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Has training made Pennsylvania child support enforcement better?

At some point in time, every parent wishes his or her child came with a parenting instruction manual. Knowing how to handle certain situations often leaves parents at a loss. One of those issues could be collecting child support.

Thousands of Pennsylvania parents rely on the knowledge of those involved in child support enforcement. As such, the state of Pennsylvania has training courses for everyone involved in the collection process, from secretaries to attorneys. The goal is to provide parents with the best assistance possible. The program is a collaboration amongst Penn State University, Child Support Enforcement and the Domestic Relations Sections of the Court of Common Pleas. Training is available that covers the basics of enforcement to specialized courses in subjects such as paternity.

A doctoral student is now reviewing 12 years’ worth of data from the Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement Training Institute in an attempt to determine the effectiveness of the program. One thing she is looking at is how counties with more training compared to counties with less training. Her findings will be given to the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement.

Parents typically do not set out not to provide for their children, but sometimes a person’s circumstances make it difficult to fulfill his or her financial obligations. There are procedures in place to allow noncustodial parents who have suffered a substantial change in financial circumstances through no fault of their own to petition the appropriate court for a formal modification of ordered payments. Moreover, custodial parents can go back to the courts for assistance in obtaining child support payments when the noncustodial parent is not paying. One of the tools parents may not realize is available to them are the child support enforcement officials whose job it is to work with parents and the courts to collect court ordered payments.

Source: psu.edu, Impact of 12 years of JASI child support enforcement training courses evaluated, No author, Jan. 6, 2014

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