Innovative Public Information and Outreach Campaigns
Compilation of outreach materials developed by the States
DECEMBER 15, 1992
TO:ALL STATE AGENCIES ADMINISTERING CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT PLANS APPROVED UNDER TITLE IV-D OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT AND OTHER INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS
SUBJECT:Innovative public information and outreach campaigns, including a compilation of outreach materials developed by the States.
BACKGROUND:Attached is a description of brochures, posters, factsheets, and public service announcements that were provided by the States in response to our request for information materials about the child support enforcement program. Included are examples of campaigns which encourage a change of public attitude towards non-payment of child support, prevention of teenage pregnancy, and linking with other federal and State offices to foster family health and self-sufficiency. Information about early paternity establishment outreach activities and successful use of telephone technology as an information source complete this compendium.
We plan to update this publication as we receive public affairs/ information materials from Regional, State and local child support offices. Please continue to send us descriptions and samples of your outreach products.
ATTACHMENT:REACH OUT FOR CHILD SUPPORT
Best Practices and New Directions.
INQUIRIES:OCSE, Office of Public Information/Inquiries, (202) 401-9373.
Allie Page Matthews
Office of Child Support
REACH OUT FOR CHILD SUPPORT:
Best Practices & New Directions
for Child Support Outreach
and Information Activities
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Administration for Children and Families
Department of Health and Human Services
Washington, D.C. 20447
I. WE'RE GETTING MADD 1
How Mothers Against Drunk Driving successfully changed public opinion about drinking and driving and how we can apply MADD strategies to the child support issue.
II. THE HARD SELL 5
MARYLAND & MADISON AVENUE TEAM UP FOR TEENS: The story of Maryland's Campaign For Our Children as an example of an effective, comprehensive, multimedia campaign: how they did it, what they communicated, and how preventing pregnancies relates to the Child Support Enforcement Program.
III. AN UPBEAT NOTE 9
THE FLORIDA "LET'S TAKE CARE OF OUR KIDS" CAMPAIGN: A description of Florida's 1990 public information campaign as an effective approach with a positive theme.
IV. RIGHT FROM THE START 11
PATERNITY ESTABLISHMENT IN THE MATERNITY WARD: How West Virginia and other States have reached out to local hospitals and to unwed mothers and fathers.
V. DIALING FOR DOLLARS 15
TELEPHONE OUTREACH INNOVATIONS: Description of the many ways states are using modern telecommunications technology to manage case loads, answer clients' questions, and expand outreach efforts.
VI. MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS 17
AN INDEX OF RESOURCES DEVELOPED BY STATES: List and short description (some visual reproductions) of Public ServiceAnnouncements, videos, fliers, brochures, pamphlets, posters, etc. Also general outreach ideas: ie, Father's Day, state fairs, etc. A list of State Outreach Contact People is included.
VII. LINKAGES 49
COORDINATING WITH OTHER HUMAN SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS: Suggestions for communicating and coordinating activities with groups in your community who serve people who need to know about child support.
We are providing this compilation of best outreach practices so that State and local child support offices can develop quality outreach materials at minimal cost. A strong public affairs program is fundamental if we are to convince people that all children need and deserve the love and financial support of two responsible parents. We are pleased to note that many States are already sharing ideas and materials and adapting them with local information. For example, some twenty States are using Georgia's "Teen Tabloid". Several States have adapted our Handbook on Child Support Enforcement to meet their specific needs. Note that the Handbook is available on disk from this Office.
CHAPTER I. WE'RE GETTING MADD
---CHANGING PUBLIC PERCEPTION---
MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING (MADD) "was born in 1980, out of the tragic death of a thirteen-year-old California girl from the actions of a repeat DUI (driving under the influence) offender. The rapid development and expansion of the organization, fueled by her mother's outrage at the lenient laws and weak judicial response to drunk driving crime, signaled that the battle against drunk driving was on in earnest." (MADD: Impaired Driving Issues Compendium Series, Volume 2, p.1.11)
In one decade MADD has changed public perception: Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is irresponsible - and it is a crime. People who care about their friends do not let them drive when their ability to operate a vehicle is impaired.
In one decade, across the country, more than 1000 anti-drunk driving laws and more than 1000 victim rights laws have been enacted. And, annual alcohol-related traffic fatalities were reduced nearly 20 percent during the 1980s.
MADD has galvanized public opinion against drinking and driving. Such success merits attention - and imitation. There are a number of elements in the MADD campaign that could transpose nicely into a child support campaign.
MADD's Annual Report highlights significant events which have taken place since the beginning of their program. One change which we might bear in mind: in 1984 MADD changed its name from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The focus is on the behavior - not the person.
We may need to reassess our tactics. Can we enlist the cooperation of non-custodial parents, change the attitudes of those who don't pay support (and those who care about them), and get them to focus on the well-being of their children, if we are calling them "dead-beats?" Should we instead insist on the responsible behavior of adults in the best interest of children?
149 Florida developed a multi-media public education campaign - "Let's Take Care of Our Kids" - to promote a positive perspective on the advantages to both custodial and non-custodial parents and children when children receive the financial and emotional support they need and deserve. Among their Public Service Announcements is one showing a supporting father writing out a check, and one with a mother saying that"everything is better...for me, his Dad, especially for this little guy" now that child support is coming in. (See Chapter III)
Texas and Washington both use Houston Oilers football star Warren Moon in a PSA, "Pay your child support - A quarterback needs protection. So do kids. Don't neglect your kids."
MADD focuses on victims - the people who are killed or injured and their families and friends. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime and it can be deadly. And MADD has empowered people who care about, or interact with, drinkers to persuade - or prevent - them from endangering themselves and others by driving. It is irresponsible, now, to condone unsafe driving.
We in Child Support should foster a strong public perception that it is wrong to shirk child support obligations. Not paying child support is a crime. And children are victims when one of the two people who should be pulling hardest for them abandons them, either emotionally or financially. But, we have not yet persuaded people not to risk bearing children unless they are able to protect, nurture and support them. We have not yet convinced people who evade their child support obligations that their behavior endangers the well-being of their children. And, we have not yet empowered those who care about, or interact with, parents who owe child support to persuade - or require - them to fulfill their obligations.
- Minnesota billboards asked, in black, white, and hot pink, "Q: Who suffers when parents do not pay child support? - A: Children & Taxpayers." Billboard companies donated the space as a public service.
- Idaho's campaign is modeled on Florida's. (See above and Chapter III) It, too, is entitled "Let's Take Care of Our Kids" and its goal is to change public perception so that it is unacceptable for parents not to support their children. Radio and TV PSAs played throughout the State. Billboard space was donated in major cities. In addition, the CSE office arranged to have unsold classified space in newspapers advertise the program.
MADD's primary focus is on preventive education. They have developed an Impaired Driving Issues Compendium for citizen activist groups, people working on state legislative initiatives, and for community programs dealing with youth. Included in the compendium are issue papers, suggested solutions,editorials, news releases, sample speeches, anecdotal victim experiences, talking points, and resource lists. Volume II of the Compendium is about teenage drinking and driving.
Excellent educational materials about the child support program are available - a number of States are reaching out especially to teens and to schools, as you will find in this compilation, to prevent teen pregnancies, thereby reducing the child support caseload. (See Chapter II: The Hard Sell.) With our ready-made network (Federal/ State/local CSE offices), we can share information about successful educational tools.
Since 1980, more than 1,250 drunk driving laws have been enacted nationwide. MADD played a leading role in enactment of a nationwide minimum drinking age - all States have adopted age 21 as the standard. Thanks to the efforts of MADD activists and other traffic safety groups, more than half of all states have now passed Administrative License Revocation laws, which allow the arresting officer to take the driver's license of those who fail or refuse a breath test. ("Help Keep Families Together" brochure) MADD provides sample laws as well as information about legislation that the organization advises activists to promote.
Child support enforcement, too, has developed strong laws to ensure that children are supported by their parents. Several States have sent us materials which would help to develop a healthy legislative and enforcement climate for child support.
- Minnesota distributed an information packet, Children First: Facts About Child Support Enforcement, to their legislators, media outlets and counties when several child support proposals were scheduled in the upcoming legislative session and after several news stories criticized the child support program. The packet contains facts and statistics, a historical perspective, lists of news sources and resource materials, quotes from people involved with child support issues, and addresses of county offices. The news media reacted with positive pieces on child support, and State CSE director credited the project with assisting in the passage of Department legislative proposals.
- Alaska has published a 35 page booklet Child Support Enforcement Regulations & Civil Rule 90.3 about child support laws and practices in the State. State of Alaska Child Support Enforcement Statutes includes statutes which govern child support enforcement in the State.
- Delaware's Annual Report shows the benefits of a healthy child support program from the human standpoint and that of sound fiscal policy.
CHAPTER II: THE HARD SELL
---MARYLAND AND MADISON AVENUE TEAM UP FOR TEENS---
According to our most recent Census figures, unwed mothers are the least likely to receive child support - with an award rate of 20% compared to a 74% award rate for divorced or separated women. Prevention is a legitimate goal of a child support outreach program.
"Don't mess around with sex" advises a hot pink brochure put out by the Maryland Governor's Campaign for Our Children. "If ever there were a time to take sex education seriously, it's now. Because unwanted pregnancies are stealing the dreams of more teenagers than ever. The latest statistics available show that over 13% of births in Maryland are to teenagers. Every year, approximately 8700 girls younger than 20 give birth. Of ninth graders who get pregnant, 90% drop out of school. They face a lifetime of deprivation, with 72-85% of households headed by females under 25 living below the poverty line."
