By Jonna Lewis, Special Assistant to the Director, Los Angeles County CSSD
While Los Angeles County CSSD participates in community engagement throughout the year, Child Support Awareness Month (CSAM) gives us a special opportunity to share information about our vital services and interact in new ways with the community and the families that we are privileged to serve. In May, our Office of Innovation and Community Engagement convened a CSAM Planning Committee, comprised of representatives from all of our divisions, to brainstorm creative and innovative ways to observe CSAM not only in the community, but in all of our offices as well. The result was over 100 special activities and events planned for August – the most CSAM events ever planned in the history of our Department!
In addition to the many special workshops, presentations, and resource tables in the community, our folks really got into celebrating CSAM this year by organizing backpack and school supply drives to benefit local schools, giving away books to every child who visited our offices in August, and wearing the “color of the day” every Wednesday – a great way to unify 1500 child support professionals spread out at 7 locations throughout the county. CSAM 2018 was such a success that our folks can’t wait to start planning CSAM 2019!
Sacramento County DCSS
By Jill Lucena-Machado, Outreach Coordinator, Sacramento County DCSS
To honor Child Support Awareness Month (CSAM) Sacramento County Department of Child Support Services (SCDCSS) has celebrated with special events outside our normal customer service and Outreach activities. These special activities include:
- A Backpack Drive to benefit the Sacramento Children’s Home. Our staff collected 79 backpacks and more than 650 school supplies for children in our community.
- A wall display at the Sacramento County Administration, 700 H Street, Sacramento, CA to advertise the Child Support program and August being Child Support Awareness Month.
- A collaboration with the Sacramento Superior Court’s Family Law Facilitator’s Office (FLF), DCSS has a table at their office for the month of August on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays providing information and education for participants visiting the family court.
- An interview article with a NCP about his experience working with DCSS. This article was featured in our in-house journal as well as shared with the State and the CSDA for publication in their respective newsletters.
Kern County DCSS
By Susan Saelee, Program Manager, Kern County DCSS
In Kern County, Child Support Services employees work daily with parents to create a better life for children. But every August, in honor of Child Support Awareness month, employees come together and take on new roles to ensure that children are prepared to succeed in the upcoming school year. Our employees raise funds from within the community to purchase backpacks and school supplies to fulfill a large need that exists. We have become the largest Backpack Giveaway in our county, providing over 3,000 free backpacks annually though our Ready-Set Back 2 School events. From partnering with local library branches to our annual Health & Wellness Fairs in Bakersfield and Ridgecrest where we also provide free haircuts and immunizations, these events allow us the opportunity to interact with thousands of parents, grandparents and guardians to spread the message about the importance of child support in the life of a child. Furthermore, we increase the awareness of our services with the hundreds of community partners and government agencies that participate in our events. It is an opportunity to see the direct effect our employees have in our community over and above the services that our Department offers. The Kern County Department of Child Support Services employees exemplify our goal of working to create a better life for children.
Stanislaus County DCSS
By Rhonda Mason, Assistant Director, Stanislaus County DCSS
Stanislaus County Department of Child Support Services commemorated August as Child Support Awareness Month by successfully hosting the 2nd Annual Kids Connect Community Celebration on Thursday, August 2, 2018, at James Marshall Park in Modesto. The event was planned and presented in partnership with City of Modesto, Parks and Recreation Department to celebrate Child Support Awareness Month. The goal of the event was to promote Child Support Awareness in a positive and fun way while highlighting the many family-centered nonprofit agencies throughout the community.
Over 350 parents and children attended the event and 34 agencies were available to provide information on the resources they offer to families in Stanislaus County. Families were able to learn about healthcare, childcare, employment, behavioral health and a variety of other services agencies provide. Vendors and sponsors donated items and gift cards that were used as prize drawings for attendees. Local dignitaries and representatives from various child support agencies joined in supporting the fun-filled event. Throughout the day live entertainment was provided by performers from the community and Stanislaus County Department of Child Support staff or their families.
As a result of the event, Stanislaus County Department of Child Support Services made contact with potential new customers and existing customers to answer questions they have regarding opening a case, establishing a child support order or enforcing an existing order for child support. Those in attendance shared various stories about how the event helped connect them to needed resources.