December 21, 2005
from the Georgia Department of Human Resources
ATLANTA (GA) – Three hundred and seventy-five parents who were more than two months behind in their court-ordered child support payments took up an offer to meet with staff of the Americus office of the Georgia Department of Human Resources Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and make a minimum payment by December 9th to avoid having legal actions taken against them.
As a result, the office collected $58,832 in past-due support by December 15, just in time to help many families with their Christmas shopping. Americus OCSE serves Lee, Macon, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, and Webster counties.
“This is the first time in several years that we’ve offered an opportunity like this just before Christmas, although we collected $72,217 with a similar program last February,” said Americus OCSE Manager Kay Daniel.
“Our agents had been hearing from parents about how much they needed the support for their children over the holidays, so we decided to make a special effort in November," said Daniel. "We believe that most parents who owe support really want to help their children but once they get behind they may be afraid to meet with us, so this kind of outreach can help. On the other hand, if they didn’t make any payment arrangements we will ask to have them summoned to court for a contempt hearing. The money can make a big difference in children’s lives, and that’s our priority.”
Over 820 parents received letters from Americus OCSE about the December 9th deadline. Some parents responded to an invitation to come to the Sumter County courthouse November 14, while others dropped by the office or called to work out a payment plan in advance of the meeting date.
Seventeen parents who demonstrated willingness to pay but don’t earn enough were referred to the Fatherhood Program based at South Georgia Technical College. The Fatherhood Program provides low-income parents who owe child support with counseling and training at state technical colleges so they can increase their earning power.
For information about the Fatherhood Program and other OCSE services, call 229-931-2420 or see www..ocse.dhr.georgia.gov
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