Family support forum scheduled |

Family support forum scheduled

Who will help you get money owed for child support? Where can your teen-ager get counseling for a drug problem? Who can you turn to when your son or daughter gets in trouble with the law?

A community forum on Wednesday at the El Dorado County Courthouse in South Lake Tahoe from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. aims to put people on a quicker path to answer such questions.

Information will be available from family law experts including paralegals, court mediators, drug counseling services, public defenders and domestic violence experts. Each county employee will explain his or her job and then answer any questions.

Superior Court Commissioner William H. Bradley said ideally he would like to hold a forum every four months.

“I hope to do it every quarter depending on how many people show up,” he said. “We’re putting this together because we want the public to know what services are available to them at little or no cost. A lot of times people have questions; all I’m allowed to do is refer them to programs, so this is their opportunity to learn more about the programs.”

El Dorado Family Support Division is one group expected to explain their services on Wednesday. It locates parents and collects child support payments. The agency also conducts paternity tests to determine a father of a child.

Right now the agency is an arm of the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office. That will change July 1, which is a deadline the state has set for the county agency to separate from the DA’s office.

El Dorado County Department of Child Support Services will be the new name of the department.

In 1997 and 1998, the state of California the rated El Dorado County No. 1 for collection of welfare recoupment. Last year the agency collected almost $13 million for child support. This year that number is expected to increase by $500,000.

Laura Roth, family support program manager, said the county has 9,800 clients with about 3,300 in South Lake Tahoe. She expects the transition of the agency from a county to a state agency to be seamless.

“The services we provide will be exactly the same,” she said. “Only the name will be different.”

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