NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The New Hanover County Department of Social Services and the Child Support Office extended their Partnership for Fatherhood initiative to include a new program that focuses on the parents who don't have regular custody of their children.
Since its launch in June 2013, the program has seen a 34 percent increase in child support payments by its 89 participants who represent 142 children in New Hanover County.
The program provides educational, employment, and training services to non-custodial parents and works to foster and encourage a parent-child relationship.
"We found out that a lot of fathers weren't paying their child support [because] they didn't have a relationship with their children and so we said, 'If they have a relationship with their children, maybe then they will pay their child support because they will have a relationship and be committed to their child,'" DSS Community Services Coordinator Angelina Bernard explained.
The program was recently recognized by the 2014 North Carolina Social Services Institute and the 2014 State Child Support Conference for its innovation and service.
Bernard hopes for more success in the program's second year through two main goals: father's building better relationships with their children and connecting that to the responsibility of supporting those children financially through child support.