Friday, September 5, 2008

National Recognition for County Child Support Efforts

One of the most challenging responsibilities we shoulder as a County is to enforce child support obligations by parents.

In one way, our job is simple: support the needs of children by enforcing the law. This can mean coming down hard on deadbat dads who are ignoring their responsibilities.

At the same time, it gets complicated because we know that simply locking people up for child support problems is not only expensive (and uses limited jailspace), but for those without means, it also will not likely lead to either gainful employment or the ultimate payment of child support. Indeed, it may push payments back even further, harming the child we're trying to help.

Like a lot of other issues in our criminal justice system, this requires a common sense balance, with a constant eye on the ultimate goal: supporting the children.

Given this challenge, it was great to see Hamilton County receive national recognition, by the National Association of Counties, for our efforts in this area:

In particular, the article highlighted innovative efforts we have made 1) to identify parents who owe child support, 2) to enforce payment through a range of tools, and 3) to connect parents to job training and gainful employment that will allow them to meet their obligations.

This third issue is a new approach I am excited about: The Seek Work program is a new effort that connects unemployed or "under"-employed people who owe child support to our Super Jobs Center (which, as described below, has had wonderful results recently). Once there, they have the opportunity to find the work that will help them pay their obligation. Obviously, the more people who we can get on this path, the better.

The national attention on our efforts is great. But far more important, this common sense, balanced approach should help kids get the support they need and deserve.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Recycling Efforts Showing Promise

An amazing statistic I heard at a conference earlier this summer: Americans discard enough aluminum (which otherwise could be recycled) to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet every 3 months! That's an incredible number. And one we need to reduce drastically.

Well, Hamilton County is doing our share. For the first half of 2008 versus 2007, we increased our recyclables by 10 percent. As the Enquirer explains, "that's like recycling the weight of 114 school buses." Mt Healthy's recycling was up a whopping 77 percent!

And we're not stopping there.

Just yesterday, we approved the implementation of a grant we received for a pilot program in Montgomery, a partnership which rewards recycling in that community with all sorts of incentives (from local stores and businesses, etc.). Citizens there will have large, recycle-easy Tote carts that track, electronically, each household's recycling amounts.

We'll keep track of the results, and see what Countywide application this innovative approach might bring.

In the meantime, (as I look at two empty diet coke cans), recycle, recycle, recycle. We've got a lot of planes to build.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Thoughts and Prayers with Louisiana and Texas

Three years ago, we all watched tragedy slowly but ruthlessly unfold with Hurricane Katrina. Let's hope and pray Mother Nature spares our fellow citizens the worst today, and that all in government learned from the mistakes back then.

The evacuation, at least, seemed far better planned and executed.

In the meantime, I always find the best way to help from afar is to give directly to the Red Cross. You can do so at
Free Blog CounterEnglish German Translation