Of­fice of Child Sup­port hosts Fam­ily Fun­fest

Times-Record - - Front Page - By ABBY AN­DREWS aan­drews@car­o­line­times­record.com

— 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.”

PHOTO BY ABBY AN­DREWS

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.

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