Moving from poverty to security and opportunity

BAFF Child SupportHow can we work together to increase personal financial security, address poverty and create economic opportunity? OSU Extension – University District, in collaboration with the Ohio CDC Association and Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, has joined the Building Assets for Fathers and Families (BAFF) initiative. Ohio is one of seven states selected to pilot this initiative. Because OSU Extension is an Assets For Independence (AFI) site, we’ve been selected to provide financial education training and counseling to area residents. The BAFF initiative is designed to connect existing asset building services with non-custodial parents, especially fathers, who have been ordered by Franklin County courts to pay child support. Parents who successfully complete the program become eligible for driver license reinstatement or review and adjustment.

According to The Shriver Report:  A Women’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink (2014), 1 of 3 American women with children under the age of 18 live in or on the brink of poverty. Furthermore, 2 out of 3 women consider themselves the primary breadwinner of the family. These statistics demonstrate the essential role of child support payments and programs.

BAFF IDAOSU Extension is able to provide supportive services to Franklin County BAFF participants in collaboration with community, civic, corporate, collegiate and church partners. These programs and services include Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), which can be used towards the purchase of a home, business or higher education. Moreover, they are able to gain access to other valuable programs, services and resources including, but not limited to:  banking, GED, employment, public benefits and much more!

Not only does OSU Extension offer financial literacy training and counseling in the community, but the programming has been extended to Pickaway Correctional Institute inmates who are non-custodial parents and preparing for reintegration into society. Susan Colbert and Lois McCampbell, located in OSU Extension’s University District, are facilitating the program, which consists of four (2-hour) financial literacy workshops offered once a week for four consecutive weeks. The program offers inmates who reside in Franklin County (and have been ordered by the courts to pay child support) an array of skills that can help build a collaborative relationship between the child support agency and fathers with children. This program will provide tools to build personal financial development, credit education, positive child support financial counseling, home buying education, college pursuit directives, driver’s license reinstatement, establish paternity servicing, job preparation and more. The program has been well received by PCI officials and inmates!

(Submitted by Susan Colbert, Program Director, University District)

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