The theme, "You can go further when you don't go all the way," is emphasized to children aged 10 - 14 through "a television commercial that contrasts the happiness and achievements of average teens with the loneliness and anguish of teens facing an unwanted pregnancy, a music video for distribution in community centers, schools and churches, radio airplay of a song based on the theme, commercials based on the song and posters distributed to all Maryland middle schools," bus cards, posters, t-shirts & buttons, a 24-hour hotline for teens, and "the cooperation of every educational, health and human services professional involved with teen development."
Maryland is among the States that have made an all-out effort to stem the tide of pregnancies among teenagers. And, while the national birth rate in 1989 for young women 15-19 years of age increased by 8% over the previous year, the Maryland Department of Health reported a reduction in teen births (to single females under the age of 18) by 5% in 1989 and another 5% in 1990. At the same time there were 17% fewer abortions.
The Governor's Council on Adolescent Pregnancy was established in 1986. Members were appointed by the Governor and included cabinet secretaries, members of the General Assembly, and representatives from the community, academia, local government, and the private sector. Its support staff consisted of an executive director, public affairs officer, health educator, research statistician, and an administrative aide. The Council attributes its success to the use of multiple strategies to mobilize the diverse populations within the state and to the Campaign for Our Children, Inc. multi-media effort which created strong public awareness of the problem statewide.1
The Council's decision to work with a professional advertising agency has resulted in an unusually coordinated campaign. While the cost of using professionals was high, the ad agency itself used its private sector contacts to provide much of the funding. Several State CSE offices are buying Maryland's materials (which can be retagged with identifying information about the purchasing State.) 66% Federal Financial Participation (FFP) is available to States for activities to advertise the services of the Child Support Enforcement Program.
Maryland's materials include:
- Posters, (those shown here and in Chapter VI and one of a teenage couple - "Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder: You go farther when you don't go all the way.")
- Radio and TV PSAs (for example, a crying baby with the message that this is what your life would sound like with an infant, mothers talking with their teenage children, a disgruntled teenage boy whose girlfriend left him for another who respected her right not to have sex.)
- A billboard - the word VIRGIN spelled out in huge letters ("Teach your kids it's not a dirty word.")
1 Prevention: Governor's Council on Adolescent Pregnancy. Special Edition on Maryland Teen Pregnancy Prevention Strategies, Vol. 2 No. 3 Spring 1992.
"You play. You pay." ("Every baby has a right to a father. And every father has a responsibility to take care of his child. But, many teen-aged boys do not take that responsibility seriously. They leave their babies hungry, cold and without the love they need to grow up to be healthy kids. They also refuse to pay for their baby's food, clothes and care. Paying for the baby's expenses is called child support. In Maryland, we believe that every father, no matter how young or old, is financially responsible for his children. You don't even have to be married. You don't even have to have a job yet. We'll wait.")
In addition to the campaign developed in Maryland, we'd like to call your attention to excellent outreach materials from several other States:
- Georgia's "teen tabloid" has been used by CSE offices across the country. The cartoon style fact sheet gives young people information about paternity establishment and father's responsibilities.
- The Florida "Teen Education Program" includes a 60-second radio spot, lesson plans for use in classrooms, and a video, "Four Teens" (see description in Chapter VI), to educate teenagers about child support responsibilities. The program is designed for middle and high school curricula.
- Richland County, Ohio provides CSE materials and staff to talk with high school age people.
- Washington State has developed a comprehensive junior high (Draw your Conclusion) and high school curriculum with strong appeal for its targeted audience - including a comic book style brochure - Patman, Protector of Children's Rights.
- Colorado's Denver Partnership for Adolescent Concerns and Successes has developed an excellent booklet for teenagers. Yes, Your Baby Has a Daddy is an informative, and informal, booklet to help single teen mothers with paternity, child support and visitation.
CHAPTER III: AN UPBEAT NOTE
---THE FLORIDA "LETS TAKE CARE OF OUR KIDS" CAMPAIGN---
Florida's campaign uses a very effective and refreshing approach to child support conventional outreach/public awareness activities. They take on a new direction by adopting a "positive theme."
The focus of the campaign marks a change from the negative "Deadbeat Dads" focus and emphasizes the advantage of voluntarily paying child support and the personal
rewards that can be gained. "Let's Take Care of Our Kids" is the theme of Florida's child support public awareness campaign and was launched in January 1990.
The campaign included both print, television and radio advertisements with messages geared toward custodial parents, non-custodial parents, and the general public. The campaign was also designed to increase public understanding of child support enforcement so that children are not shortchanged in their critical years.
The seven public service announcements are upbeat and focus on positive issues. Highlights of the PSA's included
responsible Fathers, teens and peer pressure and how the child support system helps with a toll-free number for persons needing assistance.
The PSA's were distributed throughout the state under a contract with the Florida Association of Broadcasters. The contract was designed to ensure good air time during prime watching and listening periods.
Lastly Florida's campaign included a number of brochures, bumper stickers carrying the campaigns theme, "Let's Take Care of Our Kids." The importance of a caring relationship between the paying parent and the child was highlighted in a poster with a Father and Daughter. The title of the poster is "Life Is Better When You're In The Picture."
Descriptions of print material and the PSA's are included in Chapter VI.
CHAPTER IV: RIGHT FROM THE START
---PATERNITY ESTABLISHMENT IN THE MATERNITY WARD---
Several States and the District of Columbia have found that reaching out to parents and hospitals to establish paternity at the time of birth can head off a potential child support problem. This is an opportune time since the father is usually there and bursting with pride over the birth of his child. Identification of the father is paramount in child support cases if the parents were not married when the child was born.
Paternity establishment offers both economic and non-economic benefits to the family. States, too, can benefit economically. The identified father can provide reimbursement to the State if the family receives Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Paternity establishment is the initial step toward a child support award and payment. Because of paternity establishment, other benefits may become available to the family: immediate wage withholding from the father, medical insurance for the child, survivor's benefits through Social Security. Non-economic benefits include knowledge of family medical history and potential for the child's bonding with the father.
The States of West Virginia, Washington, Michigan, Texas, Virginia, Ohio, and the District of Columbia have all introduced procedures to establish paternity in the hospital maternity ward. These States and jurisdictions approached in-hospital paternity establishment in varying manners. Some have used laws that are currently on the books while others have used public affairs techniques as the impetus, and some a combination of both. Still others have used pilot projects. Regardless of the approach, all found that a close working relationship with the hospitals was critical to the success of their in-hospital paternity establishment program.
State outreach efforts promoting hospital-base paternity establishment have focused primarily on training staff at participating hospitals. Child support staff also discuss paternity establishment when speaking before teen groups at schools, churches, and other teen associated locations.
- West Virginia -- Through its Child Advocate Office (CAO) West Virginia established an in-hospital paternity establishment project. This three-month pilot project trained CAO staff to encourage new, unmarried parents to sign paternity affidavits right when the child is born. The project involved three hospitals. During the three-month period, 40 percent of unwed parents established paternityvoluntarily. The State realized considerable cost savings. Typically, contested paternity cases cost $600 to establish.
West Virginia developed its pilot study based on the hospital-based projects in Virginia and Washington. The West Virginia CAO worked with administrative, legal, and social work staff of the two largest birthing hospitals in the State to develop agreements to try the program in their facilities. The Department of Vital Statistics also cooperated and CAO, through the Office of the Secretary of State, agreed to provide additional Notaries Public.
As a result of the pilot project, the program is being implemented State-wide. The State Department of Education has requested presentations of this program to high school students throughout the State, stressing the rights and responsibilities of parenthood outside of marriage. The West Virginia Health Department, Maternal and Child Health division, has requested training for their staff throughout the State, as well as the informational booklets for their prenatal clinics. West Virginia's Hospital Association fully endorses this program and encourages hospitals to offer this service.
- Washington -- Since 1989, Washington law has required the attending physician, midwife, or the hospital to give the unwed father a chance to acknowledge paternity of the newborn. He is given 10 days to do so. For each signed and notarized affidavit, the support enforcement office provides $20 to the hospital unit. Before the paternity acknowledgement is signed, both parents are given information about the benefits and responsibilities of paternity, including the duty to support and support enforcement services. Washington has prepared several publications about establishing paternity. Included among them is a comic book--"Patman, Protector of children's Rights," and another booklet, "Paternity Information for Mothers...You Owe It to Your Child."
If the mother is married but the husband is not the natural father, the affidavit must be completed by all three to be valid. New parents who are under the age of 18 are also encouraged to sign the paternity consent.
- Michigan -- Using already enacted legislation, the Butterworth Hospital staff in Kent County, Michigan, attempts to obtain paternity affidavits for children born to unmarried mothers. This is done through voluntary acknowledgement. A strong working relationship between hospital staff and the local child support enforcement agency resulted in 500 paternity affidavits during a nine-month period. A hospital representative meets with the putative father and explains the advantages of establishing paternity. If he agrees to the affidavit acknowledging paternity, the affidavit is filed with the probate court.
Kent County's outreach efforts for hospital-based paternity establishment has included a training packet for hospital staff and brochures for doctors' offices and the schools.
In its observance of October as Child Support Month, Michigan developed two brochures and a packet of related materials. "Establishing Paternity...Doing What Is Best for Your Baby" was distributed to doctors, local public health departments, public schools, and department of social services waiting rooms. "What Every Parent Should Know about Establishing Paternity" is part of an information packet for birthing hospitals. It provides information to unwed parents regarding the rights, responsibilities, and implications of signing a paternity acknowledgement. The publications are also available in Spanish
- Texas -- A pilot project in Texas placed a full-time Attorney General staff person in Parkland Hospital in Dallas. The staff person was there to inform pregnant women about establishing paternity. The staff person advises of the importance of and the legal requirements of establishing paternity. The staff person conducts group meetings with women in the clinic. The staff person conducts individual interviews with the mothers and with alleged fathers. Texas has also prepared pamphlets on paternity establishment to be included with other informational material in OB/GYN and baby clinics.
