This has been the hardest article for me to write. Not because of the material, there’s plenty of it. So much good being done in these departments that I don’t want to leave anything out. The problem is you won’t read it all in one sitting.
Our fourth night was a long one; we started at 6:30 and didn’t leave until 9:30, our fault, we had so many questions. In an effort to cover each department, as they should be, I’m going to do this in two parts.
We met at the Sheriff’s Department in the new courthouse in Carthage. Janet Paris, the Director of Child Support, Day Reporting and Youth Services began the evening with a look at Child Services. In 1975 a federal law was passed requiring states to create programs to aid with the “establishment and collection of child support to insure that both parents support their children”. It just makes sense since some parents think that they can just walk away and leave all responsibilities behind. This department provides the resources needed to provide basic needs like housing, food, clothing and school supplies. Because they have access to state and federal databases, they can locate the “noncustodial parent” and establish a “Support Order” that spells out the monthly amount that needs to be paid. This can be enforced through income withholding, liens on real/personal property and court actions, to name a few.