By: Chad Reed, CA DCSS
If you look at a map of California counties, you can see that the populous coastal region of Southern California is completely surrounded by four large counties – Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial. To better serve this region of California, very distinct from highly urbanized Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, the Southern Inland Region Child Support Collaborative was formed in December 2018. The collaborative consists of Kern County Department of Child Support Services (Kern County DCSS), San Bernardino County Department of Child Support Services (San Bernardino County DCSS), Riverside County Department of Child Support Services (Riverside County DCSS), and Imperial County Department of Child Support Services (Imperial County DCSS). The organization’s mission statement is to “Promote parental responsibility to enhance the well-being of children by providing child support services to establish parentage and collect child support”. In total, there are roughly 246,000 active child support cases across all four counties.
The Bay Area Region Child Support Collaborative’s (BARCS) example of meaningful collaboration led the way for the Southern Inland Region counties to engage in initial discussions and see if something like BARCS could be feasible in their region. As customers in the inland areas of Southern California and their circumstances are often very similar across each of the four counties, the organization intends to combine resources to provide enhanced awareness of the various types of child support services available in the region. Since customers who live in these neighboring counties often travel, live and work across all four counties (similar to the Bay Area) the creation of the collaborative allows child support staff to more effectively provide awareness of child support services to all their customers. Each county has taken on varying responsibilities and all have worked together to accomplish short- and long-term objectives for the collaborative. This has included the creation of the collaborative’s logo, development of a unique mobile-responsive website, and coordination of logistics and support such as sharing costs for tools and promotions. For example, the first joint event will be an Employer Workshop on November 7th with more event information available at bit.ly/2OAhp3b. The new website includes beneficial resources and contact information for all four child support offices, as well as a cross-county calendar containing event information for all four counties.
“I think the biggest accomplishment so far is pulling together this unique and geographically large region of the state to join together with a shared vision and goal. That is truly a great beginning and the opportunities are endless,” said Riverside County DCSS Director, Kimberly Britt.
“We’re sure this will help all of us to better connect with the parents and families of the Inland Empire,” said Imperial County DCSS Director, Liza Barraza, while Kern County DCSS Director Elizabeth Chavez added, “We all have the same message, and many of the same customers. It makes excellent operational and financial sense to work together like this.”
San Bernardino DCSS Director, Marie Girulat agrees. “This collaboration will provide improved outreach to and access for the customers who live and work in our surrounding communities.”
Learn more about the Southern Inland Region Child Support Collaborative by visiting SouthernInlandRegion.com.