Child Support is Crucial for Area Children

August is National Child Support Month. The theme is “Your Support Means the World to a Child.” I recently wrote this for our community newsletter…

I am surprised sometimes, how many people do not know that Job and Family Services handles child support collection. Of all that we do, child protection receives the most public attention, and we are also well known for our public assistance programs. But our child support program serves more than 300,000 people in this county and crosses all social and economic boundaries.

Fortunately, many people pay their child support with little intervention from us. Of our 88,000 cases, I would say about one third pay regularly and timely. Another third are in default, but paying fairly regularly to catch up. The last third is the group that requires our most attention. We use a variety of tools to track them down and collect their support, including Most Wanted posters, freezing and seizing funds from bank accounts, intercepting tax refunds, suspending driver’s licenses, suspending professional licenses and confiscating passports.

At a time like this, child support is crucial. It can be the difference between a custodial parent keeping or losing their home. Child support puts food on the table, pays electric bills and buys school clothes. In this economy, every penny counts.

There are few good reasons to not pay child support. Custody problems and other issues can be argued in court – after the child support is paid. Parents cannot let their personal issues get in the way of seeing that the child’s basic needs are met. Hamilton County Job and Family Services is not on either parent’s side. We are on the child’s side.

This is Child Support Awareness Month. We will employ several methods to get our delinquent parents to pay up, including the carrot – amnesty for those with warrants or suspended licenses — and the stick — a new Most Wanted poster. We will also host other events to draw awareness to the issue. Isn’t it a shame we event have to have an awareness month? Shouldn’t supporting your child be a given?

Each of our 88,000 cases has a mother, father and at least one child. This program touches more children than any other public program outside of schools.

Right now, with the economy the way it is, our public assistance programs are receiving a lot of attention. And, of course, child welfare will always grab headlines. But child support is important. It helps keep children safe and healthy. And that’s what we all want.

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6 Responses

  1. Ms. Weir, Thank you for the prompt response from one of your associates regarding my concerns. However, cursory and superficial reviews of hcjfs procedures and hcjfs employee abuse of power does not resolve problems that took years to develop. It only increases the stench emanating from East Central Parkway and William Howard Taft Road. I only have a hope that there exist an attorney in Hamilton County willing to help individuals overcome the tyranny of HCJFS. You should not be allowed to continue to trample on the rights of fathers and turn your heads from neglected children, while you pursue your true mission, advocacy for women. I am not against women, but I am most definitiely a proponent for my children. Your agency should be held accountable for your accounting and procedural abuses.

  2. It is interesting to hear the stories about rude hcjfs technicians and telephone calls going unanswered. May I add to the list telephone voicemail messages not being returned for almost 30 days. All the while hcjfs technicians turning the legal machine gears. HCJFS will take your unemployment benefits deduction, process it, decide they can not use it, cut a check, mail it back to you. They will do this for one year and charge you fifty dollars for “Administration Fees”. (“Seems to me Hcjfs should pay for those “Administrative Fees”) Then they (hcjfs) will stop the Unemployment benefit deduction and then suspend your Driver’s License thirty days later for “Contempt” . Then summon me to Court. Did I say I was unemployed at this time. Thank you hcjfs for making it that much easier for me to get around town and find work. I hope the Magistrate is equally understanding when I tell her I don’t have a job because I don’t have a driver’s license and this has hindered my ability to be mobile. This isn’t about the kids! The kids are grown 28, 21, 20 years old. It isn’t about child support, I do not owe any, it isn’t about a child support arrearage, it has been waived. I have paid over $60,000 in court orders(overpaid!). Hcjfs has suspended my license and placed liens on my property for “Administrative Fees”. I just gave you an example of one year of waste administratively and I should be glad you (hcjfs) wrote me? In these times of tough economic conditions for the county and everyone else, should the County be utilizing its resources in such frivolous ways? Did I mention hcjfs alleges I owe $400 in “Administrative Fees”. I say allege because hcjfs has been wrong in the past. I know hcjfs could never be wrong! Now hcjfs wants to use its resources (paperwork, attorneys, magistrates, court time) to get $400 out me for the agency, not the children. I do not believe hcjfs is providing me an administrative service but a rectal exam without k(entuck)y. The rogue behavior of “some” of your employees and therefore your agency should not be allowed to continue unchecked and without consequence.

