The following was originally submitted for publication on the County of Marin's Patch Blog.
Continuing an award-winning tradition, Marin County’s Child Support Services (CSS) agency received top accolades this week from the California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) when it presented awards to the child support agencies that met or exceeded performance goals during federal fiscal year 2012-2013.
Marin CCS was the recipient of top awards in five categories, matching its superlative performance from last year’s DCSS event. It was presented the Superior Performance Award in recognition of the one agency that met all of the department’s Strategic Plan goals early, a year before the five-year strategic plan period ends in September 2014. The County department, headed by Director Keith Pepper, was credited for establishing paternity for all children born out of wedlock in its coverage area during the federal fiscal year (October through September) and securing orders of support for 97 percent of its cases. Marin was the first recipient of the new DCSS award.
“I have the pleasure and honor of working with an exceptional team of child support professionals who are dedicated to securing financial support for the children of Marin County,” Pepper said.
But there was much more to come for the 24-person Marin CSS team. It also captured the special Director’s Excellence Award along with the agency from Monterey County for exceeding all state set goals for the federal performance measures and meeting the state’s goal of increasing distributed collections by three percent or more over the previous year.
Marin was one of three counties to earn the Director’s Challenge Award for increasing distributed collections by five percent or more during the prior year and was one of 10 agencies to receive the Top 10 Award for highest overall performance in five federal performance measures. Marin has received a Top 10 Award every year since 2004. In addition, Marin captured the Distributed Collections Performance Award in the “very small county” category for agencies that increased distributed collections by the greatest percent compared with the previous three years.
Marin CSS, which has a caseload of about 3,000, is responsible for establishing paternity and establishing, modifying and enforcing orders for child support. Its mission states: Children deserve the security of having their needs met. Parents are responsible for providing financial, medical and emotional support for their children. To achieve these goals, we establish and enforce child support orders, treating all parties with respect, and serve the community through outreach and education.
“I congratulate each and every one of you for your deep commitment to putting children first,” said Kathleen Hrepich, Interim Director of DCSS.
The DCSS and the 51 local child support agencies operate the second largest child support system in the nation with 1.3 million cases in the California Child Support Program. In FFY 2013, California’s child support program collected and distributed more than $2.3 billion in child support payments. Marin CSS distributed about $12.4 million in court-ordered child support payments to families last year.