AUSTIN -

Charles Smith has been promoted to deputy for the state's Child Support Division. 

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced Monday that Smith will take over for Alicia G. Key who retired after 24 years of state service.

“Charles Smith is a lifelong public servant who has committed decades of dedicated service to the Child Support Division and Texas families,” said Attorney General Abbott. “Having risen through the ranks of the Child Support Program from child support officer to regional administrator--and most recently Deputy Director--Charles is uniquely qualified to lead the Child Support Division."

Smith began his career with the Office of the Attorney General in 1988 as a volunteer in the Lubbock child support office. He has held several positions within the Child Support Division, including child support officer, office manager and regional administrator for the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Before his new position, Smith served as deputy director of child support and field operations.

With his new job, Smith will direct a division of 2,700 employees who provide child support services to more than 1.4 million families throughout Texas.  For the state fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, the Child Support Division collected $3.6 billion in child support. The Texas child support program ranks first in the nation for the amount of child support collected, a position it has held for the past six years.

Under state and federal law, the Office of the Attorney General can help families who request child support services and must serve families who currently receive or have received public assistance.