Building Great Partnerships in San Bernardino County

By: Reanna Perez, CA DCSS

The mission of San Bernardino County Department of Child Support (San Bernardino County DCSS) is to partner with parents and the community to deliver reliable child support payments. In doing this, staff often realize that the challenges faced by parents and families are sometimes more about convenience and access to services than a simple need for facts about the process.

To help bring this assistance to their customers, San Bernardino County DCSS has partnered with local county and city libraries through two individual programs that bring agency staff into the communities so customers can see them in a location that is safe and friendly. By holding events in the neighborhoods where many of their customers reside and work, participants can receive assistance at convenient locations and outside normal business hours. The programs are called “DCSS In Your Neighborhood” and “The Online High School Diploma Program.”

The DCSS In Your Neighborhood initiative brings agency staff into four different libraries in communities throughout the county with a high population of child support customers, visiting these locations on a monthly basis to give customers “after hours” DCSS attention. During these visits, customers are able to open a new case, discuss an existing case, complete or submit forms, request a change of their child support order, negotiate a license release, receive assistance making an electronic child support payment, and connect with other resources and community services.

San Bernardino County DCSS is also working with the libraries to enroll adult learners in the Library’s Career Online High School (COHS) Diploma Program, which gives customers the ability to achieve an accredited high school diploma and earn a career certificate at no cost. Once enrolled in the program, each student is paired with an online academic coach, who provides the student with an individual career path, offers ongoing guidance, evaluates performance and connects the student with the resources needed to master the courses.

Through COHS, students may earn a career certificate in the following areas:
· Childcare and Education
· Certified Protection Officer (Security Officer)
· Office Management
· Certified Transportation Services (Trucker/Commercial Driver)
· Homeland Security
· General Career Preparation
· Retail Customer Service Skills
· Food Service and Customer Service Skills

Since starting this partnership in May 2019, San Bernardino County DCSS has referred four customers to the program. Three of them have followed through with enrollment and are actively working towards completion and graduation. Working together and thinking beyond their own boundaries, San Bernardino County DCSS and the San Bernardino County libraries are making a long-term difference helping people meet their education and job preparation needs.