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Judge Ben Burkemper announced that the Family Court Committee of the Missouri Supreme Court awarded $25,000 to continue the Lincoln County Child Support Court program. The award is an increase over last year’s funding.
Child Support Court is an alternative court program that aims to capture unpaid child support dollars while simultaneously reducing state money spent on prosecuting and incarcerating non-custodial parents who owe child support.
“With the promise of this continued funding, the Lincoln County Child Support Court can continue its work to produce better outcomes for criminal non support defendants while, at the same time, improving the lives of children and parents, and saving money for the government and citizens of Lincoln County,” said Judge Burkemper.
Child Support Court was first organized by Judge Burkemper to address the need for a diversion program in the spring of 2011 to capture several millions of dollars in back child support owed to the children of Lincoln County. By capturing the child support dollars, Judge Burkemper said that ‘taxpayers will realize a cost savings by the reduction of welfare dollars payments, Medicaid and food stamps paid out to these families.”
Judge Burkemper is a long time advocate for alternative court programs, stating that, “the traditional criminal court model does not always address the underlying reasons that contribute to a parent’s failure to pay child support, and criminal non-support conviction and incarceration create additional barriers to a non custodial parent’s ability to become financially and emotionally responsible for their children.”