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Focus: Carroll County's Child Support Problem Solving Court

Government officials and taxpayers from Carroll County and other counties throughout the state and nation are always concerned with the issue of non-custodial parents paying the child support that they owe.

In recent years, many cities and counties across the country have set up government programs that help ensure continuing support obligations are met. Carroll County, for example, has an established Child Support Problem Solving Court, which currently has 35 male and seven female participants. Each member is a non-custodial parent with support duties that, for one or multiple reasons, are not being complied with.

The Court focuses directly on that non-performance and seeks to get the parents back on track.

It is not always easy, and program officials -- such as Superior Court Judge John Simpson -- note that many of the participants grapple with drug and/or alcohol problems, previous criminal convictions and an inability to find continuing work.

Simpson says that many of the people enrolled in the child support court program "are part of the poorest people in our society" and that "most of our people don't have a high school diploma."

That makes for an uphill battle in some cases, but it is a fight that the Court is solidly focused on, with clear aims and a support mechanism firmly in place.

For example, all participants who did not graduate from high school are required to obtain a GED diploma. Thereafter, the county often works with them to gain entrance into suitable programs in technical colleges and other institutes.

"We want them ... to be able to pay [child support] a year from now and to really change their lives," Simpson says.

Related Resource: Times-Georgian, "Child support court sees more non-custodial women" August 16, 2011

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