August is Child Support Awareness Month

Staff report

In recognition of Child Support Awareness Month this August, Fulton County Job and Family Services provides this important information:

The Ohio Child Support program impacts more children than any other public program in Ohio, except public education. One in three children are affected by this program.

In 2017, Fulton County’s Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) had a caseload of over 2,100 and collected more than $6.8 million. The agency is averaging collection rate of over 81 percent, which includes collection on current support and arrears.

The child support program ensures parents financially support their children when they are living apart. The program provides many important services, which include collecting child support for families, establishing the legal relationship between children and their parents, enforcing court orders, and health insurance coverage.

Fulton County CSEA collaborates and builds partnerships with people and organizations to support children and strengthen families.

“Our Child Support program’s continued success is due to a hard-working staff and to our many partners, including the Fulton County Prosecutor’s Office, the courts, and the sheriff’s office,” CSEA Director LuAnn Stiriz said.

Additionally, the agency continues to provide the Re-Entry Connection Program, which provides assistance and resources to individuals who are entering back into the community following incarceration. In 2017, this program assisted 34 individuals in finding and securing employment, and 18 so far this year.

“Success in this program is anytime we break down a barrier for our clients to get them one step closer to employment” said Linda Fisher, program director. Fisher said the program provides assistance not only in finding employment, but also with obtaining a driver’s license, referring participants and/or family members to mental health services, assistance in applying for Medicaid benefits, assistance in the expungement process, Pro Se Clinic services, providing transportation, and finding housing.

“It’s all about the kids,” Fisher said. “If we can remove barriers for our clients to get back on their feet, and back into employment, then it’s a huge benefit to the kids.”

Ohio bases its child support program on the fundamental belief that children deserve financial support. It’s imperative that the child support program aid in the healthy development of children, including the emotional and financial support of both parents.

Ohio establishes paternity for more than 56,00 children born to unmarried parents each year. With nearly 941,000 cases, Ohio collects $1.8 billion dollars per year on average.

Child support is a growing source of income for single parent families, making up 39 percent of their total income. Employers collect nearly $1.4 billion in child support payments each year.

Staff report