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On May 6th, six individuals graduated from Parent Accountability Court (P.A.C.) before the Honorable Michelle G. Harrison by designation from the Douglas County Superior Court.
"I observed today as the Douglas County Parental Accountability Court graduated four successful participants,” Douglas County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Adams said. ”In the program's history, twelve individuals have graduated from the program. Each of these individuals represents a family structure that is better situated to thrive—the parents are caught up on their child support obligations, and they are equipped with the tools to remain consistent; the children are now reliably provided for, and the community benefits from the more stable family structure."
The Parent Accountability Court (P.A.C.) is a branch of the Department of Human Services through the Division of Child Support Services and implements accountability courts throughout Georgia. It is a voluntary program available through the Superior Court and Child Support Services of the County and provides an opportunity for individuals facing possible incarceration for failure to pay their court-ordered child support obligations.
"I am a true believer in accountability courts, and you are the example and the reason why,” said Douglas County Juvenile Court Chief Judge Michelle G. Harrison, who is the Superior Court Designee. "It's much better to lift people up when they achieve positive outcomes than to hold them down with the negative ones."
The program seeks to remove the underlying issues that cause non-custodial parents to become inconsistent with making payments. The program helps the non-custodial parent with employment opportunities, mental health, or community assistance support. It avoids the costs associated with incarceration for failing to pay court-ordered child support.
"When I first started this program, I had a rough understanding of how it was supposed to go," said Stephanie, a program participant. "Soon, I will be free and clear of all my arrears, and everything will paid off. I don't think that would have been possible without the help and support of this program."
The Douglas County PAC program was established in February 2019 and is run through the Douglas County Juvenile Court by designation from the Douglas County Superior Court. Year to date, a total of 12-people have graduated from the P.A.C. program.
For more information, contact Michelle T. Cocroft, Parental Accountability Court Coordinator at Michelle.Cocroft@dhs.ga.gov