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Clark child support office named best in state

Two years ago, Clark County’s child support office was close to being closed.

Last week, the office was named as the best in the state.

Clark County Attorney William Elkins said he knew the office had been nominated for the award, but was shocked when Clark County was chosen.

“For my staff, I’m at a loss to tell how proud I am of those five people who do the work every day,” Elkins said. “Without those people, this would be an idea.”

The award ceremony was held virtually Thursday.

Elkins said the Clark County Child Support Enforcement office, which functions as a contractor for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, initiated four initiatives to increase collection efforts in early 2019.

Elkins said they established a relationship with the Clark County Constables Association to serve legal paperwork on more than 460 parents, to increase prosecution efforts for those not paying child support, starting an “appear-and-pay” docket for people to appear monthly and make their payments, and to suspend the driver’s licenses for more than 1,100 people who were six months or more behind in child support payment.

“That was a number that was unimaginable,” Elkins said. “We went on an offensive.”

Elkins said about 400 licenses were suspended before COVID-19 slowed their efforts.

“Our goal would be to suspend the license of everyone who won’t pay (child support),” he said.

The appear-and-pay dockets have generated between $17,000 and $24,000 monthly in child support payments, he said.

The efforts, he said, are all to improve life for Clark County children.

“Children …continue to need more and more from the coalition of agencies and folks who strive every day to do what feels nearly impossible at times,“ Elkins said in a statement, “and that is to turn back the culture of non-payment and reteach the lesson that parents are responsible for their children’s support and we as a community must insist that they take the obligation seriously and pay up.”