The county’s agency charged with services from establishing paternity to collecting past due support payments was recently named the seventh-best Child Support office in California for 2014. The statistics are both impressive and somber — paternity was established in 100 percent of cases and support was ordered in 93.5 percent of open cases, but payment to keep children fed and housed was only made in 67.4 percent of current support funds due; the statewide average was 64.9 percent. Santa Barbara’s agency has worked to keep that average rising steadily over the past several years; for instance, in 2009, only 54 out of 100 parents who owed child support through this program paid it. Among those whose support payments were overdue, the agency collected 71.9 percent last year.
Located in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara, the office also received kudos for cost effectiveness, pegged at a dollar spent for every $2.90 collected and distributed, Child Support has achieved this feat consistently for several recent years, topped at $3.06 collected per dollar in 2013. Statewide, similar agencies gained $2.43 for every dollar spent in 2014.