Madison County commissioners recognized the hard work of the county’s child support department on Monday by declaring the month of August “Child Support Awareness Month.”
Sue Mosier, administrator for the agency, along with three of her colleagues, met with commissioners in the morning to discuss their successes as a department within the greater county department of Jobs and Family Services.
The department establishes paternity and ensures that parents support their children in case of separation of parents.
“We also establish support orders if it doesn’t come through the court,” said Mosier. “[Usually] if you’re divorced it comes through the court. If you’re unmarried, we can establish it and enforce it.”
In 2017, she said the department has collected about $4 million in child support.
“We handle 1,800 cases between three case workers,” she said. “So they each have a little over 600. Of course you don’t touch all of them every day, but it’s kind of a high case load.”
Mosier gave the caveat that the state of Ohio would consider this a “normal amount,” and that 75 percent of cases involve parents who pay on time and ensure they are up to date on their obligations, above the state’s average of around 67 percent of collections.
“There’s still paperwork of course, but we’re not having to hunt them down,” she said. “There’s always something going on with those cases. It fills up your day. The harder aspect are those 25 percent of cases where you’ve got to find them.”
She said her team of three has to do all sorts of investigative work such as mail records, checking with family members and more, just to ensure these parents support their children.
Her department has been finding new methods to close that 25 percent gap, primarily the most extremely delinquent and absent parents.
“Our biggest tool has been license suspensions,” she said. “We sent out about 217 notices … from those notices we’ve only ended up having to follow through on about 31 cases. The rest called us and maybe didn’t give us money but [gave all of the other information we needed]. [From those that did pay] We got $17,000 on that alone, just by sending out the notice.”
“Of the people we ended up suspending, they called us asking how to get their license back, which of course we responded with ‘you’ve got to make a payment,’” she said. “That added about another $17,000, so we collected close to $35,000.”
Lori Dodge-Dorsey, department head of Jobs and Family Services, said she was proud of their efforts.
“These guys do a great job through the work they do,” she said. “Sue mentioned the number of cases they potentially work though, so it’s pretty impressive.”
“I think the numbers are huge, to be honest, especially for a county the size of ours,” said Commissioner David Dhume. “The state may think 600 is the norm, it sounds pretty heavy to me. So thank you for what you do. I’m sure the families appreciate it a great deal.”
Other business from Monday’s commissioners meeting:
• Veterans will be selling Forget-Me-Nots at the London Walmart Aug. 10-12 from 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to benefit their fellow veterans. Eugene Reed, an organizer, can be contacted for more information at 740-852-2747.
Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, or on Twitter @msfkwiat.