STEUBENVILLE - The Jefferson County Job and Family Services child support division has seven caseworkers who handle more than 6,000 cases a year.
That can result in a lot of telephone calls from parents wanting to know if a child support payment has been received and when the money will be forwarded to them.
The state Job and Family Services has developed a web portal where parents can now check online for such information.
WEB HELP — The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has developed a web portal to help with child support in the state. Recipients and payees can use the site to track payments and other services. Marsha Morris, Jefferson County Job and Family Services child support supervisor, demonstrates how a client can log onto the system. - Mark Law
Phase one of the Internet service has been available since Jan. 20 but publicity about the site has been kept to a minimum to give the system a chance to get up and running, said Marsha Morris, the county's child support supervisor.
Morris said a client will need to have access to the Internet and an e-mail address to log in and set up an account. The user will need his or her case number and a password established by the client.
Phase one will include information on employment, health insurance and payment history. Child support caseworkers can't access the computer information but will have printouts that can be used to assist clients with questions about their accounts.
Phase two will allow clients to update information and caseworkers will be able to validate the information. The site in the future also will include information on when court hearings are scheduled concerning child support payments, she said.
Elizabeth Ferron, county Job and Family Services director, said she is hoping the Internet system will alleviate telephone calls to caseworkers so they can concentrate on paperwork and getting cases processed.
Ferron said the the agency gets a large amount of calls from clients inquiring if a child support payment was received and when a check will be sent out or the payment uploaded onto the clients' E/Quick pay card.
"This will be a real positive," Ferron said.
She added it will make a difference even if one-third of the 6,000 clients use the web portal to check on information.
Both payees and payers can set up accounts for child support and alimony. A printout of up to two years of payments is available, which helps at tax time, Morris said.
The child support division monthly handles about $935,000 in payments.
The website for the child support portal is www.jfs.ohio.gov/ocs and then click on child support customer service web portal.