Contact: Kari Nye
Operation Reconciliation also connected parents to job-training program that facilitates employment, financial independence, and the ability to make consistent child support payments
Baltimore— On Feb. 4, the Department of Human Resources—Maryland’s human services agency—and several of its partners, extended a legal reconciliation opportunity to nearly 700 parents with outstanding bench warrants for child support noncompliance in Baltimore City. Operation Reconciliation, an initiative led by DHR, the Baltimore City Office of Child Support Services, Office of the Baltimore City Sheriff, and the Baltimore City Circuit Court, resolved 96 outstanding warrants on Saturday and an additional 120 warrants prior to the day’s event. Parents also had the opportunity onsite to enroll in a job-driven pilot program known as STEP Up (Supporting, Training, and Employing Parents)
STEP Up, whose passage at the legislative level in 2016 was led by Delegate Samuel Rosenberg, District 41, offers free job-training and support services to help noncustodial parents in Baltimore City jumpstart their careers in industries that include welding, bioinformatics, and hospitality. The program represents a unique opportunity to obtain job-training and employment, develop financial independence, and earn forgiveness for child support arrears owed to the State of Maryland.
“DHR is committed to helping individuals find pathways to economic independence,” said DHR Acting Secretary Gregory James. “This effort is about facilitating the tools for parents to be successful so they can support themselves and support their families.”
Staff from the entities leading Operation Reconciliation coordinated the event to ensure that all parents received the legal and social support services that they were seeking. In addition to lifting relevant bench warrants and assigning new hearing dates, Operation Reconciliation offered optional paternity testing and referrals to needed supportive services. Parents departed the courthouse without the stress of an open arrest warrant, and with options for moving forward.
DHR—the Maryland Department of Human Resources—is the state’s primary social service provider, serving more than one million people annually. Through its 24 local departments of social services, DHR aggressively pursues opportunities to assist people in economic need, provide preventive services, and protect vulnerable children and adults in each of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City. Additional information may be found at www.dhr.maryland.gov, or on Facebook and Twitter.