Creative Approaches for Winning with NCPs Presenter: Joan Kennedy, Director Mecklenburg County Child Support Enforcement The Father Factor The loving and nurturing father improves outcomes for children, families and communities Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors including drug use, truancy, and criminal activity. Negative impacts of absent fathers can be reduced by developing family centered strategies that support and strengthen the roles of fathers in needy families: -equipping men to be responsible fathers through skill-based parenting education; -assisting men to achieve financial stability in the form of more consistent and higher earnings, and; -supporting incarcerated fathers in the development of healthy marriages and effective fathering skills. Guiding Principles of working with NCPs all fathers can be important contributors to the well-being of their children. parents are partners in raising their children, even when they do not live in the same household. the roles fathers play in families is diverse and related to cultural and community norms. Guiding Principles of working with NCPs men should receive the education and support necessary to prepare them for the responsibility of parenthood. government can encourage and promote father involvement through its programs and through its own workforce policies. Best Practices 1. NCP Orientations Educates NCPs on their rights and responsibilities when a party to a child support case. Operates under the presumption that most men want to be responsible fathers. Serves both English-speaking and LEP Customers Held Quarterly Cont’d Key Partners join in the sessions as potential referral sources Genetic testing is available on site at each session 2. Job Center on the Go Partnership with Mecklenburg County Public Library Started as the MCPL Career Mobile featured in the Federal Child Support Quarterly Job Developer/Counselor meets with NCPs referred by caseworkers Services include soft skills and job placement Goal: regular and reliable payment of child support as a result of earning a livable wage. 3. Project FreshStart Targeted NCPs were those with a history of incarceration as a barrier to employment Two phases: pre-release and post-release Funding Source: Section 1115 Demonstration Grant Referrals came from caseworkers, court, relatives, community based organizations, etc. Intensive job development provided by employment services vendor 4. Erasing Borders Target population were case participants in the Prince George’s County/Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. Geographic proximity and inability for legacy systems to communicate allowed many customers to open a case in both jurisdictions. Many NCPs had duplicate wage withholdings on the same case. No systematic process for timely exchange of information regarding policies and procedures Difference in obtaining Affidavit of Paternity Difference in age of majority Inefficient transmission of information Physical copies of documents often sent by mail Considerable delay in transmission of information from the courts Staff sharing as a solution Case clean up and elimination of duplication was the goal. 5. TriMetro Workforce Collaborative Greensboro-High Point Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fayetteville-Cumberland A planning and development project To develop employment services strategies to serve NCPs To identify key stakeholders, partners and collaborators that serve NCPs To test the efficacy of selected employment services strategies, for potential future implementation Funding Source: Section 1115 Grant from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement Project Length: 1 Year Two grant-funded staff Services customized to fit the participating region 25 NCPs in each County selected for participation Serves noncustodial parents who Have work history Have been on UIB at some point in the 12 months prior to program enrollment Are not meeting 100% of their child support obligation May have Medicaid involvement in the case GOAL: reemployment of the NCPs so that regular and reliable payment of child support can be made. 6. PUBLIC ASSISTANCE DEBT REDUCTION POLICY Owes a minimum of $15,000 in PA arrears; Enters into an agreement with CSE to make twenty-four (24) consecutive monthly payments on a timely basis for both current provides opportunity NCGS 110-135amount toward arrearages; support and an for noncustodial parents (NCPs) and who owe Public Assistance (PA) Abides by the terms of the agreement. arrears to reduce that debt when the Selection Process ACTS identifies eligible NCPs quarterly and makes a Debt Reduction Arrears Report available to local offices First Report issued in January 2006 Sample Report The Process Caseworker contacts assigned NCPs to assess financial ability to make the agreed upon payments. NCP contact letter is used for initial contact Consent Order created if agreement to pay is reached. Upon judge’s signature, copy is retained in the court file Sample Letter Verbiage Due to a recent change in the law, you may be eligible for a reduction in the amount of past due support owed under the terms of your court order. By agreeing to consistently pay your current support due and an additional amount to arrears for a 24 month period, the arrears you owe that are designated as public assistance debt may be reduced by two thirds (2/3) at the end of the 24 month time frame. If you are interested in finding ou more information on this change, please contact _____________ at telephone number _________ between the hours of _________ and _______. Case notes are added to the child support database, and a “Mail Worklist” item is added. Central Office Distribution Unit monitors compliance with the order. If the NCP fails to comply, the Distribution Unit notifies the caseworker via system note “DEBT REDUCTION DEFAULT”. Caseworker contacts NCP and attempts to renegotiate compliance. If renegotiated successfully, caseworker renotifies Distribution Unit for continued monitoring. Compliance Benefits If NCP pays consistently for 24 consecutive months, Distribution Unit reduces the remaining PA arrears by two-thirds. Ex. Docket # 99CVD12345 covers a case owing $25,000 in PA arrears. Agreement reached to pay ongoing support, and arrears at $100/month. -At the end of the 24 months agreement, arrears are assessed at $22,600. The reduction of the PA arrearages is calculated as follows: $22,600 x 2/3 = $15,074 total arrearage reduction The Results Most jurisdictions have not aggressively pursued the option presented by this policy. Causes include philosophical differences of some local leadership who have not made it a priority. Causes also include reduced staff to focus on implementation. An additional cause includes lack of awareness of the policy option. The Results – a statewide survey We polled all State child support offices on the use of debt reduction in their offices. Twelve of 100 counties responded to the survey. Consensus among the respondents was that the concept is excellent and has potential to be a strong case management tool. The Challenges Gaining local leadership support for aggressive pursuit of debt reduction Training staff on availability of this option and on implementation strategies Dedicating staff to implement policy in an environment of budgetary constraints driven by the economic downturn. Implications for the future Opportunity to strengthen relationships with NCPs as partners in the management of their child support cases. Opportunity to recoup costs incurred by the State when providing public assistance to families in need. Improves performance of State’s child support program and increases the earning of federal incentive funds.
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