Child Support and Workforce Agencies Unite to Give ‘Job Support’ to San Francisco Parents
The San Francisco Department of Child Support Services and the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development have joined forces to create “Job Support,” a program to help noncustodial parents develop and improve their ability to pay child support.
The program links noncustodial parents to career centers, work-readiness evaluations, employment training, and up-to-date job listings.
The interdependence of the agencies’ missions argues strongly for collaboration. Both strive to serve noncustodial parents.
The workforce office has many clients whose child support-related problems interfere with their ability to get a job—problems such as driver’s license suspension, bank levies and passport denial. Similarly, many child support agency clients cannot meet their obligations because they don’t have jobs.
Since both agencies provide a suite of services aimed at preparing noncustodial parents for employment, collaboration made good sense. Thus, the Job Support program was born.
Job Support Program Process:
Participants enroll in the Job Support program by attending orientation at one of the City’s One-Stop Career Link Centers. The program has two main functions: 1) It provides unemployed parents with targeted assistance in obtaining employment; and 2) it reduces court hearings and judicially based orders, which can be ineffective for a parent who lacks the skills to find employment.
New clients receive a One-Stop swipe card and a checklist that outlines their “work-search” duties for the next month. These duties typically include undergoing a job-readiness evaluation; attending a resume and cover-letter workshop; seeking work at a specified time; and meeting with child support staff members monthly.
If a participant meets his or her required work-search duties, then no court appearance is required and a new list of duties is created for the next month. A participant found not in compliance is advised that he or she is being removed from the program and that his or her case is being restored to the court calendar.
A participant successfully completes the program when he or she secures employment and begins to pay child support. This often requires a court determination of the current child support amount based on the participant’s new monthly income, followed by the issuance of an order to withhold earnings.
The numbers so far are promising. Between April 1, 2010 and the end of December 2010:
- 65 people on average enrolled each month
- 41 participants have completed the full program
- 31 percent completed the program in 6 months
- 55 percent completed the program in 9 months
Job Support program participants are clamoring for as much job-readiness support as possible. Efforts such as this one illustrate the power of organizational collaboration to realize efficiencies and reduce duplication of services, while helping parents make better lives for themselves and their children.
Contact Director Karen M. Roye, San Francisco Department of Child Support Services, at 415-356-2919 or Karen.Roye@sfgov.org.