"Helping Dads Help Their Kids: New Ways to Increase Child Support Collections"- Fall Forum Session 2012
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Updated December 2012
At NCSL’s Fall Forum in Washington D.C., state legislators and legislative staff attended a session on how to engage fathers in order to help them make consistent child support payments and be involved in their child’s life. The panel included Ms. Benidia Rice, Director of the District of Columbia’s Child Support Division, and Mr. Joe Jones, founder and president of the Center for Urban Families in Baltimore, MD – an organization designed to assist low-income men and women contribute to their families. Both presenters spoke of innovative programs designed to address the needs of fathers and encourage them to become more involved in their children’s lives and how such involvement can help increase child support payments.
Benida Rice, director, District of Columbia Child Support Division
Ms. Rice gave an overview of the District of Columbia’s Fathering Court and other services they provide to noncustodial parents to help them make child support payments. The Fathering Court developed in 2008 after many judges in the family courts in D.C. grew tired of seeing the same noncustodial parents show up in their courts for nonpayment of child support. The judges decided to create a specialized life skills and employment assistance program to help parents find jobs so they could make their child support payments. The Fathering Court has a small caseload but has been very successful in helping parents secure jobs and meet their child support obligations. The Child Support Division has also experimented with other services to help engage fathers and help them overcome any barriers they have to meeting their child support obligations.
Joe Jones, founder and president, Center for Urban Families
Audience members listened to Mr. Jones share his personal story and heard how he overcame challenges in his life and decided to pursue a career that would allow him to help men become better fathers. Mr. Jones discussed the Responsible Fatherhood program which incorporates workforce and employment readiness training, child support intervention, advocacy services and healthy relationship education. The Center for Urban Families sponsors programs and projects to encourage fathers and children to spend time together. Mr. Jones is a nationally known expert on fatherhood programs and highlighted the positive outcomes that comes with engaging fathers and addressing their needs at a time when many programs focus only on single moms and children.
*PLEASE NOTE: The National Conference of State Legislatures is an organization serving state legislators and their staff. We cannot offer legal advice or assistance with individual cases, but we do try to answer questions on general topics.
About This NCSL Project
NCSL staff in D.C. and Denver can provide comprehensive, thorough, and timely information on critical child support policy issues. We provide services to legislators and staff working to improve state policies affecting children and their families.NCSL's online clearinghouse for state legislators includes resources on child support policy, financing, laws, research and promising practices. Technical assistance visits to states are available to any state legislature that would like training or assistance related to this topic.
The Denver-based child support project staff focuses on state policy, tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation and technical assistance specifically geared to the legislative audience. Denver staff can be reached at (303) 364-7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child support issues before Congress and the Administration. In D.C., Sheri Steisel and Emily Wengrovius can be reached at (202) 624-5400 or email@example.com.
The child support project and D.C. human services staff receive guidance and support from NCSL's Human Services and Welfare Standing Committee.
For more information regarding NCSL's child support work, please visit our Child Support Homepage.