The First El Dorado Family Court Forum a SuccessMountain Democrat , April 2001
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A crack in the armor of the seemingly invincible bureaucracy of the El Dorado Family court was cracked on Wednesday night by the first Child Support And Family court Forum. The forum, scheduled from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., had an excellent turnout compared to other like forums. “The state has held numerous forums (like this one), the last one was attended by six people,” said Laura Roth, family support program manager. The Department 5 courtroom in the Placerville courthouse was almost full of people interested in the intricacies of the process. “(The purpose of the forum) is to acquaint people with the services available through the Family Law Courts,” said Gregory W Dwyer, commissioner. Present were representatives from organizations such as the Seventh-day Adventist Church which runs the Child connect program, where parents can get affordable supervised visitations with their children without cost to the county, along with representatives from county Social Services and the local Family Bar Association. The family Support Division dominated a good portion of the formal meeting outlining its services. The division has an office in Placerville and one in South Lake Tahoe; both are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday trough Friday. It out-lined its services, which include the ability to locate absentee parents in order to collect child support, to collecting the support, medical services, and enforcing court child support orders. It was noted that all states have cooperative agreements when it comes to this section of the law and child support orders from California can be enforced even when the non-custodial parent lives in another state. District Attorney Gary Lacy made it a point to emphasize that the Family Support Division is there to help the children get what’s due them, it’s not there to take sides, in fact it offers equal services to both the custodial and non-custodial parent. Family Support Division services are free and no appointment is necessary. And, there are a couple of ways to contact it, from walking in, to calling. After a short public question and answer period, the meeting broke up, so that people could ask individual questions about particular cases of the various members of the county services who were present. At the end of the program, on participant who didn’t want to give her name due to a case she has pending, said she gained valuable information from the program. “I didn’t even know these people and services existed, (before the meeting),” she said. There will more forums scheduled for the future Wednesdays, but the logistics on the exact dates are still being worked out by the coordinators.