For nearly three decades, Maximus has worked closely with state and local governments and court systems nationwide to help improve child support programs. We take a holistic, pragmatic approach to this work – applying the right people, processes, and technology in concert to maximize program impact and get children the support they need to thrive.
What is National Child Support Awareness Month?
In 1995, on the 20th anniversary of the Child Support Enforcement Program, President Bill Clinton established August as National Child Support Awareness Month in the United States. Every summer, the child support community commemorates and recognizes the critical role that social service programs and child support play in supporting American families and communities.
The stakes are high
Every year, 1.4 million American families get lifted out of poverty by the economic lifelines that child support and related programs provide.
In 2020, COVID-19 and the economic aftershocks stemming from it have only compounded the urgency of the work we do. Throughout this pandemic, Maximus has strived to remain focused on ensuring that our services have aligned with the evolving needs of the families we serve. These unprecedented times have required us to think creatively, mobilize effectively, and change our delivery models to better support the needs of families. We’ve implemented more mobile-enabled capabilities: allow parents to submit documents, seek information, and better manage their cases across a safe, secure digital environment. This capability has reduced time frames for critical efforts, including surges in modification reviews and right-sizing adjustments stemming from an unexpected spike in unemployment rates. Since early March, we have worked tirelessly to adjust our operating models and pivot operations to work from home. By employing a hybrid model of remote work backed by onsite support, we have managed to avoid service interruptions while protecting the health and wellbeing of our teams and our customers.
We know that in these incredibly challenging times, many children face new risks from the intersecting impacts of poverty and tremendous stress that has fallen onto family units. Financial turmoil, including domestic violence and neglect, pose daunting hurdles to happy, healthy families in the best of times. As we move forward, we have seen that the most effective child support programs focus heavily on holistic approaches – engaging families, supporting realistic orders, and fatherhood initiatives – working effectively across a myriad of economic and social challenges. Excellence in case management and program delivery is critical to ensuring that all children are cared for and given the support necessary for them to thrive.
As Maximus supports 24 state and county authorities, we have fully embraced this holistic approach. More than that – we're passionate about getting the best results possible. In 2020, that means tackling COVID-19's many challenges while upholding the highest standards of service.
Our approach gets results for families
Passion, commitment to real-world impacts, and a focus on long-term and collaborative relationships with state and local agencies serve as guiding principles that help set our teams and child support professionals apart.
- We put children first. Successful programs stay focused on what matters most: the real-world impact on families and ensuring all children get the support they need.
- We help parents understand their responsibilities and take an active, informed role in their children's health and wellbeing. By working with parents and their employers, we help keep families out of debt. Our projects help parents assume greater responsibility for their financial and parental obligations. We do this by emphasizing sustainability, communication, and engagement. We offer employment services for the under- and unemployed regardless of role, thereby strengthening the family as a unit.
- Empowering and upskilling employers helps companies stay on top of new hire reporting, medical support orders, and income withholding compliance. We work closely with employers and payroll entities to clarify these complex processes and prevent avoidable delays to critical outcomes. Throughout the pandemic, we've doubled down on outreach initiatives to enhance employer communication and build on a framework of compliance.
- We work to ensure that courts have the best information possible – setting them up to make fully informed judgments and orders based on full insight into the relevant financial information.
- We team up with a broad network of invested community partners to help identify resources to overcome obstacles – including low-income housing support, biopsychosocial supports, and other needed services to ensure that each family as a unit has the help they need.
It is hard to overstate just how big a role child support programs play in the lives of vulnerable children, families, and communities. This month, we want to keep young people and their needs at front-of-mind. Moreover, we want to express our gratitude to our partners and colleagues across government and social service organizations who work incredibly hard to give children the best possible support. Despite the economic challenges we face as a nation, thousands of child support professionals are working hard to make sure no children fall behind.
Thank you to all our many partners in this vital segment of human services. Together, we can accomplish great things.