CN Child Support Services celebrates 10 years

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/11/2017 04:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation Child Support Services customer service representative Tahnee Burr, left, visits with case specialist Sammie Gandy. Established in 2007, the tribe’s Child Support Services office collects on average more than $4 million per year for Cherokee children and families. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation’s Child Support Services recently celebrated the office’s 10th anniversary.

Established in 2007, the Child Support Services office collects on average more than $4 million per year for Cherokee children and families.

Child Support Services Director Kara Whitworth said the program has changed a lot in the past 10 years and now operates with the whole picture in mind.

“When we opened our doors, the goal was focused on providing the basic child support services within our Cherokee communities. But our staff realized that child support is more than just collecting money,” Whitworth said. “It is about ensuring the family members involved in each household we serve are provided information and resources that assist with more than just child support assistance.”

In addition to child support enforcement, Child Support Services staff now assesses each family’s individual needs and makes suggestions on tribal programs or trainings that would be beneficial.

One program offered to participants is a specialized training called CN Building Blocks. The course educates parents on key issues like child support, legal responsibility, communication skills and more.

“Our services go beyond traditional child support. Each caseworker not only gets to know the families, but they assess any other needs they may have that can be addressed by the tribe, like child care subsidy, school clothing assistance and housing assistance,” said Whitworth.

Child Support Services has offices in Catoosa, Jay, Pryor, Sallisaw and Stilwell, with the main office located at 1525 Ketcher St. in Tahlequah.

For more information, call 918-453-5444.

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