The Delaware Division of Child Support will begin referring men behind in child support to the Remanned Project Inc., a Wilmington nonprofit devoted to helping men who feel hopeless find their footing.
The ultimate goal is to help the men who want to participate improve their lives and the lives of their children while they work to meet their obligations under court-ordered child support.
The move, announced Tuesday, is through the DCSS Delaware Fatherhood Program, It assists parents in finding resources and tools leading to career employment with the goal of increasing parents’ self-sufficiency, while encouraging improved emotional, parental, and financial involvement in the lives of their children.
The state has signed a memorandum of understanding with The ReManned Project, a coaching and consulting group specializing in personal and leadership development, that will allow it to see specific child support case information and next-step child support services, said Theodore Mermigos, the director of the Division of Child Support Services.
Men who are behind in their payments often don’t feel like they have a way to find information that will help them navigate the child support system and deal with child support obligations, Mermigos said.
The state hopes Remanned will help bridge that communication gap by building trust in the child support program, he said.
“This is done by providing positive reinforcement and resources to navigate challenges faced because of incarceration, violence or poverty,” Mermigos said.
Remanned offers a curriculum geared toward males ages 25 and older and requires completion of a minimum of 48 sessions over a period of 24 weeks. The sessions include mentoring, coaching and training.
No money is involved in the contract with Remanned, but Mermigos said that if funding became available, the memorandum would be renegotiated.
Mermigos said the partnership should allow both Remanned and the state to improve outreach and information-sharing about the supports and services to underserved fathers in Delaware.
The Division of Child Support is planning on providing child support orientations to non-custodial parents/fathers in the ReManned Project.
Mermigos said the Child Support division is always looking for new or improved ways to communicate with and help non-custodial parents with their child support situations.
Dr. Donald Morton, CEO of the ReManned Project, said his organization and the Fatherhood Program share a mutual commitment to the development and support of non-custodial and custodial fathers who desire to enjoy a fulfilling and loving relationship with their children.
“We are excited to be in partnership with a program that is committed to changing a narrative that suggests enforcement is more important than service,” he said in a press release.
Any non-custodial parent seeking assistance with paying their child support can participate in the Delaware Fatherhood Program by contacting DCSS at 302- 577-7171. For more information about The ReManned Project Inc., contact 800-216-7604.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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