Child Support Changes

As of this week, the state has issued new criteria for our agency to follow when suspending driver’s licenses of parents who have neglected to make their child support payments. It is not much different than what we do now, but there are a few changes.

The new rules, developed in House Bill 153, will create uniform standards across all 88 Ohio counties.

By the way, suspending a license is something we really don’t want to do. We work with parents to avoid such things. But sometimes, when someone will not meet their obligation to their children, this is a necessary step.

In order for HCJFS to suspend a driver’s license, a parent will now have to have been in default for at least 90 days and have paid less than 50 percent of the total ordered obligation. A license alert letter will also be issued at least 14 days before the license is suspended.

To have a license reinstated, the parent must do one of the following:

– No longer be in default

– Pay the arrears in full

– Present evidence of an employer or account at financial institution from which HCJFS can draw payments

– Present evidence of an inability to work

– Comply with a written agreement to participate in an agency approved program

– Pay the balance of the total monthly obligation for the 90-day period prior to the suspension.

Thank you for your cooperation.

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Bringing Permanency to Children Who Need It

Permanency is crucial for the success of children. Children grow best in nurturing, stable environments. They want a sense of permanent “family.” For this reason, we are instituting Permanency Roundtables into our child welfare practice next month.

Permanent situations offer:

— commitment and continuity to children who really need it because of their situations
— a network of support to help those children thrive
— the safety of legal status, so someone has the authority to act in the best interests of the child
— the security of creating a long-term and meaningful connection between child and adult

Foster care was never meant to be the permanent answer for children in the child welfare system. Historical research shows, in general, the detrimental effects of long-term foster care on children. Foster care means different schools, different friends and the removal of most people with whom children share bonds.

Permanency Roundtables expedite the permanency process. These are structured, professional case consultations designed to apply innovative solutions and best practices – while removing systemic barriers — so a child can more quickly move into a permanent situation.

Permanency Roundtables are meetings where the professionals involved in a child’s life conduct an intense discussion and examination of the permanency options for the child. The participants will examine all aspects of the child’s life, the significant relationships in the child’s life and any other information that may help establish a plan to permanency.

The goal of the roundtable is to come out with a detailed, step-by-step permanency action plan for each child. We want to ensure resources are available to caseworkers to implement this plan. We also want monthly reviews on the progress.

JFS plans to make Permanency Roundtables part of its core practice. . These have been successful in other areas of the country.
We are devoting staff, time and resources to the effort and partnering with the Casey Foundation. This will lead to better all-around efforts on permanency, with increased training for staff, recognition of barriers and actionable data

The #1 goal is still safety. We will not compromise on that. But, if we explore new – and old — ideas, do some out-of-the-box thinking and come at this from a non-judgmental point of view, we might find new ways of helping these children. Let’s break the habits of tradition.

Child Care Changes Coming Oct. 30

Hamilton County has been chosen as a pilot county to implement Ohio’s new Electronic Child Care system, which will result in better tracking and spending of tax dollars in the publicly-funded Child Care program.

On Oct. 30, we are scheduled to change from a voucher system to an electronic swipe-card system. Soon, all Ohio counties will make the change.

This means big changes for Hamilton County parents and providers who are involved in the program. Each provider must have an electronic swipe-card system installed and each parent will swipe in and out each day. You can find out more about these changes by visiting our web site: http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/Demo/services/childcare/PilotECC.htm

Please have patience. The conversion to a new system is difficult for everyone. There will likely be glitches. We will keep you updated as the conversion gets closer.