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August is Child Support Awareness Month. The California Department of Child Support Services (CA DCSS) and the 49 local and regional child support agencies use this opportunity to inform the public about the availability and benefits of child support services, which include programs and services that are low-cost or free and available to any party to a child support order, regardless of participation in public assistance.
Many parents can be overwhelmed by the complexities of raising a child, striving hard to be the “perfect” parent. To that end, this year’s Child Support Awareness Month campaign encourages parents with this year’s theme: “They Don’t Need Perfect, They Just Need You.” This message references all of the benefits that children receive from the participation of both parents in their lives, and helps all parents remember that Child Support Services is there to assist them in reducing the stress of the child support process.
The North Coast Regional DCSS, headquartered in Eureka, emphasizes helping parents work through this potentially difficult and emotional time in their lives. Staff in the Weaverville and Eureka offices have just completed a 34-hour mediation training with Humboldt Mediation Services.
“Our staff are ready with skills to help parents better communicate and come to agreement on the terms of child support that is right for their family,” said Lisa Dugan, Director of the North Coast Regional DCSS.
In 2016, California collected $2.62 billion dollars on behalf of 1.27 million children statewide, an increase over the previous year. California implements progressive programs in its child support system that include a variety of payment options for parents, aid in establishing legal parentage of a child, assistance with past-due balances and assistance with modifying child support orders to improve parents’ ability to contribute to their child’s support.