DSS program helps keep child support payments coming

Published 6:53 pm Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A Beaufort County commissioner wants the public to know that if someone is struggling with getting child support payments, the county can help.

“You don’t have to get a lawyer to get this done. You can go to DSS and file a claim,” said Commissioner Hood Richardson in Monday’s regular meeting of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners.

Richardson spoke on the heels of a proclamation supported by all seven commissioners recognizing that August is Child Support Awareness Month.

According to the text of the proclamation, Beaufort County has nearly 2,700 child support orders in place, which means more than 2,700 children could be at risk if that financial support does not come through. More than $2.7 million in child support was collected from parents of Beaufort County children in fiscal year 2018-19.

Richardson clarified that much more was actually collected for Beaufort County children, a statement confirmed by Preslee Leidecker, who manages the child support office serving families in Beaufort and Hyde counties. Leidecker said child support for Beaufort County children paid by parents who live outside the area is collected by the area agency, so the total amount collected for 2018-19 is more like $4.5 million.

The proclamation expresses support for “diligent working parents” who make regular child support payments, providing stability, improving the lives of children and enhancing their futures. It also brings attention to the opposite: that children who do not receive adequate financial or emotional support experience greater difficulty in becoming “healthy, happy and productive citizens.”

Richardson put a plug in for the Beaufort County Department of Social Services’ child support enforcement program for parents who have child support issues. DSS contracts with Young Williams, a company specializing in child support programs, to run the program.

“If the county can do it for you within our system at no cost to you, that is a great thing, and not enough people are aware of that,” Richardson said.