The 20th Circuit Court, Friend of the Court (FOC), which serves Ottawa County, has long been recognized as one of the highest performing in Michigan. At the recent annual State Child Support Conference, Assistant Friend of the Court Kathy Winston earned the honor of “Outstanding Supervisor of the Year,” given by the Michigan Family Support Council. This award is given to only one supervisor from the Michigan Child Support Program, which includes staff from the Michigan Office of Child Support, and from county Friend of the Court offices and Prosecuting Attorney offices statewide.
Winston has served the people of Ottawa County for 32 years, first as a Data Processing Specialist then Friend of the Court Investigator and now as Assistant Friend of the Court. Drawing from her professional experience and personal knowledge, Winston has crafted creative solutions to improve efficiencies in operations, suggested relevant technologies and maintained a budget that is mindful of the needs of the office and local taxpayers. The FOC in Ottawa County is characterized as “high performing” based on both State and Federal performance measures, due to a dedicated staff who work to help families mediate cases, collect court-ordered funds and settle disputes between parents involving minor children.
Since becoming Assistant Friend of the Court in 2012, Winston’s positive attitude has led the FOC to take on new challenges, including implementation of mandatory electronic filing and the Alternative Work Location program which allows staff to work remotely. She is committed to making the Child Support Program better for families and for employees working within the program. Says one of her staff, Winston is “approachable and willing to find the right solution even if she has to do the work herself. She has done almost every job in the office; she keeps up to date on trends in the field and moves our office forward. She also is exceptionally fair and does not take sides.”