A Tradition of Success: Omaha Child Support Services Turns 20
On April 1, 2021, the YoungWilliams Omaha child support office will celebrate twenty years of providing innovative child support services. In Federal Fiscal Year 2020, the office collected $63,729,347 for Nebraska families.
The Omaha office has about 35 percent of the Nebraska child support caseload. YoungWilliams understands how important child support is to families. It has a history of using innovative methods to get support to families as quickly as possible. Early on, the Omaha office recognized the value of technology. Kelly Lamson, Regional Vice President for YoungWilliams, has been with the Omaha office since 2001. She initially served as the Legal Director. She and her attorneys used CS Legal, a YoungWilliams-created management program, to create a standardized process for legal work.
“Twenty years ago, CS Legal was a game changer as a tool to manage our legal caseload,” she said. “I remember many discussions with Rob (Wells, President of YoungWilliams) about future enhancements and his ideas for a workflow system that could be applied to all aspects of child support casework.”
YoungWilliams is currently rolling out Y-Trac, its latest technology for organizing and prioritizing work. “We’ve come so far with all of our Y-Trac capabilities,” said Lamson. “I can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings.”
Technology isn’t the only thing that has changed. Mike Tatten, Omaha’s Project Manager, noted the philosophy of setting child support has changed for the better. “The concept of entering ‘right-sized’ support obligations has also become more and more prevalent over the years. When I first started in child support over 16 years ago, I would try to enter the highest support amount possible. I now realize the more effective approach is to enter support based off a parent’s actual earnings and ability to pay.”
Tatten said entering right-sized orders contributes to Omaha’s high rate of collections. Parents with a realistic amount of current support due can also pay down any overdue support.
The Omaha office fosters relationships with Omaha parents outside the office. It has a long-standing relationship with the fatherhood program run by Omaha Healthy Start, 24/7 Fathers. The collaboration with the Omaha office began in 2005 when the program was known as Fathers for a Lifetime. Participants receive job skills training such as resume writing and interviewing, assistance with transportation, and help addressing their financial obligations such as child support. Child support employees meet with participants to explain how establishing paternity and child support, enforcing child support orders, and modifying existing child support orders works. Fathers can ask questions and get additional information.
Additional community partners include ReConnect, Inc., the Nebraska Department of Corrections, College of Saint Mary, Metro Community College, and The New Beginning Project.
The Omaha office will celebrate with its employees on April 1. It is planning a bigger event later in the summer.