- Virginia -- A joint venture between the Division of Child Support Enforcement and major maternity hospitals assists unwed mothers in establishing the paternity of their children. Under the State's Paternity Establishment Project (PEP) hospital staff explain the benefits of establishing paternity. Staff provide the mothers with applications for child support services and attempt to obtain sworn acknowledgement of paternity from the mother and the father of the child. The Division reimburses the hospitals $10 for each paternity established. From October 1990 to July 1992, the project established 1,009 paternities. While many of the mothers for whom paternity of her child is established are not IV-D clients at the time, results of a study indicate that a significant number of the mothers eventually become clients. Additional hospitals in the State are being incorporated into this project at a rate of approximately one every two months. As of July 1992, there were 11 participating hospitals.
At the participating hospitals, folders containing informational materials and the booklets, "Paternity and Mothers" and "Paternity and Fathers," are distributed to unmarried mothers shortly after the birth of the baby.
- Ohio -- State legislation has established a Statewide program for hospital-based paternity establishment. Legislation allows administrative procedures to establish paternity in the hospital. A staff person is available at the hospital to explain the benefits of paternity establishment and provide brochures on the subject. In the hospital, the father signs the birth certificate before two witnesses. The hospital is reimbursed for this service.
- District of Columbia -- Hospitals in the District of Columbia offer alleged fathers the opportunity to acknowledge paternity by signing an Acknowledgement of Parentage. Usually, the birth registrar notifies the alleged father of his rights and offers him the form. The hospital notarizes the form and sends it to Vital Records which in turn sends a copy to the Office of Paternity and Child Support Enforcement.
Publications about this service were prepared by the Office of Paternity and Child Support Enforcement. These publications are distributed at the hospitals. Office staff also speak about in-hospital paternity establishment at community forums.
- 149 Federally supported demonstration projects in New York City and Denver are testing various approaches to paternity establishment. The projects are testing both before and after birth paternity establishment in the hospital and in the clinic setting. The Denver project is providing paternity counseling at prenatal clinics at the Denver General Hospital. That project is also testing the use of extended hours of operation by the IV-D agency.
CHAPTER V: DIALING FOR DOLLARS
---TELEPHONE OUTREACH INNOVATIONS---
Many States have their automated voice response systems up to speed. This chapter touches on innovative ways the States are taking advantage of advanced telephone technology to effectively spread the word about the child support program. Although we mention only a few, most States are now taking advantage of communications technology to supply basic information, direct calls efficiently, and to allow improved use of staff time.
149 Iowa's 24 hour a day system was featured in the January-February 1992 Child Support Report. That article noted that Iowa's Collection Services Center in Des Moines is handling 50,000 calls a month for payment and program information. The Center's accounting staff (about 16 people) handles a variety of payment questions. Fourteen service staff handle general information questions. The Center processes about $400,000 a day in support payments.
Iowa's Automated Voice Response System (AVRS) has freed caseworkers to concentrate on establishment and enforcement activities that are case-specific: while customer service representatives handle about the same number of calls as they did previously (10,000-12,000 a month), with AVRS, staff can provide a great variety of complex information while AVRS handles an additional 35,000 to 40,000 calls for basic payment and program information.
Using three local phone lines in Des Moines and nine in-state WATS lines, callers can access payment information using their case numbers: if a payment has been made, how much and when. Under Iowa law, payment records are public records so privacy is not an issue. The issue does arise with information about the $50 pass-through and clients with active cases are assigned a PIN number. Also, obligors who pay by electronic funds transfer use a PIN number combined with the case number to transfer payment of child support from a bank account.
149Alaska, too, has a computerized telephone system - the KIDS line. It is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week and callers can receive current information about payments received, checks issued, and the amount of support that is owed. Callers can also record messages for caseworkers.
149 Washington also calls its telephone system "KIDS". By dialing in the case number and the last four digits ofhis/her social security number, a client can obtain immediate payment information. Non-custodial parents, too, can call in and receive information about their current balance and about the receipt of their most recent payment. Two minute scripts, giving basic information about the child support program, are available. And, clients can call throughout the 24 hour day and use the voice response system to leave questions for their caseworkers. They can call back the following day to receive a recorded answer.
149 Nebraska has a system of Easy Payment Services (EPS) for child support which uses electronic transfer of funds for child support payments. Payments are handled automatically and accurately without worries or hassles. The system also minimizes paperwork.
149 In an effort to "Reach out and Touch Someone" - those who need information about the child support enforcement program - 37 States have established a toll free telephone system and many advertise the number in brochures, public service announcements and on posters. Keeping pace with today's rapidly moving society, these States provide clients an effective and inexpensive way to learn about the child support program.
CHAPTER VI: MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS
---AN INDEX OF RESOURCES DEVELOPED BY STATES---
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS AND VIDEOS
I. FLORIDA -- "Let's Take Care of our Kids." Child Support: A Florida Public Information Campaign, 1990.
The Florida campaign takes a new approach by adopting a positive theme, "Let's take care of our kids." Their focus marks a change from the conventional, negative "Deadbeat Dads" - approach and emphasizes the advantages of voluntarily paying child support and the personal rewards that can be gained. The campaign included print, television and radio advertisements with messages geared toward custodial parents, non-custodial parents, and the general public.
149 "Supporting Dad." Television PSA, :30. The narrator is a father who pays child support. The "supporting dad" is seated in his living room, writing out a check. He states that although the check is made out to his ex-wife, with whom he doesn't get along, he always reminds himself that the money is actually for his daughter, whom he loves. "I'm still her father," he says. "And this is an important chance for me to do something for her." Then the visual cuts to a scene of the same father spending time with his daughter. Ends with 1-800 number to call for information.
149"Jeff." Television PSA, :30. This ad features a mother and grandmother sorting through boxes of old baby clothes. The mother pulls out a pair of old, ratty baby shoes and begins to recall a time when "Jeff" was a baby and child support was not coming in. "I still remember that number I called. 1-800..." she says. She talks about how helpful the staff were. "Now everything is better...for me, for his Dad, especially this little guy!" she says as a child, now five years old, runs in and jumps into her lap. Ends with 1-800 number.
149 "Let's Take Care of Our Kids." Television PSA, :30. The theme song of the campaign, an upbeat tune, introduces this ad. "Let's take care of our kids/They deserve a chance in life/Just like me and you"/etc. The visuals are of a variety of happy mother/child and father/child scenes. Ends with 1-800 number. This theme song is also used in a radio jingle, both by itself and in the following ad.
149 "Peer Pressure." Radio PSA. The lead in is the "Let's Take Care of Our Kids" theme song described above. A voice-overreminds us that "When parents pay, kids benefit....parents get a chance to participate in their kids' lives, etc." Ends with 1-800 number.
149 "Teen." Radio PSA. Teenage boys are talking about the reality of teenage pregnancy and child support and paternity laws. "You have to pay....The state can prove that you're the father....It makes you think about girls and sex differently....Take it from someone who learned the hard way. If you bring a child into the world, you cut your own childhood short....It's an 18-year commitment." Spot ends with voice-over providing 1-800 number for more information.
149 "Four Teens." Documentary Video, 10:15. This realistic, well-produced video features the teen pregnancy/child support stories of four teenagers. The introduction states that the following testimonies are based on true stories. The setting is an ordinary high school. Three teens tell the stories of how they got a woman pregnant and about the serious hardships that ensued. Their circumstances vary. One got his long-term girl-friend pregnant. One got a girl he just met at a party pregnant. One had to give up football to get an after-school job to pay child support. Another had to forego college. The final story is of a high schooler who decides not to have sex with his steady girlfriend because "he is not ready for an 18-year commitment." Details of the stringent paternity and child support laws are emphasized. "You will be held responsible.... It turns out I have to send her money every month for the next 18 years!"
II. TEXAS --
149 "Child Support: The Children Deserve It." 1984 Television PSA, 10:57. This ad outlines how to apply for child support enforcement services. It identifies what the child support office does and does not do and what information the custodial parent must provide and possible ways to obtain this information. It also explains the time frame it may take to work the case. Establishing paternity is discussed.
149 Park Scene - "You Owe It To Your Children," 1985 Television PSA, :30. A little girl talks about child support: children go without everyday. Children need more than love, they need support.
149 Waiting: Wage Assignment. 1985 Television PSA, :30. This ad features a group of workman discussing the easy way to pay child support: have it deducted from your paycheck. The attorney general tells the audience to call the local child support office to find out more.
149 Newspaper Announcement. 1985 Television PSA, :30. Thebackground is a park scene with kids playing and a hand-cuffed man being taken into a building. The message is pay child support. If you don't, your name will be listed in a newspaper announcement indicating that you owe child support.
149 Construction Area. 1985 Television PSA, :30. A member of a construction crew asks his supervisor why another member of the crew is missing. The supervisor tells his employee that the other man is in jail for not paying child support. They discuss how low someone is who doesn't pay child support.
149 Court Room Scene. 1985 Television PSA, :30. The Attorney General announces that if a non-custodial parent doesn't pay child support, the Texas child support office will attach his/her wages. The message is "Pay so you won't have to go to court or end up in jail."
149 "Warren Moon PSA." 1986 Television PSA, :30. This spot features Houston Oilers' star Warren Moon. Moon is on the sidelines of the football field with players scrimmaging in the background. His message is basic: "Pay your child support faithfully....your kids can't do it alone....A quarterback needs protection. So do kids. Don't neglect your kids." The same spot was adapted for use in Seattle, WA: A voice-over at the end says, "Washington State has free help, call 1-800..."
Illinois developed the following two longer-length videos directed primarily at custodial parents to stress the advantages of establishing paternity and pursuing child support payments.
