Oneida County has been recognizing National Child Support Awareness month by offering public and employee events to raise awareness of county child support services throughout August.
“We have seen time and time again that having each parent involved in a child’s life improves overall well-being,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “They are likely to do better in school, have lower dropout and incarceration rates, go on to college and lead happier and healthier adult lives. The services our Child Support Division provides give families in need the tools they need to solidify the future of these children. I thank our dedicated unit staff and all of our partners whose hard work makes a huge difference.”
The Oneida County Department of Family & Community Services’ (DFCS) Child Support Division provides professional services to custodial parents and guardians seeking assistance in obtaining child support. The Child Support Program is not income-based, but assists thousands of families to become self-sufficient and to not rely on public assistance. It also provides children access to medical insurance and care.
In 2022, the Child Support Division carried 11,261 active cases and collected over $19.4 million in support payments, which are passed through to custodial parents or guardians. So far this year, the unit has 11,161 cases, 1,708 of which are families receiving temporary assistance, 5,089 of which are individuals who were formally in receipt of temporary assistance and 4,364 of which are families that have never received assistance. $11.8 million has thus far been collected for those families.
Oneida County has a history of participating in pilot projects aimed at improved service delivery and is currently involved in a demonstration project. New York State is one of 13 states across the nation awarded a federal demonstration grant for the Safe Access for Victims Economic Security (SAVES) project. Oneida County Child Support was chosen to be one of 12 counties in the state to participate in this five-year initiative. The SAVES project aims to strengthen policies, staff training and public understanding of available protections for victims of domestic violence, with the goal of increasing the number of individuals who seek and receive child support services to aid them in reaching financial security.
“Last year, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that nearly 11 million families with children under the age of 18 are a one-parent household, and 80% of those households are maintained by a single mother,” said DFCS Commissioner Colleen Fahy-Box. “Child support is critical to the success of one-parent households by ensuring all available services are provided timely and without unnecessary dispute. We are dedicated to providing those support services to families in a safe, efficient and dependable process for the benefit of children in our community.”
DFCS has been offering events to raise public awareness of child support services and to show appreciation to Child Support Division staff all month long including: hosting an ice cream social for those who work closely with the unit such as other DFCS divisions, child support attorneys and court personnel; providing education and training on new initiatives; offering outreach booths for the public at the county office building and holding a thank you luncheon for staff. The County Office Building has also been lit green and purple during August in recognition of the national awareness month campaign.
For more information on the services provided by the DFCS Child Support Division, please visit: https://ocgov.net/departments/department-of-family-and-community-services/department-of-social-services/child-support/.