About this Website
The Child Support and the Court website hosts a wide variety of materials contributed by practitioners of problem solving courts for child support. Its goal is to help judges, child support agencies, and community partners plan, implement, and evaluate problem solving courts for child support in their jurisdictions to improve outcomes for children and families in their communities.
This website is a valuable resource for:
- Judges, magistrates, and other members of the judiciary hearing child support enforcement cases
- Administrative Office of the Courts personnel supporting a child support docket
- State and tribal Child Support Enforcement (IV-D) Directors
- Child support agency directors and case workers
- Attorneys representing child support agencies and parents with child support cases
- Community-based organizations offering services to parents with child support orders, including employment skills, job placement, education, mediation, access to visitation, and substance abuse treatment.
Photo courtesy of The News & Observer Publishing Company
Judge Kristin H. Ruth - Project Lead
The Honorable Kristin H. Ruth is a District Court Judge in Wake County, North Carolina. Judge Ruth is currently in her third term and has concentrated the majority of her time presiding in the courtroom designated for the enforcement of child support. Judge Ruth has been instrumental in implementing alternatives to incarceration and promotes employment resources, electronic house arrest and mediation in the disposition of her cases.
In July 2008, Judge Ruth was awarded a three-year Federal Special Improvement Project (SIP) grant - one of only four SIP grants awarded in 2008 to focus on collaborations between child support enforcement and the courts. Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) selected the 10th Judicial District's Wake County, NC problem-solving court, Judge Kristin Ruth presiding, as a replicable model for family courts hearing child support cases.
In 2000, Judge Ruth was awarded the North Carolina Child Support Council's Distinguished Service of Excellence Award. In 2003 she received the national American Business Woman of the Year from the American Business Women's Association, and in 2004, Judge Ruth was awarded the Commissioner's Judge of the Year Award presented by the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement in Washington, DC.
She currently serves on the North Carolina Bar Association Board of Governors, and boards for Carolina Dispute Settlement Services and Carolina Correctional Services. She is a member of the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Federal Judicial - Child Support Task Force. She recently completed a three-year term on the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism.
Judge Ruth grew up on a wheat farm in Kansas, graduated from Kansas State University, and worked her way through law school at Campbell University. Judge Ruth was the senior partner in her law firm before being elected to the bench. She is married to Lt. Col. John Preston Ruth, USMCR retired and they have one son, Kenan.
This article describes the cycle of parental non-compliance with child support orders and District Judge Kristin Ruth's innovative approach in Wake County, NC, to break that cycle through alternatives to incarceration, including: employment programs, voluntary mediation for custody and visitation, electronic house arrest, and regular court monitoring.
This article describes Judge Kristin Ruth's development of a problem-solving court for child support in Wake County, NC District Court and analysis of outcomes of this innovative approach through research conducted by Dr. Rhonda Zingraff, Ph.D.