149 "Every Child's Right," Undated Video, 15 minutes. This is a documentary encouraging the establishment of paternity. Several custodial mothers are featured telling their stories, which differ greatly with respect to circumstances. The visuals show the mothers and children going about their daily lives--in their homes, in their cars, and at work. One of the scenarios emphasizes the positive benefits of fathers developing a relationship with the child.
149 "Birthright," 1989 Video, 13 minutes, 30 seconds. Oprah Winfrey, the narrator, stresses that "morally, socially, and legally, every child has a birthright to child support." Statistics about single parenthood, paternity, and child support are given as well as personal testimonies. The Governor discusses the social importance of child support. The theme is generally a "get tough" legal one. "Illinois means business." No non-custodial parents are interviewed, but the positive benefits of establishing paternity, such asimprovements in father-child relationships, are mentioned.
149 "Jail House" Undated Television PSA :60. This ad shows a man being hand-cuffed and put into jail. The narrator says "You must pay child support. You can't miss a payment. There is no alternative - only Jail."
III. WASHINGTON --
149 "Draw Your Conclusion." 1990 video for teens, 15 min. This upbeat video uses a game-show format to present facts about paternity and child support laws. The contestants are high school students. The video is humorous, fast-paced, and light-hearted--until the final segment, which cuts away from the game show studio and shows one of the contestants at home, exhausted and harried, with a baby crying in the crib next to her and the phone ringing. It becomes clear that the game show portion of the video was a dream-turned-nightmare that this teen mother was having. The video is sobering and powerful.
IV. MICHIGAN --
149 "It Does Make A Difference." 1988 Television PSA, :30. This ad advises that there is help available if you have a child support problem and supplies the address of the local child support office.
V. CALIFORNIA --
149 "Paternity Helps Kids Grow Up" 1991 Television PSA, 12:10. Fresno County. The message is "Give your baby a chance - file for paternity before it's too late." The ad begins with a picture of a baby on a blanket and then being rocked by a father. The narrator says that the father may not stick around for long, so file for paternity. Several girls talk about their difficulties with supporting their babies by themselves. A young man indicates that babies deserve more and talks about what a child is entitled to: Establish Paternity. Ends with Fresno County telephone number.
VI. OCSE FEDERAL OFFICE --
149 ACF Region VI PSA, Dallas, Texas, 1990 Television PSA, :30. This spot uses a variety of still photos. The voice-over compares non-payment of support to child abuse. Ends solidly with "Divorce may create an ex-spouse, but it never creates an ex-child. Pay your child support."
149 ACF Region VII PSA, Kansas City, Missouri, Undated Television PSA :30, :60. In the longer spot, a young boy in a baseball uniform is walking in a ballpark with glove and ball in hand. The message is "Its hard to play some games without your Dad around, but kids make it anyway. Pay child support."
The second spot features Frank White of the Kansas City Royals. His message is "Get on the Ball. Pay your child support. Your kids need it."
149 ACF Region X PSA, Seattle, Washington, 1988 Television PSA, :30. A very small child is eating a sandwich. Suddenly a hand snatches the sandwich away. After the startled expression of the child is shown, the narrator says "Would you do this to a child? If you owe child support and don't pay - You do this every day."
149 "OCSE Reaches Out to the Community." Washington, D.C., 1992. 30 minutes. Staff members from OCSE and a representative of the Northern Virginia Regional Child Support Enforcement Office discuss child support issues and answer viewer questions in a talk-show format program that was aired on Arlington, Virginia community access cable. Most community cable networks provide public service time slots, so State and local child support agencies are encouraged to put together a similar program of their own.
There were several PSA's done at the time the Child Support Enforcement Amendments of 1984 were passed to gain public support of the new legislation. While the PSA's are old, the concept can be used in developing new PSA's.
149 "Waiting", Television PSA, :30 (English and Spanish). A child waiting for his dad to come for visitation. Other kids are encouraging him to go play and telling him that his dad is not going to show up. The little boy says, "Yes, he will" and then the father arrives. The message is that the child needs the non-custodial parent emotionally as well as financially.
149 "Home From School", Television PSA, :30. A teenager coming home from school states that she needs child support. Her message is send child support because "Kids are Worth Every Penny" and not because it is the law.
149 "Gone Skiing", Television PSA, :30. A teenage boy with his basketball uniform on is calling his dad, who has gone skiing. The boy puts a message on his dad's telephone recorder telling him that he has made the basketball team and needs new shoes - Please pay your child support.
149 "Mom's Helper", Television PSA, :30. A girl is with her mother in the kitchen unloading groceries. The girl talks about the new laws that have been passed. The mother then adds that you should pay child support because "Kids are Worth Every Penny."
Public Affairs/Outreach Contacts for PSAs:
Florida: Chris Carpenter (904) 488-9900
Texas: Toni Gardner (512) 463-2181 Ext. 2212
Illinois: Connie Gore (217) 782-3458
Washington: Sue Bailey (206) 586-3312
Michigan: Jean Becker (517) 335-6104
California: Marie Coughlin (916) 654-1217
Region VI: Tomasia Pinter (214) 767-8079
Region VII: Harvey Leroux (816) 426-3584
Region X: Vince Herberholt (206) 553-0943
Central Office: Michelle Jefferson (202) 401-9373
BROCHURES AND PAMPHLETS
"Child Support. A Child's Right. A Parent's Responsibility" answers questions that are asked most often about the services of the program.
"Paternity Establishment. Information for Parents" explains why establishing paternity early is important, not only to the child but to the parents as well.
"Income Withholding Orders. Information for Employers" answers questions that employers are likely to ask about their responsibilities under Federal law.
"KIDS" -- A 24 Hour Telephone Voice Response System explains how to use the computerized telephone system to inquire about the services available through the program and enables clients to make inquiries about their case 24 hours a day.
"KIDS. THEY'RE WORTH EVERY PENNY. Handbook on Child Support Enforcement," a "user friendly" booklet, explains how the program operates and answers questions about the child support program. The booklet is also printed in Spanish.
"Child Support Enforcement Services (for AFDC Clients)" encourages AFDC recipients to cooperate with child support offices by letting them know that they can receive up to $50 each month that current support is collected.
"Child Support Enforcement Services (for Non-Welfare Clients)" informs non-welfare clients about their rights to collect child support. It also lists a fee schedule and identifies specific costs for services. A list of all of the State's child support offices is provided.
"Child Support Information Handbook," a handsome "user friendly" handbook, is written to help families understand the processes and the proper procedures for collecting and paying child and spousal support.
"Working With You For The Children." Riverside County provides this informative booklet to help parents understand the requirements and procedures for collecting or meeting a child and spousal support obligation. The booklet is also written in Spanish.
"Paternity Information for Fathers...YOU OWE IT TO YOUR CHILD" uses a question and answer format to explain paternity establishment and child support obligations to new fathers. It also lists addresses and phone numbers for all local CSE offices.
"Paternity Information for Mothers...YOU OWE IT TO YOUR CHILD" is the same as above for new mothers.
"Colorado Child Support Enforcement," an attractive flyer with photos of children, supplies answers to questions that are asked about child support services and lists telephone numbers of local CSE offices.
"Colorado Wage Withholding and Wage Garnishment for Child Support: An Employer's Guide," an informative and detailed booklet, answers questions that employers are likely to ask about their responsibilities under the
Child Support Enforcement Amendments of 1984.
"Yes, Your Baby Has A Daddy. Help for Single Teen Mothers." This informative, indepth handbook provides a wealth of knowledge for teen mothers and others. It is valuable to anyone who is concerned with the issues of paternity, child support, or visitation. It is written in question and answer format.
"Delaware's Small Wonders--Our Children--Need Love and Child Support" is "user friendly" and supplies custodial parents with information about services that are provided by the CSE program.
"Are Your Children Getting All The Child Support They Deserve?" This easy to read brochure informs parents that under the Family Support Act of 1988, child support orders are to be periodically reviewed. Orders can increase or decrease (or not change) depending on the circumstances of the case.
"Tax Refund Intercept Program," an easy to read brochure, lets custodial parents know that if an obligated parent is behind in child support payments it may be possible to have that parent's State or Federal income tax refund intercepted to fulfill the obligation.
"Establishing Paternity." Another easy to read brochure explains the process of paternity establishment and benefits to all parties concerned (the child, the father and the mother) when this process is completed soon after birth.
"Behind on Your Child Support Payments?...It May Ruin Your Credit Rating!" This brochure warns non-custodial parents that overdue child support payments may be reported to credit bureaus and that they run the risk of having their credit rating ruined.
"Employers Information. Immediate Wage Withholding of Child Support Payments"is written in question and answer format and lets employers know that State and Federal law mandate that they must withhold income from employees whenever they receive a copy of an order for income withholding.
--DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA--
"Every Child Deserves Support", a colorful, "user friendly" brochure, shows the sad face of a little girl
and describes the services that are offered to both welfare and non-welfare families who are not receiving financial support from the other parent.
What If the Absent Parent of My Child Lives Outside of the District of Columbia." This leaflet has pictures of children and tells what procedures are used to collect support from non-custodial parents who live in a different State than the custodial parent.
--DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA cont.--
"Paternity Information for Fathers" is an easy to read brochure in question and answer format. It explains to fathers why establishing paternity is important. It lets them know that both parents have a legal obligation to support their children.
"Paternity Information for Mothers" is basically the same.
"Child Support. Let's Take Care of Our Kids" pictures a mother and child on the cover. It tells custodial parents that the child support office can help locate missing parents, determine paternity, if necessary, and establish and enforce medical and financial support orders. Also in Spanish.
"Looking Beyond Teenage Pregnancy" is in newspaper comic format and geared toward teenagers. Teenagers, both male and female, ask questions about their particular circumstances. Telephone numbers and addresses of all local child support offices in the State are listed. A number of other States have adopted the same publication.
