November is upon us and that means we’re getting closer to holiday shopping and spending time with family. It also means giving thanks and recognizing occasions like Veterans Day. Did you know that Veterans Day started out as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I? In 1938, Congress designated it a federal holiday to honor veterans of the "war to end all wars." According to the Department of Defense Visit disclaimer page , after World War II and Korea, the name was changed to Veterans Day and expanded to include all U.S. veterans.
There are veterans working in the child support program here in OCSE as well as in state and local offices across the nation. Thank you for your service to this country. Thank you, too, for your tireless work to help families reach financial independence through the child support program. It’s a big reason we’re able to keep a steady focus on improving services to veteran and military families within the child support caseload.
2019 — a year of learning
Through the OCSE Veterans and Military Liaison Network, we held webinars featuring impactful services across diverse settings. Ohio and Maryland spoke on trauma-informed care and representatives from the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Visit disclaimer page explained the work they do to support veterans. California and New Hampshire shared their tips about child support outreach on military bases and in rural communities, and ways to positively transform military and veteran outreach initiatives at the county level.
Experts from philanthropy, state governments, and the nonprofit sector in New York, Maryland, Ohio, and California highlighted ways they promote and sustain meaningful father engagement regardless of a father’s physical location or custodial situation. We even included information on ways that states and counties have been creative with implementing their fatherhood initiatives to work with noncustodial dads and prioritize fatherhood engagement as a critical factor in strengthening families. We’re interested in highlighting the innovations of more states, counties, and tribes in 2020, so please send us stories about how you’re implementing your engagement programs.
I encourage you to visit the OCSE Military and Veterans webpage. You’ll find items that will help you with outreach, like the Toolkit: Child Support Collaborations to Engage and Assist Veterans and the Handbook for Military Families. You’ll find "how-to" information based on proven service models, and tools like PowerPoint presentations, sample forms, and templates. The National Conference of State Legislatures Visit disclaimer page Military and Veterans Affairs website is another helpful resource with information on topics like military parent custody and visitation.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs annual Project CHALENG Visit disclaimer page survey, one of the top ten unmet needs of male and female veterans — going back as far as 2010 — is legal help with child support issues. Join the fight to help us change that reality. The OCSE Veterans and Military Liaison Network is open to all child support professionals. Become a member by emailing us at OCSE.DPI@acf.hhs.gov or CSR.Editor@acf.hhs.gov. Help us expand veterans outreach nationally. Let’s continue to give back to the men and women who have nobly sacrificed for the liberties we enjoy in this country.
James Murray, Senior Advisor to the Commissioner
This blog gives the commissioner a forum to communicate directly with child support professionals and other stakeholders about relevant topics. This Commissioner’s Voice is reprinted from the November 2019 Child Support Report newsletter (PDF).