Stanislaus County Child Support Services has made numerous efforts to reduce court costs and decrease the number of children who are on public assistance rolls. Past efforts, involving public service announcements and locating absent parents in order to establish child support orders, have earned the department awards, but it is still ranked lower than at least half of California counties in terms of its total collections rate. Officials hope a new program will provide further gains.
Federal funds of $2.32 million dollars will be used in an effort to get 750 non-custodial parents back into the work force. Responsibility for implementing the five-year project is shared by Alliance Worknet and County Child Support Services. Random selection of participants begins sometime after May 2013, and the only requirements for participation are that the individual owes child support and has a history of employment.
The program will begin with assessment of each person’s job skills and barriers to employment. Individuals may receive transportation assistance, job training, subsidized wages through the Workforce Investment Act, counseling related to both interview skills and parenting, and treatment for drug abuse. The program will end with independent evaluation of the cost-to-benefit ratio.
Support orders go virtually unpaid in the case of absentee or unemployed noncustodial parents. This leads to children living without the resources necessary for a healthy home environment, and these children must often rely on public assistance programs to pay for medical expenses and food. This program aims to correct the problem by adding another layer to child support enforcement efforts. A child support attorney may be able to help parents struggling with delinquent or absent parents.
Source: The Modesto Bee, “Stanislaus program to help parents find work to pay child support,” Ken Carlson, Feb. 12, 2013