Baltimore County Program
Helps Parents Find Jobs, Pay Child Support
(Towson, MD — December 22, 2006) The Circuit Court for Baltimore County has found more than 100 jobs for participants in a program that helps non-custodial parents who are behind in their child support payments obtain full-time employment. Since it began in the fall of 2004, the Family Employment Support Program has enabled 208 participants under the court’s supervision to make nearly $250,000 in child support payments, and 36 employers have signed up for the program’s job banks.
“These parents are paying money that would not otherwise be going for child support,” said Janet Glover Kerkvliet, chief court employment coordinator for the circuit court. “These are monies that would not have been coming in.”
Participants are ordered into the program for a year, during which time their child support payments and employment status are monitored by the court employment coordinators. They are referred for a variety of jobs depending on skill level, educational level, or current employment. Work opportunities have included telemarketing, restaurant and hotel work, mechanical, delivery, painting, general labor, and landscaping. Participants report to the court weekly and appear before a judge every other month until they have full-time employment, and must report immediately if their job status changes.
All cases are heard by Judge John O. Hennegan or Judge Mickey J. Norman, who follow the clients throughout their participation in the program.
“There is a real advantage to consolidating the docket,” Judge Hennegan said. “We get to know the participants, and they get to know us. This helps us recognize what are legitimate problems and what are excuses. Clients know that they can’t play one judge against another.”
Though the money for child support is significant, there are other benefits, Judge Hennegan noted. “This program can be measured in more than the dollars and cents,” he said. “I’ve seen it create self-esteem, improve family harmony, help resolve underlying issues and conflicts. In my conversations with participants, it’s clear that these intangible benefits are there.”
The program is part of the court’s family services division, and coordinates a number of services, including substance abuse treatment, family mediation, anger management, mental health services, as well as training in resume writing and interview skills, vocation rehabilitation, and occupation retraining. “We work well and closely with the judges and the masters, the Baltimore County Office of Employment and Training, the Baltimore County Office of Child Support Services, and law enforcement,” Kerkvliet said. The Baltimore County program is modeled after a similar program that has operated for 20 years in the Circuit Court for Harford County under Harford County Circuit Administrative Judge William O. Carr.
For more information, please contact the Court Information Office at (410) 260-1488.