Franklin County will launch a two-year program with $ 2 million in federal funding to find ways to employ low-income, non-caring parents to provide regular child support payments.
Earlier this week, Franklin County officials approved a resolution accepting money donated by the nonprofit social policy research group, MDRC, to the program entitled “The Journey – A Parent’s Voice.”
Franklin County collects child support on time about 67% of the time, but the remaining 33% of cases are often sporadic collections or parents miss out on payments altogether, said Susan Brown, director of the County Child Support Enforcement Agency.
Most parents struggling to make payments make less than $ 10,000 a year, Brown said.
Brown said of the 54,931 child child support orders in enforcement mode, 13,804 cases were paid zero in calendar year 2020.
The district supervised a total of 73,430 open cases of child benefit last year, in which 84,445 children and 106,765 parents were involved.
Brown said the county will create a curriculum that includes parenting classes, employment, and other community services to improve their economic security and strengthen parenting relationships so that non-caring parents can make their payments on time and in full.
“Basically, we were chosen as the research location,” she said.
“The child benefit program has been interacting with parents for over 18 years. It’s long-term case management,” Brown said. “If we can start the case with strong support, the family can be more successful in the long run.”
In a statement e-mailed, Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce said that “a successful child support system prevents many young children from living in poverty. We pride ourselves on our innovative approaches and are happy to be part of a study that does the Will help shape politics across the country for the years to come. “
According to the contract the county posted, the money is paid for a construction manager who makes $ 57,466, along with four support staff who each make $ 34,028, plus cash for other positions.
Goodwill Columbus and Jewish Family Sevices will also be involved, and there will be a financial education program.
The county’s program is part of a national initiative called Building Evidence on Employment Strategies, launched in 2017 that assesses the effectiveness of income and employment programs for low-income Americans, said Megan Millenky, senior research associate with the MDRC in New York .
The money that MDRC runs into the county comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Social Security.
“There is still work going on that has been delayed due to the pandemic,” Millenky said. Other communities participating in the project are Portland, Oregon, Chicago and Cook County, Illinois, she said.
Meanwhile, the Columbus Foundation announced earlier this week that it was distributing $ 1.375 million to 18 nonprofits in the area through its Gifts of Kindness fund.
Typically, the fund accepts applications from individuals and families, and grants range from $ 500 to $ 3,000.
However, in the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, Columbus Foundation officials felt they needed to do things differently. The grants announced this week range from $ 100,000 to $ 200,000.
“This enables nonprofits to more efficiently and quickly serve the needs of the customers they serve,” said Dan Sharpe, vice president of the Community Research and Scholarship Management Foundation.
Groups that received grants included mainstays in central Ohio such as the Columbus Urban League, Goodwill Columbus, the LifeCare Alliance, Lutheran Social Services in central Ohio, and Maryhaven.
The change in philosophy for gifts for gifts of kindness began in December when the foundation announced a $ 500,000 grant to IMPACT Community Action to support the HOPE Fund, which provides rental and mortgage assistance to families in Franklin County.
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