SIDNEY — This month, Shelby County joins counties across the country in recognizing August as Child Support Awareness Month. This is a national initiative to educate families about child support and the services available to help them. Studies have repeatedly shown that when both parents are actively involved in raising children, they do much better. If children are truly our future, then it is imperative that the child support program supports the healthy development of children, including emotional and financial support from both parents.
In addition to educating the public, the child support program touches the lives of more children and families than any other public program. In Ohio, the Child Support Program provides services to more than one million children who are served by local child support agencies in every county. Money collected from child support is estimated to reduce poverty by 25%. Alimony is the second source of income for single-parent households, providing 39% of their income on average. County child support agencies are working diligently to ensure these children receive financial support for a brighter future.
The child support program promotes responsible parenting, family autonomy and child well-being. Agencies provide services to locate parents, establish parentage, establish child support and medical support orders, collect and distribute child support, change orders when circumstances have changed, and enforce orders that do not are not paid.
County child support agencies provide services to families of all types, from divorced parents to unmarried parents, custodial parents, children in foster care and others, regardless of family income.
Last year in Shelby County, CSEA collected $10.4 million for approximately 3,800 cases and was able to collect 78% of those cases.
Support is essential for children to grow up happy and strong. Please contact your county child support agency if you have questions about child support.
The writer is the Child Support Administrator for Shelby County Employment and Family Services.