Not all people hope to be a firefighter, astronaut or a police officer when they grow up.
When Louis Anderson of Brainerd attended the University of Minnesota he earned a wildlife management degree. And in 1974, he began his career as a collection service supervisor for Crow Wing County -- not a DNR officer.
"I fell into it by accident," said Anderson. "It was not my goal in life, but I find it to be very rewarding."
His rewarding work has earned Anderson an award. Anderson received statewide recognition from the Minnesota Family Support and Recovery Council. He received an outstanding individual achievement award for 1999.
"It came to me as a surprise," he said. "I didn't know it was me until half way through the speech. I felt honored."
Anderson has worked for the county for 26 years. His duties are to supervise all aspects of the Child Support Enforcement Program, welfare fraud investigations and non-child support efforts. There are six child support officers, seven support enforcement aides and one welfare fraud investigator in the county.
In 1999, there were about 3,100 child support caseloads in the county and an estimated $5 million was collected. The caseloads increased three percent since 1998.
When Anderson started in 1974, there were only a couple hundred caseloads. In 1980 the cases jumped to about 1,200 and $275,000 was gathered.
Cass County had around 1,500 caseloads last year and collected $1.8 million and Morrison County had 1,400 and took in around $3 million. In Minnesota, there were a total of 229,000 child support cases -- a two percent increase from 1998 and collected about $442.6 million.
Anderson said 25 percent of cases are difficult. And it is not only the fathers paying for the support, mothers also pay. However, a lot of the parents are responsible and do pay for the support they owe, Anderson said.
"We have become aware of many situations where support is not being paid," Anderson said. "And the reason why is they don't have the ability to pay because they are unemployed. We try to get these people referred to the appropriate services to resolve the underlying issue."
The county also has a fraud prevention program to identify any falsehood before assistance is approved. There also is a criminal fraud investigation program where last year less than 10 people were prosecuted. Anderson said the most common fraudulent activity is when persons do not report their income at all or it is inaccurate.
Anderson said he really enjoys his job with the county. He loves working with people and doing things to help them.
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