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Ventura County Perspective

Collection Rates for Child Support

February 11, 2001

Re "Child Support Collection to Shift From County to State Agency," Jan. 31.

As a person who has an active case with the Ventura County Child Support Division and as an advocate with an organization named Cookies Not Crumbs, I strenuously disagree with the opinions expressed by Dist. Atty. Michael Bradbury and Child Support Division director Stan Trom in this story.

Only a politician and a bureaucrat would allow themselves to be quoted in a newspaper beating their breasts about how they managed to collect 45% of the total money they are required to collect. I am one of the people in the 55% uncollected category, and I have to tell you that this attitude that a 45% collection rate is OK is a major part of the problem.

Imagine if you only completed your job 45% of the time. You would not be employed for long and you certainly would not be bragging about how well you were doing.

County supervisors need to put some people in charge who are not entrenched in bureaucracy and who have not fooled themselves into thinking that they are doing a good job when clearly they are not. Although Ventura County may be a few points higher than the state average and 10 points higher than Los Angeles County, it is still a terrible rate of collection not something to be proud of and rewarded by a new position and pay raise.

Cookies Not Crumbs and I are fighting for children, children who need food, clothes and medical care. They are not percentages on balance sheets. They are flesh and blood who need someone to be responsible for them. That responsibility should also include monetary support, and if the obligation for getting this money cannot be accomplished by the current systems and personnel then maybe it is time to look for replacements who will aggressively act on behalf of these forgotten children.

ANNETTE L. HOFFMAN

Santa Paula

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