Child program gets rated perfect

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Out of Colorado's 64 counties, Routt County is the only one that has received a perfect score on its Child Support Enforcement Program for the first nine months of the year.

Earlier this week, Director of Human Services Bob White announced the success to county commissioners.

Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said he thought that statistic "speaks for itself." What is of critical importance, he said, is that the program makes it possible for families who are in need to be self-sufficient so they don't have to rely on federal assistance programs.

"It's better for the families, better for the children," Monger said.

The Child Support Enforcement Program collects child support funds from absent parents and gets the funds to the custodial parents. From January to September of 2004, Routt County has collected $1.15 million in funds, which is 105 percent of its year-to-date goal, White said. At that rate, the county's 2004 collections will amount to $1.5 million.

Those funds benefit more than 500 families with about 1,000 children.

Almost all the families that use the service are not required to take part in the program because of other assistance they may receive, but they participate voluntarily, White said.

Any family in Routt County is eligible to have the county's team, which includes Assistant County Attorney Polly St. James and legal technicians Sherry Camilletti and Joan McCollum, manage their child support collections.

The cost for the service is a one-time fee of $20.

White said he was especially proud of the team because it handles a larger than typical caseload. Nationally, every technician handles about 200 cases. In Colorado, the average is 213 cases per worker, White said.

In Routt County, each technician has 250 cases.

The scoring measures 11 components of the Child Support Enforcement Program, with a perfect score being 22 points.

"It has always been very important to me to meet my goals, and it's devastating if I don't," technician Camilletti said.

The perfect score is not something new for the county, White said. For all but two years of the program, the county has received a perfect rating. Last year, it was one of four counties to receive a perfect score.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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