by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from August 28 until September 16
Jefferson County encourages and promotes both parents' involvement in their children's lives.
Did you know it is estimated that one in every four American children participates in a child support program? The purpose of National Child Support Month is to raise awareness about the importance of parents involvement in their children’s lives and the responsibility parents have to provide the resources their children need to succeed.
The goal of the Colorado Child Support Program is to ensure that all children receive financial, medical and emotional support from each parent. This is accomplished by locating each parent, establishing paternity and support obligations, enforcing those obligations, assisting with the establishment of parenting plans, and providing parenting education services.
However, here in Jefferson County, it goes much further. Child Support Services is becoming a key player in helping families to become self-sufficient by leveraging wraparound services for the entire family, decreasing the effects of poverty.With the help of the following programs, dads (and moms) get assistance in identifying and overcoming barriers they face in maintaining a positive role in their children's lives, becoming and maintaining current on financial obligations to their children, and finding on-going support in the community:
• Responsible Fatherhood Program – Engages fathers and children to build healthy relationships. Emphasis is placed on the critical need for fathers to be active in parenting their children as well as serving as positive role models for other children in our communities.
• Colorado Parent Employment Project (CO-PEP) – The intent of the project is to reach out to parents who are able and willing, but are not able to pay their child support because they are unemployed or underemployed. Services include job readiness and life skills training so that parents can meet their child support obligations while also meeting their own needs.
• Problem Solving Court – The goal is to help parents find solutions to the barriers keeping them from meeting their child support obligations. This option provides alternative sanctions to jail and, by doing so, the program alleviates a cost burden to tax payers.
• Early Intervention – A responsive customer service best practice which seeks to develop a relationship with non-custodial parents during the beginning stages of the process and prior to taking any legal action.
• Modification or “Right Sizing” Orders – The ongoing process of assessing the income of both parents and the costs associated with raising the children to ensure the support amount is fair and equitable.
I am very proud of the Jefferson County Child Support Services Team for making significant improvements in addressing the needs of not only children, but the entire family.
We honor our staff of 60 dedicated child support professionals, who are receiving national recognition and achieving historic collection records. In 2013, Jefferson County collected over $31.3 million and served over 15,722 families, impacting an estimated 23,583 children. From January through July 2014, over $19.7 million dollars has been collected and distributed directly to families in our local community.