September 17, 2020 Contact: Thomas McCarthy or Gina Paige, 608-422-7800 or firstname.lastname@example.org Wisconsin child support agencies work to support communities on and off the clock Wisconsin’s county and tribal child support agencies play an important role in the well-being of over 370,000 children in the state. During these unprecedented times, this role has become even more critical as parents, both custodial and non-custodial, struggle to meet the basic needs of their families. To help fill the growing need in their communities, child support agencies across the state are working to expand access to assistive services and finding ways to give back to those who need it most. Many county and tribal child support agencies (CSA) across the state are modernizing the child support program by offering a whole-family approach. In Wood County, the Parent Engagement Center allows parents to connect with their children while learning special skills in parenting classes or their Nurturing Fathers program. Eau Claire and Barron counties are building strong partnerships with local job centers, employers, and other organizations to help parents in developing work skills and finding family-sustaining employment. “Child support staff understand that every family is unique and needs specialized care to meet their needs,” said Department of Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Emilie Amundson. “They can help eliminate barriers to employment or other challenges, help parents forge a meaningful bond with their children, and connect them to services they need to be successful and present in their children’s lives.” Child support programs and their staff demonstrated that approach this year to help their communities combat the effects of COVID-19 on family income. During the month of August, which is nationally recognized as Child Support Awareness Month, DCF and WCSEA joined forces to address hunger in the communities they serve. Thanks to their dedication and outreach efforts, they were able to raise over $3,800 for the five Feeding America Food Banks throughout Wisconsin. “Wisconsin is fortunate to have such passionate and caring child support agency staff,” said Pamela Pipkin, Wisconsin Child Support Enforcement Association (WCSEA) president and Monroe County Child Support Agency director. “During these challenging times, staff have remained flexible and continued to find new, innovative ways to support families in their communities – both on the clock and off.” Research shows that non-custodial parents who remain current in providing child support also have contact with their children and are engaged in daily activities. To help foster increased parental participation in their children’s lives, CSAs are not only working to ensure timely payments, but are also aiding parents in gaining the means to stay involved with their children both financially and emotionally. To discover more about the Wisconsin Child Support Program, visit the department's website or follow @WisDCF on Twitter and Facebook.