“It’s getting harder and harder to fund child support at the rate the state gives us, especially when you look at what other counties get,” Goettl told the fiscal court.
In comparison to other counties its size, Jessamine is at a significant disadvantage.
For instance, Hopkins County has a population of 46,167, about 1,422 fewer people than Jessamine County, and it receives $524,891 in child support funding from the state, Goettl said in an interview Tuesday.
The difference in service is significant. Hopkins County has nine people working in its child-support office, whereas Jessamine County has four people.
Those four people have to cover about 4,000 active cases in Jessamine County, Goettl said.
“The case load for our four is exceptionally high ... it puts an enormous burden on the staff,” he said. “They’re trying to keep up with counties that have a lot more money and a lot more people doing the same thing.”
One of the main problems with the funding system is the imbalance from federal funding down to funding to counties within the state, Goettl said.
Federal funding is increasing, but Goettl said he’s not seeing that come through the state’s distribution to the counties.
“Federal spending has increased by 33 percent, but it hasn’t increased on the state level at all,” Goettl told the fiscal court last week, explaining that he thinks the money from the federal government is being spent on other expenses by the state.
Goettl said there’s not much that the county can do for now to get increased funding, but it’s something he’s working to bring to people’s attention.
“There’s not much negotiating we can do since the state has not increased funding in three years. It’s apparent we’re severely underfunded though. If we were funded at the average (for counties in Kentucky), we would receive $453,000, not $278,500.
“There’s not going to be any increase in funding this year, but you have to be prepared for next year.”
State leaders should take a serious look at why federal funds come into the state for child support yet no increase for child support enforcement comes to the counties from the state, Goettl said.
“We’ve got to ask the state to step up to the plate and stop cutting funding for custodial parents who need support for their children,” he said.