"Some Parents Think They Have Good Reason Not to Pay Child Support" shows two little boys standing outside a closed Welfare Department door waiting for their mother. It lets people know that when parents refuse to help support their children, the burden is left to the taxpayers.
"Child Support. Let's Take Care of Our Kids", a colorful brochure with photos of a mother and child, explains to custodial parents how the program helps establish and enforce orders to collect child support. Included is information about obtaining medical insurance for children.
"Child Support Enforcement Program" gives a brief overview of the child support enforcement program to anyone caring for a child and needing help in establishing a support order or collecting child support payments from a responsible relative.
"Child Support Enforcement Services -- NON-AFDC" explains, in an easy to read style, the child support program. It answers questions that are commonly asked about a custodial parent's right to receive child support payments.
"Sex! What Comes Next Guys?" Indiana's bright brochure showing a picture of a crying baby is written for young men. It says that, by law, both parents of a child share the responsibility of supporting that child, and that the father will be required to pay a percentage of his income for child support for the next 18 or 21 years.
"Parents Are Responsible for the Support of Their Children." This brochure, with a picture of two little girls sitting in the grass, is very informative. It explains that both parents share in the responsibility for their child's growth, care and education and that the failure of a parent to pay legally ordered child support deprives the children of the opportunities in life they deserve.
"Child Support Enforcement. General Information." This "user friendly" brochure gives details on the services of the child support recovery program. It tells who is eligible for services, whether there is a fee, where to go for help, and what are the applicant's responsibilities.
"Child Support Enforcement. Establishing the Support Order" briefly explains what steps the child support recovery unit takes to establish a support order, emphasizing the importance of locating the non-custodial parent.
"Child Support Enforcement. What if...The non-custodial parent lives in another State?" This brochure, in question and answer format, explains that State enforcement agencies must cooperate with each other in handling requests for assistance. The brochure also lets the reader know that, when an action is referred to another State, Iowa becomes subject to the laws and time frames of the other State.
"Medical Support Enforcement" is an easy to follow brochure which explains that it may be possible to have an existing child support order modified to include health insurance coverage. It also explains that, if health insurance is available through the non-custodial parent's employer and that parent does not follow the court order, the order can be forwarded directly to the employer to have the children enrolled.
"Child Support Audio Response System. 24-Hour Toll-Free Information", a "user friendly" brochure, discusses Iowa's audio response system. Clients, using an assigned PIN and account number, can call the collection services center any time, day or night, to find out current child support information.
"Procedures for the Review and Adjustment of Child Support Obligations." This handbook, geared toward both parents, discusses periodic review of support orders to bring child support orders into conformity with mandated guidelines.
"Notice of Rights and Responsibilities in Paternity Establishment", a fact sheet, is sent to alleged fathers to explain how the process of establishing paternity works, step-by-step, and to let them know what their rights are.
"What is Child Support? Helping Kids is Our Business." This colorful brochure, picturing a mother holding her child, lets Kentucky's custodial parents know what services are available to them as they try to obtain financial and medical support.
"You Owe it to Your Kids." This brochure lets parents know that all children have a legal right to the financial support of both parents, regardless of whether the parents are separated, divorced, or were never married. It also lets parents know that the CSE program will help children receive their rightful support from non-custodial parents.
"Child Support Handbook for Non-AFDC Applicants. Helping Kids is Our Business" depicts a mother and child and briefs non-AFDC clients about the services that are available to them and tells them what forms and documents they must provide when they apply for services.
"Becoming A Teenage Father Is No Joke." This pocket size brochure aimed at teenage boys provides an abbreviated overview of the legal and financial implications of fathering a child and encourages them to "avoid the enforcement of paternity laws" by preventing teenage pregnancy. The brochure lists the telephone number for tape-recorded information on how to prevent pregnancy.
"Hi Dad. Answers To Your Questions About A Father's Rights and Responsibilities In the State of Maine" shows a photo of a father and his children and defines what paternity is and why it is important to identify the father legally. It also explains the rights of parents and children.
"Child Support...It Works For Your Children" shows a photo of a little boy on the cover and lets parents know that the care and support of children is a joint responsibility that both parents should share. It also tells what services are available and lets custodial parents know what information they can provide to aid the child support agency in locating the non-custodial parent.
"Who's My Daddy?" This delightful pamphlet is filled with photos of babies, with cute captions, asking questions of their daddies. The pamphlet lets fathers know that they are very important in their child's life.
"Michigan Child Support Services and you!" was provided in three different formats. They describe child support services available in Michigan and provide information about getting, enforcing, and changing a child support order; custody and visitation; establishing paternity; locating absent parents; child support services in other states; child support guidelines; and how AFDC and child support work together.
"Partnership for Children: An Employer's Guide to Income Withholding" is an easy-to-follow guide for employers and others who pay income to people required by law to pay support. It is a brief summary of employer responsibilities under current law.
"Tax Refund Offset Program" outlines the State's tax offset program.
Doing What's Best For Your
Baby," explains to parents why it is essential to have paternity established as soon after the birth of their child as possible. The brochure is also written in Spanish.
"What Every Parent Should Know About Establishing Paternity" explains to parents that they both have the right to a parent-child relationship. Both parents and the child deserve an opportunity to develop, enjoy, and grow in this relationship. This publication is also available in Spanish.
"KIDS: They're Worth Every
Penny. Not All Kids Get Their Legally Mandated Child Support" explains what the child support enforcement program is all about. It tells who is eligible to receive child support enforcement services and it lists some of the ways that support is collected.
"You Can't Miss With....EPS (Easy Payment Services) for Child Support." This series of pamphlets is about the electronic transfer of funds for child support payments. Designed to tell non-custodial parents that payments can made automatically and accurately, and with a minimum of paperwork, it is also helpful to employers.
"Behind On Your Child Support Payments? It May Ruin Your Credit Rating." Clark County, Nevada, published this brochure to tell obligated parents that, if they fall behind in their support payments by $1000, their names will be reported to credit bureaus. If this happens they may be denied loans and prevented from being issued credit cards or purchasing items on credit.
"So You Are A Teenage Father. Now What?" provides answers to questions most commonly asked by teens who have just become fathers or are about to. It addresses the
rights and responsibilities of fathers.
"So You Are A Teen Mother. Now What?" is the same as the previous one, but is targeted to teen mothers or mothers-to-be. Both of these are also available in Spanish.
"Child Support. You Owe It To Your Kids." This handbook, shows photos of some cute kids and explains how the program can assist families in obtaining court orders and collecting support payments. It lists addresses and telephone numbers of county child support offices.
"About Collecting Child Support." New Mexico has written a handbook with drawings of family situations and information about the different services that the child support enforcement program offers.
"Guys, thinking about sex? Worried about a baby? Read on to learn about your RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES if you become a FATHER!" This brochure, in cartoon design and geared toward teenage males, informs them that, if they become fathers, they are legally responsible to help support the child for 18 years.
"Child Support Enforcement Program of North Carolina." North Carolina has a series of three brochures to publicize their services. All of them are written in question and answer format. One brochure provides general information about the program. One explains the procedures that are used to distribute support payments. And the last informs employers about their role in collecting child support from employees who are obligated to pay.
"SEX Is A Three-Letter Word. What Four-Letter Word Comes Next?... BABY", targeted to boys and men, informs them that if they are legally declared the father of a child, it is their responsibility to support that child for the next 18 to 21 years of life.
"I'm Single, I'm Pregnant...Now What?" This brochure provides answers to legal questions asked by unwed mothers-to-be. It explains some of the possibilities that they might consider when they find out that they are pregnant.
"Child Support...A Legal Obligation" explains that, when an obligated parent does not support a child, North Dakota can help by locating that parent, establishing and enforcing child support payments, and establishing paternity when necessary.
"Richland County Child Support Enforcement Agency" explains what the agency can do to assure that the non-custodial parent pays child support. It also tells what actions require the services of an attorney that the agency cannot assist custodial parents with.
"Children. Child Support Enforcement Handbook" shows a photo of a little boy in a baseball cap, identifies the services provided by the agency, and gives information about what the custodial parent can do to help the agency collect the support.
"Child Support In South Carolina. Facts Parents Should Know" is targeted at both non-custodial and custodial parents and outlines what each can expect from the child support enforcement process.
"Welcome to Child Support: What You Should Know" was developed for AFDC recipients and explains how the child support process works for them. It also explains the $50 disregard payment to which they may be entitled.
"South Carolina Employers Guide for Wage Withholding" was produced to familiarize employers with the income withholding laws required by the 1984 CSE Amendments, and it also includes answers to many questions that employers may have. It outlines the responsibilities and benefits of income withholding.
"What to Expect." This fact sheet is given to all non-AFDC applicants. It outlines the child support process and informs the client of the actions than can be taken to secure child support. It has helped reduce general inquiry calls.
"Child Support. Your Rights and Responsibilities" was written in question and answer format to inform both the custodial and non-custodial parent of their rights and responsibilities in child support matters.
--SOUTH DAKOTA cont.--
"Teen Parents. A Guide to Establishing Paternity and Financial Support For Your Child" explains to young parents what rights and responsibilities they have for the child. It explains what paternity is and how the process of establishing paternity works.
"Tennessee Child Support Handbook. Kids Need Love and Child $upport" is written as a general guide to help families understand the process and procedures for collection and payment of child support. Listed in the back of the booklet are the addresses and telephone numbers of all county child support offices.
"You Can't Get Child Support? Take Heart! Maybe T.R.I.P. (Tax Refund Intercept Program) Can Help You." This brochure explains to custodial parents that, if the other parent is behind in child support payments, it may be possible to have his/her income tax refund intercepted to pay overdue child support.
