FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Judges who oversee child support cases often hear excuses as to why parents can’t pay their child support. One common excuse: they don’t have a job. A magistrate in Allen County said she’s found a solution to that.
Magistrate Andrea Trevino partnered with WorkOne to find parents who owe child support jobs so they can make child support payments. She started the program in November 2013.
“I will identify a person who might be a good candidate for WorkOne process,” said Magistrate Trevino. “Someone who has been in need of further education resources, employment resources, and somebody that I would like to see get a helping hand.”
The report shows 43% of the participants participating in the program at least 6 months gained employment following a referral to WorkOne. Additionally, the average weekly support payment paid by the participants increased 89% to an average of $27.81 per week while in the year preceding the referral, the participant’s average weekly support payment was just $12.42 per week.
“This is positive news for parents and especially for children,” states Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards, whose office refers cases to the Title-IV-D Child Support Program for establishment and enforcement of child support.
“She [Magistrate Trevino] understands that the best thing to do is to help these people get back to work,” said Edmond O’Neal, senior director of WorkOne Operations for Northeast Indiana Works. “That’s obviously the mission of our WorkOne centers.”
Magistrate Trevino said she sees generations of families in her courtroom having to pay child support. She said this is all about creating opportunities for these families and not falling into generational habits.
“We’re also breaking cycles. Cycles of unemployment, cycles of where they hit dead ends in their education pursuits. So, I think it has all kinds of really great advantages,” Magistrate Trevino said.
Of those referred, 60 percent of participants attended one or more of the assigned workshops, 26% were referred to Anthis Career Center for GED classes, and 17% were referred to Vocational Rehabilitation services in addition to the assigned workshops.