OneVoice CSDA Newsletter

2018 Child Support Training Conference & Expo – Scholarship Experiences

Danielle Wormington – Santa Clara County DCSS

CSDA Conference Committee,

I am very pleased and honored the CSDA Committee selected me as one of the scholarship recipients for 2018.  The Conference created a wonderful opportunity for me to network with my fellow child support professionals.  I was most interested in the Tribal workshop and gained a better understanding of Tribal relations and the unique aspects with respect to Child Support Enforcement.  I also took the workshop given by Dr. Frank Benest.   His conference reference material The Two Worlds of Policy and Administration is very eye opening and informative.  Dr.  Benest is very engaging and created an environment of participation from the audience.  I think he would make an excellent keynote speaker in the future. The morning keynote speakers resonated with the audience.  Each with their own unique perspective, they captured the theme of the event.  I saw more than a few audience members moved to tears during Stacey Bess’ presentation.  What a remarkable woman and great example of human kindness.

I enjoyed all the provided meals and had a great time dancing the night away at the awards banquet.  On a personal and professional level, I appreciate the countless hours the committee spent planning such a monumental event.  I feel the conference was a huge success and I would love to volunteer to be on future planning committees.    Thank you again.

Regina Cruise – San Bernardino County DCSS

I attended the CSDA conference a few years ago and loved the experience and connections I made.  This year was a different experience.  I recently promoted to supervisor, and my goal for this conference was to learn new processes through a supervisory view.  I wanted to understand how to connect with my team in a leadership role.

One of my memorable moments was the plenaries.  CSDA has the ability to choose the right speaker for the right audience.  Stacey Bess told her story of overcoming adversity as a teacher in a challenging school district.  I found myself tearing up not for the struggle she had but for the lives she changed including her own.  After that speech, I was ready to take on the world, and the conference.  There were so many great workshops to choose from.  I made it a point to go to the Supervisor 101 workshop. I learned some key concepts to share with my fellow supervisors and the department.  I hope to continue building on the training we have for supervisors in our county.

An important aspect of the conference is the wonderful networking opportunities.  I met the most knowledgeable people! Many of them were experts in areas that I don’t usually work with such as directors and technical support. I created a contact list to continue corresponding with them at a later date.  It is important to keep the lines of communication open to new ideas that other counties are exploring.  This will continue the innovation of child support.

A surprise that I noticed was how proud every county was to share their information with such energy and excitement. For instance, at roll call, when each county was introduced there was an enthusiastic cheer from every county. A county of three sounded like a county of 50!  It was nice to be encircled by people that do the day to day work and are still excited about what they do.  I wanted to bottle that energy and bring it back to the office.

By receiving this scholarship, it gave me the opportunity to experience great workshops, enjoy wonderful speakers and network with top professionals in the Child Support field.  It is important to have this experience in your child support career.  I feel it makes you a strong, dedicated worker and gives you a better understanding of the impact that you can and will have with the families you serve.

Shannon Fowler – San Bernardino County DCSS

It was a privilege to have been awarded a Scholarship to be able to attend the 2018 CSDA conference.  I can enthusiastically say the experience exceeded my expectations. This well-organized event was a forum conducive to sharing ideas with other child support professionals from all over the state, not only during workshops, but also while sitting down to eat lunch, or later on at dinner with co-workers from my own county.

A variety of workshops were offered with topics focusing on different aspects of the Child Support world.  I attended a workshop titled, “Mind-Hacking: Behavioral Economics” where I learned about methods other counties have developed to engage and communicate with non-custodial parents.  Each workshop I attended offered relevant information that I now use in my daily work.

I was surprised and reassured to realize how many people shared my passion to help and serve the families of our respective communities.  I left the CSDA conference with a greater, more meaningful understanding of the Child Support Program and would strongly recommend this as a worthwhile experience for any Child Support professional. ​

Elizabeth Kennen – Riverside County DCSS

I was lucky enough to have won a scholarship to attend this event.  I have worked for Riverside County Department of Child Support since November 1998.  I have worked through the ranks.  So, Child Support has been a huge part of my life for 20 years.  But, this was the first time that I attended the conference.  It was a wonderful experience.  So many training sessions to choose from.  You could sessions for improvement on a personal level or professional level.     I took a little of both.  A better more confident me, makes a better more confident worker.  A confident worker, makes a calmer more relaxed me.  We all win!

