Paying child support can be difficult if you don’t have a steady source of income. Through collaboration with the DES Division of Employment and Rehabilitation Services (DERS), the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) is helping parents who owe child support obtain employment and meet their financial obligations to their children.
The divisions have created a referral process between child support caseworkers and [email protected]—Arizona’s statewide workforce development network. Caseworkers determine if clients are seeking employment or if they’re underemployed. If so, they are given a referral form for workforce services.
Once referred, clients go into one of the 47 [email protected] locations throughout the state and hand the DCSS referral form to the employment staff. [email protected] then helps the client establish an account on Arizona Job Connection (AJC), Arizona’s largest jobs database. AJC allows job seekers to create an online resume, search thousands of job vacancies, and get matched with hiring employers in their fields of interest.
The [email protected] staff will then provide a one-on-one employment assessment to see what workforce services are needed, and provide personalized assistance, including:
- Resume preparation
- Interview training
- Development of hard and soft workforce skills
- On-the-job workforce and educational opportunities
- Job referrals
- and more
Some [email protected] clients may even be eligible for financial supports to cover the costs of training, certifications, work-related equipment and clothing, and transportation.
[email protected] staff will also ensure the client completes a full registration in AJC, make referrals to community partner programs for additional support services as applicable, document AJC services including case notes, and scan and e-mail the completed referral form to the DCSS case manager within 24 hours of meeting with the client. All this information is inserted into the client’s case notes so that the DCSS caseworker can follow-up.
Since January 2019, DCSS has provided 225 statewide referrals.
“We’ve had many successes come out of this referral program,” said April Klatt, Child Support Operations Administrator. “The referral process has helped some clients get jobs and we’ve been able to start getting consistent payments [for families] through income withholding orders because of the employment referral.”
DCSS acknowledges there are many barriers to paying child support. Clients meeting with their caseworker and discussing the options available to them can help them meet their financial obligation to their children. It is also important for those with a child support order to keep their caseworker updated on any changes to their income, location and contact information.
For more information on the Division of Child Support Services, visit des.az.gov/dcss. To learn more about no-cost employment services, visit www.ARIZONAatWORK.com.
By Isabella Neal