When a Buffalo parent is supposed to receive child support, but the other parent stops paying, the first parent could face serious financial hardship, along with the kids. One possible option for the parent and his or her attorney is to get help from the county.

County officials have the power to try to enforce child support orders, under the oversight of the state Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance. Still, tracking down delinquent parents and getting them to pay off their child support debts is often difficult. So the state agency likes to award recognition to counties that do an especially good job of enforcing support orders.

For example, the state recently recognized Saratoga County for having the best performance among New York’s medium-sized counties. According to The Saratogian, it was the 14th year in a row that Saratoga County won top honors in child support collection in its category. In that time, its Department of Social Services has collected more than $273 million in unpaid child support.

What is Saratoga County’s secret? According to a county social welfare examiner, it’s simply persistence and teamwork. The county Social Services Commissioner praised the department’s passion for helping families.

The county does well in several stages necessary to obtain a child support order. This includes establishing paternity, which the department does in 98.8 percent of cases.

Some unmarried parents have an informal child support arrangement, in the belief that it is cheaper than going to court. But if the noncustodial parent ever stops paying and there is no support order, the custodial parent could be left without the law on his or her side.