Scott Cade, President, NCSEA
We recently observed Memorial Day across the United States – a day we are asked to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in their military service for our country. More broadly, it is a day we honor all our service members, past and present, for their service. For me, personally, it’s a day that I think of my grandfather, Bill “Pop” Cade, who at the age of eighteen enlisted in the Marines and soon found himself in Iwo Jima as part of the 4th Marine Division. Lucky for me “Pop” made it through the war, raised four children and was a big part of his thirteen grandchildren’s lives. As I think of my good fortune to have had such a man in my life, I am reminded of the varied family situations of the children we serve through the child support program experience every day.
As a child support community we served over 15 million families through the IV-D program in 2013. The circumstances, the dynamics, and the mere definition of family for those children in our program can sometimes change by the day. How do child support professionals respond to such events? Listen to the families we are serving, communicate information, continue to learn, adapt our ways, and focus on the outcomes we are seeking to deliver. A considerable amount of information, research, and resources about serving child support families already exists. For instance, the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) recently (May 19, 2014) released a “Chirp” entitled, “OCSE military-related tools for caseworkers.” This release brings you to a Military & Veterans page on the OCSE website where useful information about working with families involving military members and veterans can be found. However, the pace of change in our families also challenges us to push ourselves to meet the continuously evolving needs of those seeking our services.
NCSEA is committed to finding ways to enhance the capacity of child support professionals serving children and families through the IV-D program. We do so through our Policy and Government Relations efforts, our on-line training (Web-Talks) program, publications to members, and through NCSEA’s two major conferences. This past February our Policy Forum theme was “Putting Policy into Action for the Modern Family.” Attendee feedback regarding the Policy Forum discussion topics and speakers was overwhelmingly positive. I am even more excited about our upcoming Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon.
The theme of our Annual Conference to be held August 11-14, 2014 is “Common Ground for the Modern Family.” Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in workshops and plenary sessions focused on innovative, timely topics in child support today. In addition to the educational sessions, attendees will have opportunities to network with child support professionals representing state, county, tribal and international programs as well as private and not-for-profit organizations involved in the delivery of child support services. I am particularly proud of the consistent support and participation we receive from our international colleagues. We are better served when attendees from around the world join their colleagues in the U.S. to explore real-world solutions to improve services to today’s modern family.
We are also introducing two new program features at our Annual Conference this year: NCSEA U, a specialized professional development program for current and future leaders in the child support community; and Solutions Showcase, which provides opportunities for Sponsors and Exhibitors to demonstrate their latest solutions, innovations and techniques contributing to improvements in child support service..
Memorial Day 2014 has passed, but my fond memories of “Pop” remain as do the challenges child support professionals face every day addressing the issues posed by those families seeking child support services. Let NCSEA know how you think we can further support your efforts to make a difference in the lives of families.