Stark County Job and Family Services has just received more than 2 million dollars to both continue and expand its child support programs. Only five other sites in the US were awarded the federal grant.
The funds will be used to add a new program called New Directions, which will provide help to non-custodial parents who struggle with substance abuse and criminal records. Child Support Deputy Director Rob Pierson says if the agency can help parents become self-sufficient, then those parents will be more involved in their children’s lives.
“We know that if we put that person in jail or if we suspend their driver’s license, when they get out of jail it doesn’t change their situation of being low-income or no income, and not having the ability to pay support.”
The grant will fund the New Directions program for the next five years. Pierson says it should be in full effect by next summer.