Good Times and Great Content at the 2018 Annual Child Support Training Conference & Expo

By: Jorlinis Centeno, CA DCSS

This year, the California Department of Child Support Services (CA DCSS) sent a record number of participants to the 12th Annual 2018 Child Support Directors Association of California (CSDA) Child Support Training Conference & Expo, held at the Hyatt Regency in Orange County. CA DCSS sent more than 60 staff to Orange County to represent the state and share with local child support agencies the successes, progress and new projects that each team has had throughout the course of this year.

Before the opening plenary session, CA DCSS participants and their colleagues from all of the counties watched a video compilation showing photos of all the statewide offices and events, each group cheering, whistling and blowing horns in a show of spirit for their own teams as the names flashed by. CA DCSS took it a bit further, shipping down more than two dozen colorful and creative signs based on the conference theme that were waved high and making quite an impact during this fun “Roll Call”.

During the conference, employees attended informative workshops covering a wide range of topics like leadership skills, personal development, specific job training and professional skills improvement. Beyond improving skills, each class gave the opportunity for CA DCSS staff to network with county colleagues, share resources and build relationships with the local agencies.

The evening before the end of the conference the annual awards banquet was held in the hotel’s grand ballroom. Everyone dressed in their best and had a great time taking selfies in the photo booth and mingling more informally with new friends. CA DCSS is very proud that two of our own received awards. Jim Garrison, Data Architecture Unit Supervisor, was given the “Positive Collaboration” award for his team effort with local agency IT staff on the “Quicker QDROs: Using Technology to Expedite QDROs” project. The goal of this statewide program was to implement a more efficient way of identifying qualifying cases and increasing the amount of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) processed.

The program has matched 258 cases from two larger employers, collecting over $450,000 in child support arrears with several cases still pending. CA DCSS Assistant Chief Counsel Kristen Donadee received the William R. Knudson award which is given to employees that have a history of accomplishments in assisting local child support agencies (LCSAs) in their efforts to support the mission of the Child Support Program. Kristen is the State Interjurisdictional Liaison and assists LCSAs, other states, and countries with case-specific issues they encounter with other jurisdictions. She coordinated California’s implementation of Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
(UIFSA) 2008 and most recently initiated the State DCSS’s lump sum income withholding order (IWO) project for all employers paying bonuses due to tax law changes. Kristen’s participation in various committees and activities, her knowledge of the program and her willingness to help is an important bridge between the LCSAs and CA DCSS.

This year’s charity raffle baskets were a huge hit with conference attendees donating a total of $41,444 toward the chosen charity “Homeless Children Matter.” Donations from the fundraising efforts will help ensure homeless children in El Dorado County receive much-needed academic services and supplies, greater stability in their lives, and the hope for a better tomorrow. For more information on the charity, check out the CSDA website here: https://csdaca.org/homeless-children-matter/