Saturday, March 18, 2017

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Astorino calls for expanding program for non-custodial dads

MOUNT VERNON – Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino is calling for expanding the Department of Social Services pilot program that helps non-custodial fathers get back into the lives of their children through a combination of life skills, parenting, employment training and other benchmarks in exchange for help with debt owed to the state for child support arrears.

Currently, the program only allows fathers to participate if they have court ordered child support obligations and who owe arrears to the Department of Social Services.

Back in April 2016, the county executive launches the R.E.A.L. (Responsible, Employed, Active, Loving) parent program. The hallmark of the program is a 10-week, twice a day, two hours a day, life skills, parenting skills, and employment skills training course.

When the dads compete the program successfully, they receive a 25 percent reduction in the DSS arrears they owe the state. They also receive help finding a job and if they can stay gainfully employed for 90 days, they get another 25 percent reduction. If they pay their support responsibilities for a year their total payment drops to $500.

There are 25 fathers enrolled in the program.


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