Stark County Child-Support Collection Efforts Shift From Punishment To Training

Rob Pierson, Deputy Director, Child Support, Stark County Department of Job and Family Services (Photo: Stark County Department of Job and Family Services)
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Stark County is getting a nearly $3 million federal grant to further shift its child-support collection efforts from punishment to training. From Ohio Public Radio station WKSU, M.L. Schultze has more.

The county is in the last year of a five-year grant that began the transformation here and at seven other places around the country.

It works primarily with low-income, noncustodial parents who are delinquent in child support and includes both job and parenting classes.

Rob Pierson, who heads child support for the Stark County Department of Job and Family Services, says the training has largely replaced punishments that were counterproductive, such as jail time or loss of driver’s licenses.

“Many of the participants in the program they’ll say that the job readiness piece gives them the ability to look for work and find employment, but the parenting piece gives them the desire.”

Now Stark County has qualified for another $2.9 million grant that includes an expansion of the original program.

It will provide substance-abuse treatment for the parents and expand parental involvement.

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