Office of Child Support hosts Family Funfest
— The Caroline County Office of Child Support hosted its seventh annual Family Funfest on Friday, Aug. 4, in downtown Denton, handing out backpacks full of school supplies to local children amongst a festival that also included food, games, pony rides, crafts and a basketball tournament.
The event has been held every August the last seven years as part of Child Support Awareness Month, and grows bigger every year, thanks to partnerships with the Caroline County Department of Social Services and more than two dozen other local nonprofits, agencies and businesses.
“This is important for us because it’s Child Support Awareness Month,” said Melissa Jones-Harris, child support lead supervisor with the Department of Social Services. “We serve custodial and non-custodial parents, but it’s the kids who get caught in the middle.”
Any local child was eligible to receive a backpack full of grade-appropriate school supplies, Jones-Harris said. More than 1,000 backpacks were prepared; they and the supplies were donated or budgeted for purchase by the Office of Child Support.
A big push was made this year to promote the event through social media, Jones-Harris said, contributing to the record attendance.
A hashtag contest was also hosted for participants, she said; anyone who posted a photo of the event on social media using a specified hashtag could win a $20 Royal Farms gift card.
Delmarva Community Transit provided buses to bring residents from the northern end of the county, while Executive Transportation did so for southern Caroline County residents, Jones-Harris said..
The three-on-three basketball tournament was run by men who volunteer with the Office of Child Support’s fatherhood programs, said Dina Daly, executive director of the Department of Social Services.
“(The Office of Child Support) is trying to be agents of change,” Daly said. “It’s not just about enforcement, but helping fathers engage in their kids’ lives.”
The Caroline County Public Library, one of many local nonprofits, agencies and businesses that partnered with the Office of Child Support to put on Family Funfest, let kids pick out free books.