"If You Are An Unmarried Parent...Protect Your Child's Rights!" In English and Spanish. This brochure explains to parents their basic rights and their responsibilities to their child. It explains why establishing paternity early is important. The version that is used in Dallas' Parkland Hospital lists a telephone number for an in-house paternity worker: the father can establish paternity while the mother and his baby are still in the hospital.
"Child Support Enforcement Services Available to You," an attractive brochure, explains that full child support enforcement services and locate only services are available through the Attorney General's office. It explains each service.
"Does Your Baby Have A Legal Daddy?" This flyer explains to parents that, when they establish paternity to give the baby a legal father, the child gains many benefits including the right to financial support from both parents.
"Paternity and Fathers. You Owe It To You Child." This "user friendly" handbook is written for fathers and was compiled to answer questions most frequently asked about the importance of paternity establishment and about the child support services that are offered.
"Paternity and Mothers. You Owe It To Your Child" is basically the same handbook written for mothers. Both handbooks are also written in Spanish.
"Children Need The Support Of Parents" explains to custodial parents how the program works and tells how they can help to get the support owed to their children.
"Rights and Responsibilities Handbook for Custodial Parents"
tells what services the program offers and explains the rights and responsibilities of clients who apply for their services.
"How Can You Receive $50 More Each Month?" This eye-catching leaflet is printed on green paper and has a picture of a $50 bill inside. It explains to AFDC parents that, by cooperating with the child support division and providing as much information as possible about the non-custodial parent, they could receive up to an extra $50 each month that current support is collected.
"What Every Teenager Needs to Know About Paternity and Child Support" explains to teenagers what paternity is and lets them know that, if they become parents, they
will have many obligations toward their child. It tells them that their responsibilities include helping to provide food, clothing, a place to live, education, medical care, discipline, and love. This pamphlet is also reproduced in Spanish.
"Paternity and Child Support: Information Guide for Parents With Teens" gives the parents of teenagers statistical facts about teen pregnancy, parenting and child support. It encourages parents to talk to their teenagers about these facts and offers suggestions about questions to ask.
"Paternity Information for Mothers...YOU OWE IT TO YOUR CHILD" explains to young unwed mothers why it is important to have paternity established. It tells them that they have the right to get help and financial support from the father in raising the child(ren). It also lets young mothers know that the child has the right to the sense of belonging that comes from knowing both parents.
"Paternity...Establishment, Rights, and Responsibilities. PATMAN-
Protector of Children's Rights" is in comic book format and features Patman, Super Hero. It explains to young unwed parents that, unless they have paternity established, their child(ren) may not have enough --WASHINGTON cont.--
money for their needs, they will not be able to claim benefits through social security or medical insurance, or be entitled to inheritance rights. Children also have a right to know if they have inherited any special health problems. The comic book has a section of questions written to Patman about establishing paternity with his responses.
"Paternity and Fathers" is "user friendly" and provides answers to questions most frequently asked by young fathers about the importance of paternity establishment and their responsibilities to the child.
"Paternity and Mothers", is
basically the same as above.
"Child Advocate Office" informs custodial parents what services are available to help collect child support from the parent who is not contributing to that child's care.
"Paternity and Fathers" explains to fathers that they and their children have the right to a parent-child relationship. It also explains what the father's responsibilities are to the child and why it is important to have paternity established.
"Wisconsin's Child Support Program" is an easy-to-read handbook designed to give clear, concise information on the child support program. It is written in question and answer format and was developed to let parents know that they both have a responsibility to contribute to the support of their children, and that the program helps ensure that the children receive the financial support to which they are entitled.
"PATERNITY...Protect Your Child and Yourself. What Fathers Need to Know" gives fathers answers to questions most frequently asked about paternity establishment. It tells them what their rights are
and also what rights the child has.
"PATERNITY...Protect Your Child and Yourself. What Mothers Need to Know" is basically the same as above.
"Child Support. A Responsibility You Can't Afford to Ignore" gives important facts about parents' rights and responsibilities in Wisconsin's child support program.
"Grandparent Liability" explains that both maternal and paternal grandparents of a child born to teenage parents are legally responsible for contributing to the support of the grandchild.
"Child Support: A Living Legacy" lets custodial parents know that if they are single, divorced, or separated and are having problems collecting child support, Wyoming's CSE services can help. The guide explains the steps to take to start the collection process and what to expect.
"Collecting Child Support Across State Lines" is a guide for custodial parents who want to establish, modify, or enforce a child support order of a parent who lives in another State.
"Your Check Is In The Mail." This colorful poster, displaying a $50 check with pictures of children waiting at the mailbox beneath it, conveys to parents who receive AFDC payments that if they help their caseworkers locate the parent who should be paying child support, they could add up to $50 extra a month to their welfare check.
Alabama also published a flyer, "Child Support Hotline" which includes a toll free telephone number for AFDC clients who have questions about their child support disregard checks.
"Not Getting Child Support? Need Help?" Arkansas has two posters printed in black and white. One shows two little boys fixing a bicycle and the other shows a baby sitting on the floor in front of piles of folded diapers. Both have the caption, need help? The posters let custodial parents know that if they need help in finding their children's father, establishing paternity, getting or enforcing an order for child support, the child support enforcement unit may be able to help them.
"You Owe It To Your Kids. Child Support. Don't Turn Your Back On Your Kids." Two posters, both with colorful drawings of children, inform custodial parents that child support enforcement services are available to them whether or not they receive AFDC.
"You Owe It To Your Kids. Please Pay Your Child Support." This black and white poster with a drawing of two bright eyed children urges non-custodial parents to pay their child support.
"Life Is Better When You're In The Picture. Parents Who Care Pay Child Support." This bright and colorful poster shows a father at his desk writing out his child support check. Beside him is a portrait of him with his child.
"Let's Take Care of Our Kids. Child Support." This poster, depicting a collage of family life activities, informs all parents, that children need more than just financial support. Kids need to know that both parents care enough to share in their lives.
"Child Support. It Can Mean A Better Future for Everyone." This colorful poster features cameos of mothers and fathers interacting with children. Again, the message conveyed is that kids need to have both parents in their lives, both financially and emotionally.
"Let's Take Care of Our Kids. Child Support." This poster, showing a father walking along holding onto his baby's hands, is intended to encourage fathers to support their children, both financially and emotionally. It lists a toll free telephone number.
"Separated/Divorced?" This flyer, which lists a toll-free telephone number, alerts custodial parents that, if they are experiencing problems with collecting child support, help is just a telephone call away.
"Child Support...Make It Work For Your Children." This poster shows a picture, done in black and white, of a child being hugged by his mother. The poster lists the addresses and toll-free telephone numbers of local child support offices in the State. It lets custodial parents know that there is help available for collecting child support.
"A Baby Costs $474 A Month...How Much Do You Have In Your Pocket?"
This poster from Maryland's "Campaign
For Our Children" collection, is geared toward teenage boys. It shows a teenager holding a baby and reads, "Babies are expensive. The law states a father is financially responsible for his child until the age of 18. If you don't help, the court will find you and make you pay child support, even if you're not married. So, before you decide to have sex, see if you have a spare $100,000. Child Support. You Play. You Pay."
"It's Amazing How Many Guys Disappear When One Of These Shows Up." Another from Maryland's collection, directed to young men, shows the face of a beautiful bright eyed baby and reads, "Every year thousands of men do something really childish. They make a baby and then run away from their responsibility leaving the mother and their child to face the world alone. It's simple. Unless you're ready to take care of a baby, you're not ready to have sex. Be a man. Be responsible."
"What Do You Call A Guy Who Makes A Baby And Flies The Coop?" Another poster, geared to teen fathers, shows a rooster wearing slouch socks and a pair of hightops, and reads, "A chicken. What else?... A real man takes responsibility for his actions. If a man gets a girl pregnant he has to do the right thing. He doesn't cut and run. Unless you're ready to take care of a baby, you're not ready to have sex. Be a man. Be responsible.
"Abstinence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder. You Can Go Farther When You Don't Go All The Way." The last poster in Maryland's collection, shows a picture of a teen-age couple. It tries to relay to teens respect for abstinence.
**Minnesota's Billboard Campaign**
To educate Minnesotans that non-payment of child support is harmful to children and a burden on taxpayers, this billboard, located throughout the State, read: "Q: Who suffers when parents do not pay child support? A: Children and taxpayers." The words "child support" were in hot neon pink.
"Need Help Getting Child Support?" This poster informs custodial parents that help is available to collect child support if they call the toll-free telephone number that is listed.
"If This Is Your Baby, We Can Prove It!"
This colorful poster, which features pictures of four happy babies, is geared to potential fathers. It reads, "Did you know blood tests can determine the father? You may be required by law to pay child support." It lets the father
know that there are ways to prove paternity, even if they deny the fact.
"Guys! Unwanted Pregnancy Can Mean Buying These Wheels Before These."
This poster shows a young father
pushing a baby in a stroller and, at the side, a new and shining car. The message to young fathers is that fatherhood means responsibilities, and that sometimes parents have toput their wants/needs aside in order to provide necessities for their children.
"Support Their Future. Child Support
Pays". This poster shows two hands
raised in the air holding a heart, and
inside the heart, the words "child support pays." It tells parents to make their child support the key that unlocks the door to their child's future.
"Child Support. You Owe It To Your
Kids." This bright and colorful poster
shows a group of children in their new
school clothes and holding their new
school supplies. It suggests to non-custodial parents that getting children ready for the school year costs a lot of money and that, if they owe child support, they should find a way to pay it because they owe it to their
"Child Support: It's a Family Responsibility." This colorful poster show three generations of a family: the baby, the teenage parents, and both the maternal and paternal grandparents. Wisconsin's "grandparent liability law" requires both the maternal and paternal grandparents of a child born to teenage parents to assume responsibility for contributing to the support of the grandchild.
