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Court, WorkOne collaboration reaping child-support benefits

Putting a representative from WorkOne outside the courtroom door during child-support hearings is increasing employment numbers and bringing in more child-support money.

On Tuesday, the Allen Circuit Court released initial results of a program that began in November in an effort to generate more child support from Allen County parents behind in their obligations.

The program is a collaboration among the court, the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office and WorkOne of Northeast Indiana, according to a release from Circuit Court.

The initial report on the program showed that 43 percent of the participants in the program for at least six months gained employment.

Their average weekly support payments increased by 89 percent, from $12.42 a week the previous year to an average of $27.81 a week, according to the release. Officials in charge of the program are understandably pleased.

“The numbers are very encouraging, particularly for those who have participated in the program at least six months,” Allen Circuit Court Magistrate Andrea R. Trevino said in a written statement issued Tuesday. Trevino oversees the program.

A WorkOne representative stationed outside the door of Trevino’s courtroom provides guidance to those Trevino believes would benefit from using the organization’s services.

By mid-June, 134 participants had been referred to the program, according to the written statement.

“Another benefit we are seeing is that participants are earning their GEDs when they might not have even pursued their education. This can have a long-lasting effect on the parent’s ability to find work and pay support in the future,” Trevino said.

Of those referred to the program, 60 percent attended at least one or more of the assigned workshops, 26 percent were referred to the Anthis Career Center for GED classes and 17 percent were referred to vocational rehabilitation services in addition to the assigned workshops, according to the statement.

“This is positive news for parents and especially for children," Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards said in the statement.