August is Child Support Awareness Month in Madison County, following a proclamation approved Monday by county commissioners.
There were 1,869 open cases involving children in the county during the last year, according to Sue Mosier, child support administrator for the Madison County Department of Job and Family Services. The agency collected about $4.7 million last year for county children, she said.
This year, both cases and collections have been slightly lower, she said. The county’s collection rate stands at about 75 percent.
The main tool used to coerce payments is pulling driver’s licenses, Mosier said. The office has also worked creative solutions, such as one recent case in which a father cashed in a stock to make a $9,000 lump payment — avoiding legal action.
One growing trend is the number of children living with a caretaker, as opposed to a parent. Often caretakers are aunts and uncles or grandparents, Mosier said.
“Sometimes we can’t even find the parent,” she said.
About 15 percent of cases involve a caretaker. In many cases there is drug use and alcohol abuse involved, or the parent is in jail.
In those cases, it makes it more difficult to stimulate payments, Mosier said.
Commissioner David Dhume complimented the team of JFS administrators working in the child support department. Because of the team’s experience, they are able to collect more money for children, he said.
Ohio has long recognized child support awareness during August. This year’s theme is “Support is Key.”