3.43) Parke (--1.52), Vermillion (--3.01) and Vigo (--2.16) counties have seen decreases in July 2008-June 2009 collection percentages, while Putnam (+10.26) and Owen (+4.50) counties experienced increases.

This increase in collections is good for Clay, Putnam and Owen counties because the state reimburses a portion of the operating costs for each of the local Title IV-D offices back to the respective county in support of its child support office, the clerk's office and the respective county's general fund.

Reberger explained the more successful an office is, the less of a burden it creates on taxpayers.

Deputy Prosecutor Mark Greenwell, with more than 19 years of experience working as a prosecutor and in other child support offices, recently started working in the child support office at the Clay County Courthouse.

He praised the work of IV-D Administrator Amy Martin, Coordinator Dennis Eskew and Case Managers Debi Brown and Allison Butts.

"I firmly believe these collections are a priority here in Clay County," Greenwell said. "The success of this office is because of the dedicated employees who understand the tools available to do the job and use them well to track down these cases to a positive resolution."

Greenwell confirmed the office is currently handling more than 3,500 open support cases affecting, conservatively, more than an estimated 5,000 children in Clay County. Officials believe having non-custodial parents do their part in taking care of their children instead of taxpayers is crucial for many reasons, but the most important is the future well being of children.

Chief Deputy Kim Jackson said, "The single biggest predictor of childhood poverty is the failure of non-custodial parents to support their children financially."

What are child support services?

The Clay County Child Support Division, the local branch of the federally funded Title IV-D Office, will help anyone with a child support order, whether originating in Clay County or from any court throughout the United States, enforce the terms of that order in Clay County or throughout the U.S. A one-time minimum fee of $25 is collected to enforce cases for people not claiming benefits from the State of Indiana.

Parents using state programs -- such as TANF or Medicaid -- are processed without the fee as a way to alleviate the need for state support for the children.

The child support division has also created an informational pamphlet to help prepare parents through the child support collection process.

"A Guide to Prepare You for Your Child Support Hearing" has information regarding courthouse hours and address, contact information for the local child support division and helpful information like what to wear or bring to court and what to expect the day of court proceedings.

The pamphlets are available at the Brazil Public Library, Brazil Housing Authority, Clay County YMCA, LEAPP Center, Division of Family and Children, WIC Office and the child support office at the Clay County Courthouse.

For more information about child support issues, contact the Clay County Child Support Division at 448-9039.

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if clay county is up 8.54%, that is good. But the question is where is clay county on percentage of total support ordered to total support paid. And 2nd why do the working moms have to pay $25 dollars when they are paying the taxes that keep these offices open. Some of these moms are barely making ends meet. So, lets give these ladies a government check to stay home and take care of their kids, and lets waive any fees. I realize clay county gets reimbursed by the state, oh thats us taxpayers again, let the struggling working moms pay for that too. i have seen first hand the errors made, the lack of follow thru, and the empty threats to collect the support. I do not get support as my children are grown. But i know people who do, well i should say DON'T. Pay $50 and your good for 3 months before CCCSD will bother you again. I don't envy their jobs, i just want a better way to help those helping themselves.

-- Posted by mamawpam on Sat, Aug 15, 2009, at 8:45 AM

Maybe Clay County could teach Montgomery County a thing or two about Child Support Enforcement. Talk about a joke. Deadbeat parents are given way too much wiggle room in the system. It's sad really. My children haven't seen any support in months from their biological father and the system enables him to get away with it to this day.

-- Posted by jessdixon on Sat, Aug 15, 2009, at 6:08 PM

It's about time for CCCSD to finally make some improvements. I have dealt with the child support office twice and both times have left me sick to my stomach. They once sent me a letter that I could have my case reviewed, so I took the letter and went into the office. The lady behind the desk told me that even though they sent the letter, they don't recommend my case being reviewed, they just have to send those out. I told her I would like to have it reviewed anyway and she said no I don't because he could end up paying less. When I told her he only pays $20 a week anyway, she said it still dooesn't matter, it could be less. The last time I went in was when I hadn't received any payments in several years. I went in there to see if anything could be done and was told no and that I should feel lucky because there are other fathers that are much more behind than he is. I haven't been in there since and never plan to be. I do feel hopeful though that if improvements are being made, then other parents needing help will finally be able to get some.

-- Posted by truthadmirer on Sun, Aug 16, 2009, at 9:30 AM

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