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Georgia Sponsors Innovative Child Support Court

Saying that, "We have had calls from all over the state of Georgia," employee Blue Cole points to the growing success of a fledgling state-sponsored program aimed at helping non-custodial parents find and keep work, stay out of trouble and make timely child support payments.

Georgia's first child support court was established at the beginning of 2009 in Carroll County. Superior Court Judge John Simpson, who is in charge of that court, now also presides over a child support court recently started in Coweta County. The courts are under the aegis of the Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Child Support Services.

They seem to be doing well, and Cole says that program participation is saving quantifiable money for taxpayers. Participants take part in an integrative approach in which they must be drug free, regularly look for employment or do volunteer work, and seek to develop success skills and positive community contacts. Cole says the presence of a real court and judge who can sanction offending behavior serves as a strong catalyst for success.

It is estimated that about 50 people will proceed through the child support court program this year in Coweta. In addition to the two courts that Simpson oversees, there is also a court already operating in Clarke County, and upcoming plans for two more in Savannah and Ellijay. Cole states that the interest from other Georgia communities is also echoed elsewhere, as he has had requests for information from other states, as well.

Related Resource: www.times-herald.com "Child support court saving money" September 15, 2010

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