August is child support awareness month

The following was submitted by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

Child Support Awareness Month is a time to celebrate parents who are working hard to make sure that the needs of children are met.

Children thrive when family members work together to provide for their emotional and physical needs. This is especially important when a family structure changes, because regardless of the family dynamic, the child’s needs remain constant.

Each year, the Department of Social and Health Services’ Division of Child Support serves approximately 360,000 kids statewide, ensuring they have the financial support they need by collecting around $682 million a year in child support.

DSHS understands that sometimes parents want to pay support but, for a variety of reasons, have a hard time making that obligation. For these cases, DSHS offers the Alternative Solutions Program. This program helps individuals find services to overcome barriers in paying child support. Those barriers may include unemployment, homelessness or past legal trouble.

The ability of a parent to pay child support can correlate with the amount of time that parent spends with their children. Changes to child support (also known as a modification) can help ensure that support orders are evenly matched with income to make sure that a child not only gets the financial support needed, but also gets that important bond with both parents. Modifications are appropriate when income changes (either up or down), when a new biological child being supported is born, when a child becomes a teenager or if there’s a change to medical or daycare expenses.

DSHS has programs to help all parents. If you have questions regarding your child support order, regardless of whether you are paying or receiving support, please reach out to the Division of Child Support and learn more.