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Nevada County (Calif.) child support collection improves.

NEVADA CITY, Calif. -- While the recession has made it more difficult to collect full child support payments, a report from the state department of health and human services shows Nevada County's child support department is faring well against other counties.


Midway through the fiscal year, the joint Sierra and Nevada County department ranks fourth in the state based on a number of performance standards--a jump from June 2009, when the joint counties ranked 16.

Nevada/Sierra counties have about 3,400 child support cases, while California overall has 1.6 million. A "case" encompasses all children born to a specific couple, meaning more than 1.6 million children are involved in the state's child support system.

Nevada/Sierra counties had the highest rate of "paternity establishments" in the state, meaning they were most successful at getting the father's identity on a child's birth certificate. That metric is up from last year, when the county ranked 39th) in the state.

Since the two counties combined only register about 900 births a year--compared to counties such as Los Angeles, which registers 150,000 births a year--the jump represents only eight or nine more paternity confirmations than last year.

So far this year, Nevada/Sierra Counties have been collecting 63 percent of the child support money owed. That figure places the counties at rank 10 in the state, but handily above the state average of 55 percent.

The recession has complicated the collections process. As more parents cope with smaller paychecks, or are living off unemployment insurance benefits, the child support department has worked with courts to adjust the amount struggling parents have to pay.

Children get less money, but custodial parents are learning to accept that as the reality of the recession.

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Title Annotation:local agency news
Publication:Policy & Practice
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2010
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