Conasauga Circuit Begins Parent Accountability Court, Designed To Strengthen Local Families

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - by Mitch Talley

Led by Superior Court Judge Jim Wilbanks, the Conasauga Judicial Circuit celebrated its Parental Accountability Court Kick Off Ceremony in December.

The Conasauga Parental Accountability Court program - which is a joint effort of the Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Child Support Services and Judge Wilbanks - was created to strengthen families in our community. 

"The program offers an alternative to incarceration and helps chronic non-payers of child support make regular payments by utilizing community resources to address barriers that keep parents from meeting their support obligations,” Judge Wilbanks said. 

Using this approach, the PAC works to increase child support collections, reduce reliance on public assistance, and avoid incarceration costs.  

Many services are offered to PAC participants, including volunteer community service, work opportunities, literacy training, job assistance, mental health services, clinical assessments, substance abuse treatment, and mentoring. 

Participants must meet their child support obligations for a minimum of six consecutive months to graduate from the program. 

The Whitfield County PAC is funded through a combination of state and federal grants. 

According to the Georgia Department of Human Services, statewide PAC programs have helped 2,711 noncustodial parents provide much needed support to 4,780 of Georgia’s children since 2012.
Further, program participants paid an estimated $2.8 million in child support, which, in return, has saved the State more than $10 million in incarceration costs. 

The Georgia Parental Accountability Court program has propelled Georgia from 47th to 26th in Current Support Paid national rankings in only six years and won “Most Outstanding Child Support Program in the Nation” in 2012. 

Attorneys, caseworkers, and citizens should be aware of this innovative court program that has launched in Whitfield County. 

For more information, contact Jordana Swanson, PAC coordinator, jordana.swanson@dhs.ga.gov or 706.272-2072.


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