The division received an award for establishing the largest numbers of court orders and for collecting the most child support money for the children in the county.
The department collects an estimated $270,000 every month for several thousand children, showing an increase of 11 percent over previous collections.
Martha Woodfin, who presented the awards said there were four categories and Walker County won awards in two of those categories.
“It is a tremendous service they provide to the children of this county,” Woodfin said. “That collections increase was a tremendous feat, considering the economy of the county and state.”
Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair had high praise for the staff in his office, Assistant District Attorney Bill Manasco, Investigator John Softley, Specialists Chris Ballenger, Karen Currington and Tiffany Buchanan and Tommy Johnson from Walker County DHR, as well as Jim Ergle and David Sortino.
“This is something that was lagging behind a few years ago, and that was something — through a lot of hard work — that is now moving forward,” Adair said. “The work put in over the last few years to change the overall culture here has been important for changing and improving things for the children in this county.”
Johnson also credited Adair with the changes that led to the award.
“I want to thank Bill for his investment and work on this,” Johnson said. “It has helped tremendously.”
Although those involved are proud of what the numbers say, they all agreed the real satisfaction is in helping the children, not the numbers.
“It is heartbreaking when you go to court and see these children whose parents won’t take care of them,” Adair said.
He also said that an increase in enforcing court-ordered payments leads to less mothers who have to rely on government assistance, easing the burden on the system.