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Hardin County’s Child Support Division continues to work effectively on behalf of children as it builds a statewide reputation for excellence.
Among county offices handling 4,000 or more cases annually, the Hardin County staff was honored as a top performer. In addition, Assistant County Attorney Stephen Wheatley received an award as the top child support attorney in the state.
The community can be proud of Wheatley’s work and the dozen or so other employees dedicated to seeing that court-ordered child support payments are made. Their combined efforts amount to more than $10 million collected each year by this often underfunded and typically underappreciated group of public servants.
However, the community also receives a black eye because of the repeated irresponsibility of some parents, who exit relationships and attempt to ignore their ongoing responsibilities to children. These people often are our neighbors, acquaintances and co-workers. Some of the responsibility must be shared by a community that tolerates inaction by parents who attempt to avoid true needs of their own kids.
In addition, the pressure necessary to convince these folks to take care of their offspring costs taxpayer money. This self-centered behavior is a drain on precious court resources as well as related services provided by the Department for Child Protective Services, police and health department.
Children have no voice in the process. It’s wonderful that more than 5,000 child support cases are effectively tracked by this office and we join the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services in celebrating their success.
Yet, in a perfect world these efforts would be unnecessary. We long for a day when responsible people in devoted, caring relationships will be dedicated to the care and nurture of children born of their union.
That’s what every child deserves.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.