New York City and 12 Counties to Participate in Pilot Program Focused on Ensuring Safe Access to Child Support Services
Child Support is Often Critical to Helping Survivors of Domestic Violence Achieve Economic Independence
The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence today announced that more than $350,000 has been awarded to New York State to implement comprehensive services for victims and survivors of domestic violence who need assistance accessing child support. The funding will enable OTDA's Child Support Services program to work with New York City and 12 counties on developing and testing new approaches to ensuring all New Yorkers can safely pursue child support.
"The work supported by this funding will enhance safety and economic stability, and help survivors leave and stay away from an abusive relationship," said Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz. "Being able to safely access child support is an especially important component of achieving financial independence for domestic violence survivors."
"Financial stability is one of the biggest barriers to living a life free from abuse, and too may survivors are forced to stay with an abusive partner because they can't afford to leave," said Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Executive Director Kelli Owens. "Many abusive partners know victims rely on child support and use that as a way to control them. All systems and services in New York State should be safe to access, especially when that service impacts the ability of families to live without domestic violence. This funding will help develop stronger policies and innovative strategies to help more survivors safely access child support so they can begin to build financial independence."
The announcement comes during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which serves as an opportunity to highlight this important issue and raise awareness while continuing to support domestic violence survivors.
New York was one of 13 sites nationwide to recently receive funding through a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families' Safe Access for Victims' Economic Security (SAVES) demonstration grant. The overall goal of the grant is to increase safe access to child support and related services for victims and survivors of domestic violence.
With this funding, several critical stakeholders will be brought together to develop revised policies, processes and training that ensures all parents, especially domestic violence survivors, can safely seek child support services.
The following local child support units have been selected to be part of a related pilot program that will implement and test the effectiveness of the revisions over the next five years: Albany, Chautauqua, Clinton, Erie, Fulton, Monroe, Oneida, Onondaga, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Sullivan, and Wayne counties, and New York City.
This effort will involve the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and experts from the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, working collaboratively with local partners and others to help develop and implement comprehensive policies and procedures for:
- Establishing paternity
- Implementing child support and visitation orders
- Modifying and enforcing existing orders
- Connecting victims/survivors to essential support services
- Identifying and mitigating disparities in access caused by victimization
- Adopting case management strategies to manage interactions with parents who have used violence
New York City and the other selected counties will then implement these changes as part of a pilot project to test their effectiveness and make further adjustments as needed. Find more information on New York's Child Support Services program at https://childsupport.ny.gov.
For the past 30 years, OPDV has remained the country's only Cabinet level agency dedicated to the issue of gender-based violence. The agency's mission is to improve New York State's response to and prevention of domestic and sexual violence with the goal of enhancing the safety of all New Yorkers in their intimate relationships through policy, programming, and public awareness. OPDV also works with local providers to ensure the statewide service delivery system is survivor-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive.
New York State's Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline provides free, confidential support 24/7 and is available in most languages: 800-942-6906 (call), 844-997-2121 (text) or @opdv.ny.gov (chat). Individuals also can visit www.ovs.ny.gov/connect to find a victim assistance program in their community.