Joe Leavell of Jefferson County Attorney’s Office receives state’s highest child support award

November 10, 2023

Leavell has worked child support for more than 30 years and local child support office has seen marked improvements since his promotion to director in March

Joe Leavell, Child Support Director for the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office, received the state’s highest award at the 2023 Kentucky Child Support Conference held last week in Lexington.

Leavell received the Commissioner’s Outstanding Leadership Award given in recognition of outstanding performance above and beyond the call of duty from Kentucky’s Department of Income Support Commissioner Steven P. Veno.

“Joe is a person that has gone above and beyond the call of duty,” Veno said introducing the award. “Like me, he grew up in the program, knows every facet of the program. He knows what it takes to help people and is sensitive to people’s concerns. Joe has made a major impact on Jefferson County.”

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell joined other Child Support Division staff attending the conference to surprise Leavell with the honor.

“He’s one of a kind and he’s a treasure to our office,” O’Connell said. “And he’s a treasure to custodial parents and other caregivers put in a position to support children.”

Few, if anyone, in the state can match Joe Leavell’s hands-on experience in the day-to-day workings of Child Support. He joined the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office more than 30 years ago as a paternity case manager and rose through the ranks to assistant supervisor and supervisor in various departments. Joe was named Ombudsman of the division in 2008, and O’Connell appointed Leavell as Assistant Director of Child Support in 2015. Joe has handled every task asked of him, from the mundane to the most serious, with a willing and team-focused attitude. His work ethic and ability to connect with people make him a great ambassador for our office.

Since his promotion in March to Director of the office’s Child Support Division, the customer call success rate has gone from 42% to 90%. Callers who were previously waiting an hour or more to have calls answered are now answered on average in less than four minutes. And the Division is up in all four federal performance measures, a first in at least 10 years.

“I’m really happy that the state is recognizing the work our case workers are doing on behalf of deserving parents,” Leavell said. “I accept this award on behalf of the whole office.”

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