NEVADA CITY, Calif. February 9, 2017 – The California Department of Child Support Services prepares a report to the California Legislature each year detailing the performance of the program and the ranking of each local county child support agency. For Federal Fiscal Year 2016, the child support agency that serves both Nevada and Sierra counties, Sierra Nevada Regional Department of Child Support Services ranked 2nd overall in performance.
Each state, and within those states, each county is ranked upon their performance in five performance measures created by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. The measures detail activities which help single parents by providing them much needed child support. The five measures are:
Paternity Establishment (legally identifying the parents of children);
Establishing child support orders for single parents (either by stipulation or court order);
Percentage collected on those child support orders;
Collection on past due child support; and
Cost effectiveness (measuring how much is spent to collect child support).
Sierra Nevada Regional Dept. of Child Support Services is proud to be among the top performing child support agencies in the state and was able to achieve this milestone by using a family-centered approach. “We found that letting parents have an increased say in how much their child support should be and how they want to pay it created a great working relationship with our department and the parents, and that resulted in better collections and greater collaboration. It’s been a great partnership and the parents are more engaged with us because we let them determine how to do what they do best, take care of their children, and we are here to assist in the record keeping and legal matters” said Tex Ritter, Director of Child Support Services for Nevada and Sierra counties. “But the staff deserve the accolades for their tireless devotion to Nevada counties most needy families with children. They help put food on the tables for our counties single parents” said Tex Ritter.
“I have worked in Child Support Services for almost 20 years, and I remember the days of low ratings. It felt like all the hard work we did was not valuable even though we did help out many families on the way. As our performance numbers have moved up over the years, we could see what our small office was able to accomplish. Coming in number two is recognition that we have come together to reach our goals while never losing sight of the importance of the service we provide to California families” said Becky Swabeck, child support analyst for the county.
Many of the staff felt an extreme sense of pride.
“Pride was the first feeling I had. The staff here works hard and it was nice to see that hard work pay off. We do not always get to see the overall picture of how effective or ineffective our work is. It is rewarding to know all of our hard work was a success and that others will be able to see we are striving to be better for those we help” detailed Mechelle Morgan, child support specialist for the county.
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Child Support supervisor, Jennifer Burns reiterated the sentiment, “When I heard the news, I felt extremely proud, and somewhat relieved that all of our hard work has paid off. It was a feeling of satisfaction for a job well done. I also thought about our customers and how our being number two essentially benefits them; we are collecting more consistently for them than other counties and providing a better level of customer service than other counties. They are really the “winners” in this.”
Others realized that the more forward thinking manner of the department helped move the performance forward. “I am happy to see our dedication to customer service, knowledge and teamwork has paid off. It is nice to know that our dedication and hard work is recognized” stated Deborah Herrera, child support specialist. Laurel Foster, a staff services analyst in Health and Human Services administration had this to say about working with child support: “I am proud to support a department that is dedicated and motivated! Great teamwork!”
And some set goals for the future, “Excited/Proud and at the same time hungry for # 1. It is like running a race or watching my son in a wrestling tournament. It is nice to be # 2 however there is only one true spot to be and that is on the top podium” said Renee Quimby, child support specialist.
The top five performing counties are:
- San Luis Obispo
- Sierra Nevada Regional
- Central Sierra Regional
Sierra Nevada Regional Department of Child Support Services offers many free services for single parents. Their offices are located at the Rood Center County Administration Building at 950 Maidu Ave. in Nevada City and the Brighton Greens Resource Center at 988 McCourtney Rd. in Grass Valley. Their phone number is 866-901-3212. They see walk-ins or you can call for an appointment or contact them on-line: http://www.mynevadacounty.com/nc/hhsa/dcss/Pages/Home.aspx