I attended many workshops.  My favorites were Structured Networking, Put me in coach!, Do you put the D in Dysfunction, and Social Security.  Structured Networking helped to develop tools to on how to create a network.  It offered great Icebreaker suggestions and how to maintain these connections, without overwhelming your new contact.  Put me in coach.  This workshop was on how to be a better leader.  I learned that by doing it for them, you enable them.  7 key questions to ask to help the other person find the answer themselves.  And remember don’t confuse confidence for arrogance.   Do you put the D in Dysfunction?  This workshop had an easy (you would think) exercise.  In a group, with all involved, lower a dowel to the ground.  Sounds easy.  Not So!  Such a simple task, but to get a group to move in unison… wow…who would have thought that would be so hard.  Such an eye opener.  Social Security.  Lots of information and explanation of how it works and how we can work with it.

These workshops where informational and fun.  I definitely learned a few things.  I am excited to implement some new skills and knowledge.   It wasn’t all work and classes either.  There were lots of opportunity to meet other child support professionals and talk with them.  Great to hear that they have the same hurdles as me.  Also, great to share how I have overcome some of the hurdles they are experiencing and to learn how they too overcame some of my hurdles.  Lots of fun opportunities too.

The plenary sessions.  These were a great way to start your day and end the conference.  Guest speakers Stacey Bess – The School with No Name and Derek Clark – Rapping Dad.  They both made you want to laugh and cry.    The Awards Banquet to end it all was great fun.  Good food.  Music.  Dancing.  And a giant Foosball table.  Loads of fun.

I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and encourage all to attend if possible.

Alexis Chavez – San Bernardino County DCSS

First of all, I want to say it had been a pleasure partaking in the 2018 Annual Child Support Training Conference & Expo. I have been employed by the Department of Child Support Services San Bernardino County for three years, and I always wanted to attend a training conference in order to sharpen my skills as a Child Support Officer in order to benefit my IV-D agency. Moreover, I wanted to inform our sister IV-D agencies of the business practices that are utilized by San Bernardino County DCSS to obtain child support collections.

On day one, I attended the “Develop, Research, Execute, Analyze, Meet Goals: If You Can D.R.E.A.M It, You Can Do It! “workshop conducted by Elizabeth Lawrence, Child Support Attorney IV, San Bernardino County DCSS and Jennifer Shoemaker, Supervising Child Support Officer, San Bernardino County DCSS. This workshop instructed IV-D agencies throughout California the strategies and objectives utilized by San Bernardino County DCSS to obtain collections for complex cases.

Useful collections strategies such as the Qualified Domestic Relationship Order also known as the “QDRO”, lump sum income withholding orders submitted to payment sources such as Amazon and Pay Pal; in addition to, workers’ compensation and personal injury enforcement actions were discussed at this workshop. Being a member of the San Bernardino County DCSS Special Enforcement Unit I was delighted to educate our sister IV-D agencies of the functions of workers’ compensation lien generation. In addition to, strategies utilized in resolving a noncustodial parent’s workers’ compensation or personal injury lien in speaking with an applicant attorney or insurance adjuster.

The training conference provided me a forum to collaborate and educate our sister IV-D agencies of the Special Enforcement functions that are being utilized by San Bernardino County DCSS. My hope is that my fellow Child Support Officers will meet with their supervisors and executive staff in order to establish a Special Enforcement Unit in order to collect child support utilizing the strategies outlined in the aforementioned workshop.

Sharon Covello – San Joaquin County DCSS

This year I had the honor of being selected as a recipient of the CSDA scholarship for the Training Conference held in Garden Grove CA.  The conference was very inspiring, and provided the opportunity for networking with colleagues from different LCSA’s.

During the opening plenary as the local offices were called out I was impressed by the sense of pride LCSA’s and DCSS demonstrated by banners, cheers, hoots and hollers.  It set the tone for a very energetic and motivating conference.  The Plenary Speakers Stacey Bess (The School with No Name), and Derek Clark (Never Limit Your Life) addressed the very crucial issue of children in the foster care system, and homelessness in society.  As a former Social Service Advocate for the Head Start Program, I am very excited to see the Child Support Program informing staff about these very important social issues and highlighting how we can assist at risk families.

I had amazing experiences, from the opening plenary to the closing plenary, and all the workshops in between.  There were so many opportunities to learn more about what’s happening in Child Support throughout the state.  The workshops were varied and offered something for seasoned Child Support Professionals, as well as those new to the Child Support Program. As supervisor of the Intergovernmental and Spanish Speaking Teams, I found the workshop titled “Protecting the Rights and Easing the Fears of Undocumented Immigrants” especially useful.

The conference exceeded my expectations.  I encourage others to attend if given the opportunity.