By Laura Crosio
Nearly two dozen full and part-time workers are employed in Johnston County to ensure that both parents support their children to the extent of their ability.
Since 1976, the county’s Child Support Enforcement Department has assisted approximately 18,500 participants and serviced 6,187 total cases, according to director Kim Jernigan.
Jernigan discussed the department’s multi-dimensional role before County Commissioners on July 6th as part of a program implemented Chairman Tony Braswell to spotlight a different county department each month.
The Child Support Enforcement agency works to locate absentee parents, establish and enforce legal child support obligations and collect child support payments. The office is also equipped to establish paternity, or legal fatherhood, by offering genetic testing.
In the past year, according to Jernigan, the department determined the paternity of 497 children, established support for 70 and implemented 3,953 wage garnishments.
The staff also attends two to three full day custody hearings each month.
“They do an outstanding job,” Jernigan said. “Of the 20 full-time employees we have, 14 have been with us five years or longer. They are very seasoned and knowledgeable.”
The county’s Child Support Enforcement is located in the Law Enforcement Annex, 120 South Third Street, Smithfield.