The Crow Wing County Community Service Department is reminding residents that August is Child Support Awareness Month.
The purpose of this recognition is to focus attention on the principle of our legal system and community that each and every child needs and is legally and morally entitled to support from both of his or her parents, the county reported.
Perhaps the most visible of these is Child Support Enforcement, which was established by the federal government, prescribed by the state of Minnesota and managed by the county. The current Child Support Enforcement Program was established in the 1970s. Its mission is to promote the well-being of children and the self-sufficiency of families by delivering quality child support services.
Child support services include: locating absent parents, establishing parentage, establishing and enforcing court orders (including child support, medical support, and child care support), reviewing, modifying, and adjusting support orders, working with other states to enforce child support when a parent lives outside of Minnesota, collecting and processing payments for support. Child support offices do not provide divorces, visitation and custody, spousal maintenance establishment, legal advice or counsel.
Parents who don’t receive public assistance can apply for services and are charged a one-time $25 application fee. A 2 percent cost recovery fee is also charged for any child support collected. Single parents who receive public assistance are automatically referred for child support services and do not pay a fee.
In 2011, Crow Wing County Child Support collected an average of $4.82 for every dollar spent to enforce orders for support of children. In total, the county collected $8,181,512.
Dale Parks supervises the Child Support office in Crow Wing County. According to Parks, the county’s operating principle is: “Every child has the right to the financial support of both of the child’s parents. We have 12 full-time, dedicated employees who, with the assistance of the county attorney’s office, ensure that court ordered child support is established and collected on behalf of the approximately 3,672 families we serve. Nearly 92 percent of the families who use our services receive no form of public assistance, relying on our collections to meet their family support obligations.”
Parks praised the Crow Wing County Community Service Child Support staff for their service to the children and families of Crow Wing County and to the county attorney’s office for their commitment to high quality legal services supporting the staffs’ efforts. For more information about child support enforcement contact Parks at 824-1260, or by email: Dale.Parks@crowwing.us.