The Allen County Prosecutor’s Office in Indiana handles 25,000 child support cases. And a very small portion of those cases are part of a nearly-year-old pilot program with WorkOne, based in northeast Indiana. Though the WorkOne program is still in its infancy, the results are proving to be encouraging to the people handling the cases. Those participating in the program saw an increase in their child support payments from $12.42 a week to $27.81 a week.
Tammie Johnson runs the Allen County Prosecutor’s Title IV-D Child Support program. It’s her job to reach out administratively, via letters, or threats of driver’s license suspension in order to get the payments before they have to be sent to court. If these actions are ignored, she begins the process to a court order.One of the biggest problems she runs into in her effort to collect payments, is the need for employment. Because of this she sees large amount of non-custodial parents who are behind in their child support payments. “It always seems like they don’t have any direction,” she said. They can’t find work, or they do not have the education to procure work. In some cases, the person has been convicted of a felony. Work off, is some of them don’t know where to even begin looking for a job.
How WorkOne Works
A WorkOne official is placed directly outside of the courtroom, and refers delinquent parents to the program. This official serves to break down some of the barriers that stand between children and the support they are legally supposed to receive. The biggest barrier is the issue of employment. The WorkOne program serves to help that, by teaching those signed up in the program, how to look for work, how to create a resume, and how to complete an application. Of the 25,000 child support cases pending in Allen Circuit Court, 130 have been referred to the WorkOne program.
While the WorkOne program might not solve everyone’s problems, it is a beginning. It might also be providing the push some parents need to start contributing to their child’s well-being. The increase in the amount of child support payments coming through indicates the custodial parent has found a job, or better job, and thus both the parent and child win. “We’re helping you to make sure you have what you need to pay your child support,” Johnson said. And it’s helping pave the way not only for the child’s future, but also the parent’s, some of who are going on to earn their GEDs. Johnson went on to say, “You’re helping take care of your child or children. That’ll make you feel really good.”
Source: JournalGazette.net, Collection of child support gets win-win, September 7, 2014