During Child Support Awareness Month (August), Lucas County, along with the rest of the country, raised awareness about the important income support program that helps millions of children and families. Lucas County Commissioners proclaimed the month of August to be Child Support Awareness Month in Lucas County early last month.
“This is something that is very important for the child, families and the community. This program allows those families in need to support local businesses by purchasing school clothes, supplies, or going out to eat… it impacts the entire economy,” says Greg Byers, president, Lucas County Commissioners.
What is Child Support?
Child Support is so much more than just money, and there’s usually a negative stigma attached to the term. However, the fact of the matter is that Child Support Offices help families locate parents, establish paternity and enforce order, connect citizens to health care coverage, and refer citizens to other helpful programs. In some instances, parents seek out the offices to help secure a job. Parents can visit the Toledo-area location at 3737 W. Sylvania Ave.
Of course, there is money that is owed by a noncustodial parent that is essential to support the residential parents in raising any child(ren) under the age of 18. Those payments are usually submitted each month. Through June 30, 2022, Lucas County paid out approximately $56 million in support payments to more than 172,000 families during the federal fiscal year. “We actually saw a rise in child support payments during the pandemic because families were getting additional support from the federal government,” says Commissioner Byers.
Nationwide, the Administration for Children and Families reports child support programs collected over $32 billion in 2021 that directly aid 13.2 million children, or about one in five.
Per Ohio law, there is a specific formula for calculating child support payments. That formula takes into consideration the number of children supported, the income of each of the parents, the cost of childcare, and health insurance costs. Payments are generally made on a monthly basis and are due on a certain day of the month.
At the end of 2021, the Lucas County Child Support Enforcement Agency recorded 34,575 individuals who missed a payment, and 23,814 of those individuals were able to make a payment at some point during the year. Lucas County did not receive child support payments from 10,761 individuals in 2021.
If a payment doesn’t come through, attorneys employed by Lucas County Jobs and Family Services are assigned to collect it. If the individuals repeatedly fail to pay, they could be charged with a felony, be convicted, or even go to jail.
“The message we’re trying to send is that we will work with individuals to make sure they’re able to be successful and support their family,” says Commissioner Byers. “We try our best to be flexible and use the legal ramifications as a last resort.”
Help Spread the Word
You can take action to help spread awareness of this important program. Be sure to use #ChildSupport or #Support4Families on Facebook and Twitter.
“It’s important not only for the children to be supported, but for the community as a whole,” adds Commissioner Byers. “With more understanding we have of child support, the more successful the program becomes to help our kids.”