ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) on Tuesday received a national award for providing services to help parents overcome barriers in meeting their child support obligations through the Parental Accountability Court (PAC) program. 

DHS Commissioner Robyn A. Crittenden accepted the Innovative Partnership/Collaboration Award on behalf of the department during the National Child Support Enforcement Association’s 2018 Leadership Symposium in Pittsburgh, Pa. 

The award recognizes innovation in partnership between a child support agency and groups that assist families. 

“The Parental Accountability Court program has been one avenue in which we have expanded our reach into the community,” Crittenden said. “It has allowed us to cultivate our ability to empower individuals in their journey as parents.”

The PAC program is a joint effort of the department’s Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) and Georgia’s Superior Court judges to offer an alternative to incarceration and to help chronic nonpayers of child support make regular payments. The program uses community resources and judicial oversight to address barriers that keep parents from meeting their support obligations. 

DCSS has established PACs covering 41 of Georgia’s 49 judicial circuits. Since 2012, the program has helped more than 6,000 noncustodial parents provide much-needed support to an estimated 9,400 children. Program participants have paid $6.6 million in support, saving the state millions in incarceration costs.

Crittenden praised Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and the state’s Superior Court judges, employers and community stakeholders for their part in making the award possible. 

She also praised DCSS Director Tanguler Gray, who has been instrumental in the program’s strong growth.

“Under her leadership, Georgia’s Child Support Services programs have flourished and continue to empower the lives of parents in their desire to invest in their children,” Crittenden said. “Her unwavering dedication and commitment to Georgia’s children and families is inspiring.”

About the Department of Human Services Division of Child Support Services
DCSS works to ensure that Georgia’s children receive the financial, emotional and educational support they deserve from both parents. In addition to enforcing court-ordered child support, DCSS oversees programs like PAC and Fatherhood that help noncustodial parents gain the educational, training and employment opportunities they need to better meet their obligations. In Federal Fiscal Year 2017, DCSS had 370,037 cases serving 554,882 children, and distributed $745 million in support.