  3. To all who have responded about their personal cases, I sincerely apologize for your unfortunate situations and promise you we are doing our best in most circumstances.

    I understand that we are not going to give everyone satisfaction on every case. Much of what happens in child support collection happens outside of our venue, with the courts and the police. They are responsible for court orders, warrants, arrests, etc. We try to work very closely with them to ensure success.

    Everyone must work in concert on the difficult cases. And even then, some people are difficult to find, quit their jobs, pay just enough to avoid jail, etc. I do understand your frustration.

    With the many cutbacks we have had in personnel, service may not be as quick as you would like. But we will continue to do our best to help you.

    Moira

  4. I wish that you really did enforce child support! My ex is over $25,000 in arrearages as well as not helping with medical (we have a child with issues that need ongoing medical attention) I have called your office, petitioned the courts, tracked him down for you and I still do not get any action. The last time I was in court was a joke he was $16,000 behind with a contempt on him and because he gave his employers information the room gave him a standing ovation leaving me with my mouth wide open, not believing that once again I was getting the shaft. After a couple months of payments he quit his job and changes his phone number and does not report nor let me know where he is employed making 1 payment every 8 weeks to “keep him out of contempt” You have made it easy for the person obligated to pay to work the system to their advantage and leave the children out in the cold. I have almost lost my house many times over the last 2 yrs and I cannot afford school clothes or school supplies I have been forced to apply for assistance from the state when I have always been proud to take care of myself and my family. I just today after having to get up and 5am and hide in my car down the road from his house and follow him to work, (I am lucky I didn’t get shot) finally was able to report his place of employment and an address for a court order. You know where he works for God sakes he had to file taxes, but yet you have done nothing to garnish his wages or help my case. I have repeately asked and begged for my case to be transfered to clermont county because we both have lived over here for 8 yrs, but I cannot get that arranged either. Hamilton county wont relinquish my case. (AT LEAST CLERMONT COUNTY WILL DO SOMETHING) I feel that we are wasting our money paying for a director that writes bloggs about untrue situations and has a sheet in PDF online posted about how to enforce child support and none of what that paper says is true, I would love to see some help here!!!!!!!
    Sincerely,
    Desperate in OHIO

  5. Can’t get a return phone call from Hamilton County Child Support Enforcement Agency these days. Why?

    I agree child support needs to be paid. I disagree that child support is always more concerned about the child and doesn’t take sides between parents.

    If your the one who has to pay child support and no matter what the circumstances are, child support is ruthless towards that parent. A person could literally be dying and child support doesn’t care.

    Ex: My dad did die and for years child support was trying to track him down and collect even with proof of his death having been submitted and submitted. What it did to my mom and us kids was wrong. We had to watch what it did to her each painful time stuff would come in the mail about it. The tears it brought to her and us kids knowing my father loved us and our mom. They never divorced or seperated and when he was alive their was no order for support. We all live together.

    As for communication with child support when it did happen, the tone of voice, and sit down, shut up, and listen attitude is degrading with exception of one worker who is no longer there.

    With a significant change in circumstances and the coldness from agency representatives, and for what “small” amount I do owe for the first time since I’ve been paying child support, it’s enough for me to say go ahead and lock me up! My address is still the same. Although I did get something in the mail at my home address trying to locate me when nothing had changed and I never avoided child support enforcement for any reason.

    I know small amounts make big differeces, but when someone who has to pay, contacts the agency, attempts to explain, makes it clear what measures are being taken to get it paid, gets the same rude and ruthless attitude from the agency rep. that might be given to someone who owes child support and really doesn’t care about their obligation and had to be tracked down and owes thousand upon thousands more than those of us who are going through something beyond our circumstances, is no where near what’s best for the child.

    A loving parent embarrased by a feeling of “deadbeat” in the eyes of child is a painful one. Tell me how that’s best for my child. I shouldn’t be embarrased by my feelings. I am though. Your agency has done an excellent job of making me feel like a worthless low life deadbeat parent.
    GC

  6. I really wish this was true I am in this last third and yes I found out that you do take the Income tax but you hold it for six months that is along time for a someone that hasn’t received any support in a long time. And you talk about struggling how about not be able to but school supplies and clothes and learn you had a payment received for over $4000 and you can’t get it until Dec 18 and then told to not count on it then you may get it before Christmas. So please explain to me how is that suppose to be for the kids.

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