Department of Child Support Services: Building relationships for a brighter future

July 9, 2019

Dcss National City Office Fcs Room

San Diego County’s Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) serves diverse communities and builds relationships for a brighter future. Here Bryanna Fornerod, Supervising Child Support Officer, Communications & Outreach tells us more about this important agency. 

men at computer Tell us a bit about what DCSS does. What services do you offer?

The core services include: helping parents establish a legal parental relationship with their children, and the establishment and enforcement child support, health insurance and other support orders. This includes:

  • Helping parents obtain court orders and/or enforcing existing orders
  • Collecting and distributing child support payments
  • Modifying child support orders to ensure they are always “right-size” for the family’s circumstances
  • Connections to community partners that offer services aimed at breaking down barriers associated with intergenerational poverty
  • Locating the other parent
  • Free genetic testing

Can you talk about some of the links between your work and workforce development?

DCSS is committed to building relationships that serve the diverse communities throughout San Diego and ensure families have the support they need to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency.  If there is a court-ordered monetary payment, the parents need to have a means of earning an income. Some folks need help in that area, and that is ok because we partner with workforce development agencies, such as the San Diego Workforce Partnership, to ensure we make a direct connection between parents working with DCSS and opportunities for employment and/or employment supporting services. It is our goal for each individual or family we work with to thrive and that is achieved when living wage opportunities are within reach.

Michelle at front deskWhat do you wish the community knew about the DCSS?

We are here to help. Not just in our Escondido, Kearny Mesa, and National City offices, but throughout the county.  By following @SanDiegoChildSupport on Facebook and YouTube, followers will receive information about the 20 different locations we serve countywide and all the great partners we have on-site at our three office locations. 

If you have a case with us and need help, give us a call or text. Maybe the order for child support needs to be reviewed for modification, or maybe the individual needs connecting with other services. At DCSS, we are committed to providing person and family centered support that start with the people, not the agency. I think this is best demonstrated by several of our own programs that aren’t directly related to enforcing child support orders.

Some examples include:

  • The High School Diploma Program offered by DCSS in collaboration with the County Library allows adults who never earned their high school diploma to do so completely online, and for free. If they don’t have a computer or internet we can help with that too. For more information, call 858-650-5329, email DCSSHighSchoolProgram@sdcounty.ca.gov or text (619) 637-9860.
  • Each of our offices includes a Here to Help Hub, which is a community space that is open to the public and contains computers, printers, internet and phones for use at no cost. We also have a regular schedule of community partners that come on-site to provide services to the public, making our Here to Help Hubs a great space to one-stop-shop for resources.
  • Parents Invest in Education (PIE)  is another DCSS program that demonstrates our passion for supporting workforce development. We have partnered with ScholarShare to offer a pathway for parents to sign up for a tax-deferred 529 college savings plan that can be used at trade schools, vocational programs, community colleges and four-year universities to cover expenses such as tuition, fees, books/supplies and housing. Through this collaboration, eligible parents are given the opportunity to reduce the child support debt they owe by contributing to their child’s 529 account. To learn more or get started, call (858) 650-5329 or email DCSSPIE@sdcounty.ca.gov.

How do you see DCSS impacting the individuals you serve?

Ensuring that child support orders are right-sized for the family’s circumstances provides consistent child support payments that can be relied on as a vital source of income for the families we serve.

But the most significant impact comes from supporting individual growth and development. We cannot succeed if the individuals or families we serve are struggling in any area and want DCSS to be viewed as a place to turn for help. To accomplish this, we have established partnerships with providers of jobs, childcare, free legal assistance, conviction relief for justice-involved, education and more.

Whatever their need, we are here to help.