"Support Comes in Many Different Packages." This poster shows a child,
dressed in pajamas, looking out of the
window at the falling snow. On the
floor is a package with a big red bow tied around it. At the bottom of the poster, it tells anyone who requires information on how to obtain or collect child support to contact the county child support agency.
REACHING OUT ON HOLIDAYS
--DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA --
The Mayor of the District of
Columbia sent this greeting
card to all alleged fathers at
Christmastime. It persuades
fathers to have paternity
established by telling them that
every child deserves to know his
mother and father and that,
during holidays, the desire to
belong becomes even more acute.
It encourages them to give their
child the greatest Gift of all ....
The State of Tennessee also sent out
greeting cards to non-custodial
parents at Christmastime. The
greeting cards encouraged non-
custodial parents to have their
support payments deducted from
their paychecks by wage assign-
ment. The cards let the parents
know that, through regular
support, dreams can become a
reality and that their payments
to their children are their
GOOD IDEAS NEVER GROW OLD
A few miscellaneous ideas that are too good to leave out:
A public service announcement on available child support services was advertised on the placemats of a fast-food restaurant chain in Wichita.
Oregon discovered that a great way to provide information to the general public -- particularly those parents who are hard to reach and living in rural areas -- is to set up an information booth on available child support services at State or County Fairs.
The Governor's office sponsors a one-day fair which is designed to foster support for children's programs in the State. An OCSE booth is set up at this annual event to distribute brochures and applications and to answer general information questions regarding child support issues.
Each year the Department of Human Services have the message "Support Your Child" lighted up in the window of a prominent office building in downtown Nashville.
During Child Support Week, which starts on Father's Day, a half-page ad is printed in one of the largest newspapers thanking non-custodial parents that pay their child support, and encouraging others to comply.
Two successful campaign efforts, both of which are highly visible and take the message directly to the people, are billboards and transit buses that advertise the child support program.
STATE OUTREACH CONTACT PERSONS
Alabama - Chris Kendall (205) 242-9300
Alaska - Teri D. Mahaney (907) 263-6270
Arizona - Kris Baier (602) 252-0236
Arkansas - Donna Henderson (501) 682-8708
California - Marie Coughlin (916) 654-1217
Riverside - John Replogle (714) 275-4100
Sacramento - Carol Oliveira
Colorado - Diane E. Young (303) 866-5700
Delaware - Joann McCarthy (302) 577-4800
Columbia - Evelyn Scott (202) 727-5061
Florida - Chris Carpenter (904) 488-9900
Georgia - Celia Boswell (404) 894-5839
Idaho - Michelle Pisarski (208) 334-5751
Illinois - John Knight (217) 524-4553
Indiana - Michael Gotsch (219) 284-9786
Iowa - Jim Hennessey (515) 282-5767
Kentucky - Vicki Hardin (502) 564-2285 ext. 467
Maine - Don Gannon (207) 287-2886
Michigan - Jean K. Becker (517) 335-6104
Minnesota - Karen Smigielski (612) 296-3695
Montana - Robert P. Wallace (406) 444-1370
Nebraska - John Norton (402) 471-3121
Clark - Larry Villnow (702) 455-4755
New Jersey - Joe Travea (609) 588-2356
New Mexico - Ben Silva (505) 827-7200
North Carolina - Lillian Overton (919) 571-4120
North Dakota - Tom Siems (701) 224-3582
Richland - Mary Ann Nore (419) 526-2732
Oklahoma - Elaine Hudson (405) 424-5871
South Carolina - Donna Strom (803) 737-5875
South Dakota - Louise Schoenhard (605) 773-3641
Tennessee - Elaine Rand (615) 741-7922
Texas - Rita L.B. Parson (512) 463-2181 ext. 2200
Virginia - Cindy Clayton (804) 662-9663
Washington - Roberto Swain (206) 389-2511
West Virginia - Gary Kreps (304) 636-3700
Wisconsin - Wanda Nelson
Wyoming - Clark Corbridge (307) 777-7561
CHAPTER VII: LINKAGES
---COORDINATING WITH OTHER HUMAN SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS---
We want to encourage State and local Child Support Enforcement offices to reach out to other service agencies to let them know what services are available through the Program. It is clear that a single agency cannot meet all of the needs of families who are struggling to raise children while faced with inadequate financial, social and emotional resources.
149 Missouri is in the process of pursuing the "Linking Hands" program with Head Start. They have made their initial contacts and are beginning to network with various Head Start agencies throughout the State. They are also in the process of contacting Job Corps, WIC, and the Well Baby Clinics. Missouri plans to furnish informational material and to offer speakers to those groups.
149 We would be very interested in hearing about connections that are being made at the State and local levels by others.
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has spent a considerable amount of time coordinating and forming linkages with our various programs. We are also reaching out to other government agencies. Doing so allows a holistic approach to family well-being and gives people added resources as they work towards self-sufficiency. Our Regional Offices have been working to connect child support enforcement personnel in their States with their Head Start grantees, and with staffs in other government offices to encourage, at the very least, sharing of information about their various programs.
149 Both in our Washington, D.C. Office and in the Regional Offices, Administration for Children and Families Child Support Enforcement staff have concentrated on coordinating with Head Start to provide information about the child support program and to encourage Head Start grantees to provide information to their clients about establishing paternity and child support orders for their young children. In July of 1991, Central Office (DC) wrote to all of the Head Start grantees, encouraging CSE/Head Start interaction, and enclosing our Handbook on Child Support Enforcement.
149 Even before this, our New York Regional Office had contacted Head Start offices in that Region to make them aware of the child support program as they worked to develop support systems for their clients. That letter also provided the addresses and telephone numbers of the State, and their local, CSE offices. Staff have followed up by attending Head Start, Social Services and Parent Involvement staff training sessions.
149 The Dallas Regional Office (RO VI) has provided Head Start grantees throughout the Region with contacts in their States who can provide information and materials and speak at Head Start meetings and conferences. In addition, they are developing, in conjunction with Head Start, a brief, voluntary questionnaire to collect information from Head Start clients about whether they are receiving child support services and, if not, the reason that they are not.
149 With Head Start and Child Support now in the same Agency, information isflowing smoothly both in Central Office and the Regional Offices. We encourage State and local CSE offices to reach out to their Head Start agencies: a child support component can bring both financial and emotional support to children living with only one of their biological parents.
149 Our Chicago Regional Office (RO V) is providing information about child support to clients of the WIC Program. Working with the Midwest Regional Director of the Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), RO V has initiated a public awareness program which tells WIC clients about the availability of child support enforcement services. Since the outreach was initiated, RO V has distributed 1500 copies of the Handbook of Child Support Enforcement to 700 WIC sites in the Region. They have distributed over 10,000 fact sheets. Recently Ohio requested additional Handbooks to expand placement of Handbooks to all locations of its State Health Agencies.
WIC's proposed regulation to implement P.L. 101-624 requires that written information about CSE and other ACF programs be provided at least once to each applicant or participant in the WIC program. Their requirement is met when the CSE office provides clients with basic information about the program and where to go to obtain it, and the CSE office can be sure that the information disseminated is accurate. FFP is available for providing information about the availability of IV-D Services.
149 The Federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has joined forces with OCSE Central Office to launch a major educational effort to ensure that Federally-employed custodial parents know about services that are available through the CSE Program. With OPM's enthusiastic support, we have provided a CSE program briefing for the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) representatives who manage counseling services for federal employees. OPM also offered to distribute CSE program information to Federal personnel offices across the country, and to include CSE information in their training course for EAP agency staff. We have held several seminars on how to collect child support for Washington-based Health and Human Services employees and have made a training tape that has been distributed to Regional Offices to facilitate outreach in other areas of the country.
DANCES WITH LYNX
In order to explain how something works, it is necessary to understand it. We needed to explore our own links here in ACF before we tried to convince State and local CSE offices of the value of linkages. So, to help our people visualize how the various components of the newly created Administration for Children and Families can really relate to help with family self-sufficiency, and to touch on the problems we tend to have with tunnel vision--focusing only on our own roles--we developed this skit. "Dances with Lynx" has been presented to our own Administration of Children and Families (ACF) Offices here in Washington, DC, and at our ACF Regional Conference in July. We had a good time with it -perhaps you can, too.
DANCES WITH LYNX
(AFDC Intake Office)
Yes? Can I help you?
I hope so. I've been all over this building trying to find someone who can. I'm desperate. I haven't had any money coming in for two months and I'm just about to lose my apartment. I've got a teenager and two little kids to worry about (May, you get over here!). We don't have money for food, the babies are sick and I need help!
You want to apply for AFDC and Food Stamps?
Yes, Ma'am. I've never been on welfare before, but my ex-husband isn't paying me anything for my 16-year old, and now the 2-year old's father is out of work. (May, stop that!) I can't let my kids lose their home or go hungry!
OK. You fill out this application and I'll get a caseworker to go over it with you. You can use that table over there. If you have questions, your caseworker will answer them.
(Time passes. Person with fast-moving clock.)
Ms. Evening - writes - takes form to desk
What do I do here? (pointing at form) - My daughter is 16 and she has a baby. Do I put both of them on my application or does she have to apply separately for her and her baby?
I'm not sure. Go ahead and list your children and ask the caseworker about your daughter's baby.
What do they want to know all this stuff for? The kids ages, social security numbers, father's description - how many years school I had! Look - I thought welfare was to keep my kids from going hungry. Well, they're hungry and we need money. We need food and we need to keep our home.
Those are questions that the Child Support Enforcement and JOBs people want us to ask. Don't worry - just answer what you can.
(goes back and writes - time passes)
That's all I know. What do I do now?
I'll see if Ms. Knight is free.
(Calls.) Ms. Knight? I have a Janet Evening here at the desk. She's applying for AFDC. Can you see her? Ten minutes? Thanks - I'll tell her.
