WILMINGTON — The Ohio Commission on Fatherhood will help create a Clinton County program to enhance the healthy involvement of fathers as parents in the lives of their children.
The public announcement was made at the Monday session of county commissioners by Clinton County Job and Family Services Director Kathi Spirk, Clinton County Assistant Prosecutor Katie Wright and Clinton County Child Support Supervisor Nicole Rodman.
A community needs assessment will be performed in an attempt to determine what the current parenthood priorities are regarding fatherhood in Clinton County, they said.
In 2011, the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood launched the first Ohio County Fatherhood Initiative. To date 20 counties have participated in the project, the closest being Greene County, which is adjacent to Clinton County.
Wright told commissioners she hopes the project will not only improve the county’s numbers in terms of child support cases, but have other benefits.
“It won’t just improve our [child support] numbers. But it will also more importantly help our families, the children in our community who all have a need for a father in their life,” said Wright.
The current number of “open active” child support cases in Clinton County is 3,146, said Rodman.
“We’ve actually added almost 200 new cases year to date,” she said.
Under an Ohio County Fatherhood Initiative, a county receives training on how to conduct a “Needs and Assets Assessment,” gets planning for a community conversation about fatherhood, receives assistance on how to implement a community action plan on fatherhood, and is awarded a $10,000 seed grant to begin or continue fatherhood programs in the county.
The Ohio Commission on Fatherhood provides the training at no cost to the counties. The Ohio Commission on Fatherhood is a statewide commission housed within the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services.
Rodman said, “Our thought is if we get fathers invested in their family, they’re going to be more apt to pay [child support].”
A recent letter from Spirk, Wright and Rodman to county commissioners stated, “While the crisis of father absence is a national one as well, solutions must be found and implemented at the local level, one community at a time. Local leaders must build collaborations and coordinate services to help promote responsible fatherhood and create long-term solutions for the issues created by this crisis.”
A timeline for the Clinton County Fatherhood Initiative points to September 2016 as the start of the needs and assets assessment; November 2016 as the time frame for the first community-wide meeting; and March 2017 for finalizing the action plan.
On Monday, commissioners also:
• Approved an estimate from J-Kay Construction, LLC for a Clinton County Records & Archives remodel at $5,500.
• Recognized this week, June 20 through June 25, as Amateur Radio Week.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.