El Dorado tops list of child support recovery
El Dorado County recovered more aid to single parents through court-ordered child support than any other California county, according to a report by the State Department of Social Services.
The child support division of the El Dorado County district attorney’s office recovered 38.8 percent of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children in the first quarter of 1997, according to the report.
The county recovered just under $850,000 of the $2.2 million in family aid during the three months.
“We are in an enviable position,” said Terry Brown of the county’s child support division. “We were more than three times better at making collections in cases where children are receiving welfare.”
By contrast, the statewide average was 11.1 percent, or $111.8 million of the $1.01 billion in assistance given to single parents and their children.
Placer County was ninth among the state’s 58 counties, recovering $745,000, or 23.8 percent of AFDC payments from former spouses with child support orders.
Last on the list was Los Angeles County, which recovered $15.5 million – just 4.2 percent of the $367.3 million in family aid, according to the report.
Another report, this one by the National Center for Youth Law, stated that El Dorado County has improved from an average to an above-average child support program over the last three years.
According to the report, more than three-fourths of the family aid cases in the county have court-imposed child support orders requiring the absent spouse to make payments. The county ranks ninth in the state in that category.
In 1995-96, the county collected an average of $762 for each of the 11,218 families in the program.
Brown credited the child support staff and superior court commissioners for the results in El Dorado County.
“The division’s staff were willing to work overtime, holidays and weekends to get this done,” Brown said. “Also, two superior court commissioners, including Melvin Beverly in South Lake Tahoe, have an outstanding understanding of child support provisions.”
Despite the county’s successes, the county’s collections trailed in the cost-effectiveness of the program, according to the National Center for Youth Law.
The county collected $2.40 for each dollar spent in enforcement, ranking 46th among the state’s 58 counties. And the net loss to the county of $104,303 ranked 52nd in the state.
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