Child Support Awareness calender

One of the best ways to strengthen family bonds is to spend time together. This 2019 sticker calendar is designed to help parents and kids track activities and schedule more time together. Stickers include Grandparents Place, Dad's Place, and Mom's Vacation.

MOUNT VERNON — August is Child Support Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of child support services available locally and recognize the partners and unsung heroes who work to create and maintain a successful program. Those unsung heroes include local courts, employers, the Knox County Sheriff's Office, parents who make their payments, and case managers.

“I think everybody cooperates. I think everybody cares,” said Marty Thomas, administrator of the child support unit of Knox County Department of Job & Family Services.

Thomas said local courts are instrumental in establishing and enforcing child support orders. Local employers “do an incredible job” working to ensure health insurance and wage withhold orders are upheld.

The unit has 11 full-time staff members and a full-time attorney who serve 4,616 children. It collects more than $7 million in child support payments each year and establishes an average of 159 paternity cases every year. According to Thomas, 80 to 85 percent of parents comply with child support orders.

“That's impressive,” she said. “They maybe don't like each other, but they are working together.”

“The families have responded well to what we try to be, which is being helpful,” said Matthew Kurtz, director of KCJFS. “It's all about being a family, even though you are not under the same roof.”

“Child Support Awareness Month is also a chance to thank the case managers,” said Thomas. “Our five caseworkers have an average of 728 cases to manage. That's a lot.”

Thomas cited Ohio SB70 and HB366 as key legislation passed in 2018 that will help child support units become more streamlined in their processes. The bills, both of which become effective in the spring of 2019, close loopholes, create consistency between counties, and update the economic tables used to calculate child support orders.

The Board of Knox County Commissioners adopted a proclamation on Thursday recognizing August as Child Support Awareness Month.

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