(to Ms. Evening) She'll be with you shortly. Why don't you sit down over there - there are some brochures about child support and the JOBS program - or, if you want to look at some books with your daughter, they're over on that little table.
(phone rings) Human Services. Oh yes, Ms. Knight, I'll send her on in.
(to Ms. Evening) You can go in now - the third office on the left.
Janet Evening? Hi. I'm Ann Knight. Please sit down. AFDC and Food Stamps, right? I see from your form that you have two children - a 16-year old and a 2-year old. You're not working and you have no income?
That's right, and the 16 year old, April, has a baby boy. I wanted to ask if she should apply for welfare too, or can they all be on my application?
Since April is only 16 both she and her baby should be on your application. You are what we call the "caretaker relative" of all three children.
Ms. Evening (looking at application)
These questions! They ask your life history don't they?
Most of this is for getting child support. They do have to try....
Now, you got divorced from April's father 5 years ago. Is that right?
Yes. Sam left town right after. He was supposed to pay $100 a week child support for April and for 2 years we haven't even known where he is, let alone seen any money. April really misses him - especially since she had her baby.
That's a shame! So he owes you some child support? You know that when you apply for AFDC, you have to sign your child support over to the State. The child support people will try to get him to pay and anything they get, except for the first $50 each month, will go to pay back your welfare grant.
That bum! He doesn't plan on paying anything. If they want to go after him that's fine with me!
Well, anyway, child support's not the problem. We need to get your welfare checks coming.
Where's the father of May, the 2-year old? Is he living with you?
He did until the company he worked for failed. Then he felt so bad about not having any money that he left. At least he signed papers saying he's her father. Sometimes he'll take May for a day, and he brings me clothes for her when he can, but he's on unemployment and that's about to run out.
What about the father of April's baby? Is he helping her any?
Well, April says that he cares about the baby. He didn't put his name on the birth certificate though. He got April on drugs - then she got pregnant and dropped out of school. Now, the baby's always sick. He needs a doctor and there's no way I can afford one.
Poor little fellow - I'm pretty sure you'll be eligible for Medicaid.
Do I have to file separately for that?
If you are eligible for AFDC, we'll get you signed up for Medicaid too.
O.k. just a few more questions. Your application says that you're living at Valhalla Flats and that your rent is $575 plus utilities.
I don't know how much longer though. I couldn't pay rent this month and so we're living on my deposit. They've told me that when the deposit runs out, I'll have to move. So I need help fast.
I see that May is two now, and April's baby, Tom, is six months old. With the new JOBS program, April will have to be in school or working for her GED or she'll lose benefits. You'll be getting some papers about that later.
Well, that's it! I need you to sign the form on the bottom of each page. Someone will go over your application and let you know what assistance you qualify for - AFDC, medicaid, food stamps. If you do qualify, it'll take about 45 days to get your first check.
I can't wait that long!!! I don't have any money at all!!!!
I was going to ask if you needed something to tide you over. Here is a referral for you for emergency funds. This office is just down the hall in room 719, and you can stop in there after we're done.
Now! I don't see any problem with your application. If you don't hear by the end of August, give us a call. Bye now! Good luck!
*** LATER THAT DAY AT LUNCH ***
(That same day. Ms. Knight and her supervisor in the cafeteria. Another group sitting at the other end of the table includes staff from Child Support, Head Start, and JOBS.)
Talk about burn out - I get so discouraged! I just saw a woman who is about to be evicted - has two babies - one her own 2-year old and the other is her teenage daughter's. These people are stuck - no money for a place to live, for food, clothes, doctors. They can't work - and the kids aren't going to be any better off when they grow up.
The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that, if it weren't for us, kids would be starving instead of just hungry sometimes. I do what I can - see that the checks get out - to the right address - for the right amount - but it just never ends.
I know - We're supposed to cut costs but we get a dozen new cases every day. Girls are getting pregnant that are hardly more than babies themselves - with no skills and no education. And, the forms! - I don't think I could fill them out and I've been to college. "Paternity affidavit - Respondent - Child Support Obligation!" How can we expect 8th grade drop-outs to answer this stuff? It's ridiculous!
Child Support Worker
Excuse me! I couldn't help overhearing. I work at the child support office. I know you think our questions are a pain, but with information about the men that should be supporting those kids, we could help!
You've got to break the cycle! Get the kids in Head Start. Give them good food. Make sure they get their shots. Get their parents involved. Then families will start to mend.
These mothers aren't going to be o.k. until they are working. They have to have education, training, and a job -not a hand out. They have to know they can make it on their own. And that sends the right message to their kids. The JOBS program can do that!
With the systems interface between IV-A/ and IV/D/ and JOBS, information is more accessible than it ever has been. We should make sure that we are providing all the appropriate services.
Sounds like we all focus so much on our own area that we're not using our resources. Let's take this case Ann and I were talking about: Janet Evening.
AFDC can get her welfare so that she doesn't lose her apartment. And we can get food stamps and Medicaid going. We'll help them get WIC for basic food needs, too.
What about the rest of you?
We'll try to get child support from April's father. Janet could have up to $50 a month of that. And, if he has medical insurance available, we can get that for April.
If May's father is getting unemployment, some of that can be withheld for child support. That will help until he gets a job. It sounds as if he wants to take care of his baby.
And even though April's boyfriend isn't working, it's important to get paternity and a minimal support order established. When he starts working, he can pay a fair share, too.
We can make sure Janet and April get the education and Job training they need, and we'll help with child care while they're learning. Some day we may even be helping the fathers with jobs if the Fair Share Demonstrations work out.
If May turns 3 in August, she'll be eligible for Head Start in the Fall. She'll be learning skills that she needs for school. We give the parents skills they need, too - and a place to talk about problems they may be having.
This looks pretty good! We can help the family stay in their apartment and make sure their basic needs are met - including their medical needs.
Child support payments can bring in up to $50 more each month. When the moms have jobs and child support is coming in, the family won't need AFDC any more.
The JOBs program can get the moms the education and skills they need to work, and will provide child care and support services for Janet and April so they can succeed with the jobs they choose.
And, with Head Start, May will be ready to learn so that she will have a good chance of succeeding in school.
It looks like we do have a way to make families self-sufficient! Now, how do we interact so that we use all these resources? Let's all get each other's phone numbers and information about our programs. And let's meet - and not just by accident at lunch!
(Announcer - Moderator)
HOLD IT JUST A MINUTE HERE! LET'S TAKE A SECOND LOOK AT THIS. There's a pilot study going on in Oregon that is doing just what you have been talking about. Project Self-Sufficiency started last January. It was developed by The Adult and Family Services Department and the Chemeketa Community College. Let's see what happens to the same family there.
Yes? Can I help you?
Yes. I have an appointment to work out how I can get out of this mess I'm in. I need some money until I can get on my feet. I have no income, I'm just about to lose my apartment, and I have a teenager and two little kids to worry about.
Your name please?
Ah, yes. Here you are. Ura Able will be working with you. Let me tell her that you're here.
(On phone - Ms. Able? Ms Evening is here)
(to Ms. Evening) You can go right in. Ms. Able is in the third office to the left.
Hi there, Janet. Sit down. Did you get your kids settled in at the Family Resource Center - and were you able to talk to them about the Head Start Program and child care resources?
Yes! They were expecting us and gave us a nice tour! I have registration papers for Head Start for my little girl. She'll be eligible in the Fall. And we have names of three day care centers where both kids could go now!
Great! Now, lets see what we can figure out for you. What is your situation now?
Well, I have the three kids - April is 16, May is two, and April has just had a baby - Tom - who is six months old. I haven't been able to work since May was born. It wasn't critical then, because her Daddy was living with us, but he lost his job and then moved out because he felt he was dragging us down. Now, we're about to lose our apartment -the deposit is out at the end of the month. I have no money for food or clothes or medicine!
O.K. lets have a look at your resources - I bet we'll find that you have a lot going for you! First lets focus on what you can do. When you worked, what did you do?
I worked as a clerical for the city - in the Department of Motor Vehicles. It was awful! Everyone is so mad by the time they get to the front of the line that they bite your head off! But I was beginning to get pretty good with the computer!
Great - computer skills are basic now! Why don't we set you up with some refresher courses at the community college. And April - did she finish school?
No - she dropped out in ninth grade - and was already behind then!
So she needs to go back - or get her GED. She'll have to do that anyway to keep up her benefits. What do you think? Would she respond better to earning money while she's working for her GED, or is she ready now for school?
She's been offered a job in one of those Mall shops. I think working and earning some money would be good for her. She can take classes at night to prepare for the GED. I've told her that I'll take care of the baby if she is working or in school - but not if she is just hanging around.
O.k. Here' a suggestion. Until your classes start in September, why don't you take care of the kids while April works out her schedule and starts her job at the mall.
That could work, but I'd like her to pay something for taking care of the baby -it will let her feel some responsibility and help a lot with our expenses.
I was going to suggest that! Then, in September, May can begin Head Start, you can take a couple of classes and start working, and the baby can be in subsidized day care.
There are earned income tax credits available that will help. I think you'll be in pretty good shape real soon. Check out the support groups that we have too - there's nothing like talking with other people who are making it for strategies and suggestions - and great ideas.
If both April and I are working, we might be able to make it but just barely.
There's another part of the picture you're forgetting. Those fathers are responsible to help too. We have child support people on site here and they can get them contributing. They'll help to find April's father and try to get support coming in from him. And, some of May's father's unemployment money should be coming to you, too.
And April's baby's dad may be able to contribute $10 or $15 a week -enough for formula or diapers anyhow.
While you're getting AFDC, you will get up to $50 a month of child support money - but, with you and April both working, and the children's fathers contributing, you may be off welfare almost as soon as you go on.
Lets have a look at your expenses and see what you need to get on your feet. I think you'll be surprised at how much you have going for you......