Parents who don’t earn enough to pay their court-ordered child support can now apply online for the Fatherhood Program, which offers counseling and job training at state technical schools. Also, more parents can apply online to have a case established or to get other child support enforcement services. Georgia parents owing or receiving child support have been able to use the Internet to apply for services or manage their cases ever since the Georgia Department of Human Resources’ Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) established an interactive “constituent services portal” at www.ocse.dhr.georgia.gov last spring.
“We plan to continue expanding our Internet-based services, for both non-custodial and custodial parents,” says OCSE director Robert Riddle. “We want to make it as easy as possible for people to get the help they need to provide for their children, while enabling staff to spend less time on paperwork and more on essential customer services.”
Parents can apply for the Fatherhood Program online without going through their local OCSE office if they are not currently subject to an enforcement action such as a driver’s license suspension or court hearing; otherwise they are required to apply through the local agent handling their case. Program graduates see their earnings increase by an average of $2 per hour.
Parents needing help establishing a child support order have been able to apply for services online since November. That required paying the $25 application fee online with a credit or debit card. Now, they can apply online and pay with cash, check or money order at a local office instead of filling out a paper form for OCSE staff to enter on a computer.
A survey found that half of the parents on OCSE’s caseload have access to a computer at home or work or in a library. Parents can also use a computer in many local OCSE offices. Most learned to use computers in school. “Our goal is to provide computers for customer use in every one of our field offices by the end of 2005,” says Riddle.
For information, contact:
Barbara Joye, 404/657-1385