Questions and Answers

Benefit Recovery

What is an overpayment?

An overpayment exists any time a recipient receives more government benefits than they are eligible to receive. All government benefits have strict guidelines that draw the line between those who are eligible and those who are not, plus, at what level they are eligible.

What causes an overpayment?

There are three different causes of overpayments:

  • Agency error- This occurs any time the agency fails to act timely to process a change that a recipient has reported or as a result of policy language. [example: Ohio Works First cash assistance requires a negative change to be effective the 1st day of the month following the date of change. However, the JCDJFS must give the recipient 15 days to review the changes and request a hearing should they disagree prior to actually implementing the change. As a result, the month following the change may be an overpayment depending on the date a change occurred. Under these circumstances there is no fault assessed to the recipient.]
  • Inadvertent household error- This occurs any time a recipient reports a change but does not report it within the 10 days as required from the date the change occurred.
  • Intentional Program Violation- This occurs any time a recipient fails to report a change, conceals information, reports half truths, or deliberately gives false statement in order to receive basic or a greater amount of government benefits.

Who must pay back an overpayment?

The Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Services is responsible for recovery of all over paid benefits regardless of the cause. Federal and State law requires that over paid government benefits be recovered even if the recipient disclosed all information properly and timely, yet for what ever reason received a greater amount of benefit then which they were eligible to receive.

How can one repay his or her overpayment?

There are three primary methods of repayment, they are:

  • Cash, money order, or bank draft [we can not accept personal checks, per the request of the Jefferson County Treasurer], payments may be mailed or paid in person at 125 South Fifth Street, Steubenville, Ohio. When paying by cash exact change is required by the Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Services.
  • If you are an active recipient, you may have your payments withheld from your future government benefits.
  • If you owe back government benefits and your payments are delinquent, your Federal and/or State tax refund may be diverted to the Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Services as payment on your delinquent account.

What is Welfare Fraud?

Welfare fraud has been committed when an individual has deliberately made false statements, concealed information, or intentionally omitted information relating to their eligibility or the eligibility of individuals who are required to be a member of their assistance group-programs include, Food Stamps, Ohio Work First cash and medical, PRC, Medicaid, Child Support, and Child Care. Also, a child care provider who bills for services that were never provided or were provided by a person other than the child care provider. Another example of welfare fraud includes a day care recipient who uses services when he or she is not in school or at work.

What punishment can I expect if I commit welfare fraud?

Punishment will vary from program to program, however, some examples are listed below:

  • All individuals suspected of committing fraud and/or Intentional Program Violations are referred to the Jefferson County Prosecutor for review and processing of criminal charges. Individuals that are processed through the Criminal Justice System receive penalties as ordered by the Judge and established by State and Federal law. For example, court ordered full restitution of benefits, jail time, probation, etc.
  • If one has been found to have committed fraud and/or an Intentional Program Violation under the Food Stamp Program, the guilty individual is not allowed to receive Food Stamps anywhere in the United States for a period of not less then 12 months and up to life depending on the circumstances of the offense and if it is the first, second, or third offense.
  • If one has been found to have committed fraud and/or an Intentional Program Violation under the Ohio Works First/TANF cash assistance program, the guilty individual and his/her entire assistance group, including all children, are not allowed to receive Ohio Works First/TANF cash assistance anywhere in the United States until the overpaid government benefit has been repaid in full.
  • If one has been found to have committed fraud and/or an Intentional Program Violation under the day care program, the guilty individual [Provider and/or Recipient] are not allowed to receive day care assistance or payment anywhere in the United States until the overpaid government benefit has been repaid in full.

How does one get caught committing welfare fraud?

The two most common ways are:

  • Anonymous reports from citizens who have knowledge of the false act (family, friends, neighbors, associates, co-workers, patrons/customers, etc.). Honest citizens who witness or believe they have witnessed welfare fraud call in, mail letters, or send e-mails with information they believe to be pertinent to the individual's eligibility. This action is known as a complaint. It is not necessary to give your name or any information about yourself when filing a complaint, however, it is important that as much information as possible be given about the individual who is believed to be committing welfare fraud. Such valuable information includes the type of act, how long the act has been going on, who does the act involve, how you became aware of the act, and any other details that are known.
  • Computer matching of government systems, such as, but not limited to: Internal Revenue Service, State Department of Taxation, motor vehicle registrations, unemployment offices, Bureau of Workers Compensation, Veterans Affairs Office, Social Security Administration, birth and death records, court records (criminal and civil), property records, welfare records from other states, Child Support Enforcement Agency records, etc.

How can someone report possible welfare fraud?

By calling the Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Services and asking to speak with an investigator in the Benefit Recovery Department or by simply by telling the Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Services operator that you want to "report fraud."

Send a written note/letter to the Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Services, 125 South Fifth Street, Steubenville, Ohio 43952 Attn: Benefit Recovery Department.

Send an e-mail to Sondra Biacco or any member of management listed on our home page.

Stop in our agency at 125 South Fifth Street, Steubenville, Ohio, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If I report someone for welfare fraud, how will I know the results of what happens?

You may never know what action has been taken, only criminal prosecutions become public record. You would need to watch the newspapers for court reports of Grand Jury indictments or criminal convictions. The usual charges are, but not limited to, Tampering with Records or Falsification. All other actions are confidential and the Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Services can not tell you the results.

How can one avoid an overpayment?

Report all changes in circumstances to your worker within 10 days.

Let your assigned worker decide if the information you provide makes a change to your benefit, do not listen to those who do not work with your case such as neighbors or friends.

Request a receipt for all documents that you submit to the Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Services [this is your proof that you provided all necessary information to the agency] and if you did so in a timely manner.

Call your worker if your benefits go unchanged after you reported a change in your circumstances.

Know to whom you give information [in person or via telephone] by asking the Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Services employee for their name. Keep a written record of the persons with whom you have spoken with.

Give complete and accurate information to your worker at all times and do not omit information.

Let your worker know in advance if you have a change coming, example: you are expecting a settlement from a car accident, etc.

Tell your worker about any benefit that you have applied for but have not yet received, example: awaiting approval of unemployment benefits, etc.

Above all, be truthful.

Who gets hurt when welfare fraud is committed?

Everyone loses. Fraud affects everyone. Fraud decreases the resources available to the programs. Residents living near or below the poverty level, who would have otherwise been qualified for the program may be excluded because of a lack of resources. Fraud reduces the quality of benefits as Federal and State governments decrease services in other areas or raise taxes.

Child Support


When is paternity establishment necessary?

Paternity should be established for all children whose parents were not married to each other when the child was born.

What are the benefits of establishing paternity?

Establishing paternity carries numerous advantages for both the mother and the child:

  • Financial assistance from child support collections.
  • Access to medical insurance benefits and other legal entitlements such as Social Security benefits, disability benefits, inheritance and pension and veterans' benefits.
  • Providing the child with a sense of identity and family heritage.
  • Strengthens the social and psychological bonds between a father and his child.
  • Completes the child's biological/medical history.

What is the easiest way to have paternity established on my child?

If you are currently pregnant and facing an out-of-wedlock birth, you can contact the social worker at your prospective hospital for more information concerning in-hospital, paternity establishment (post delivery) through completion of the Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit. This is the quickest method available for paternity establishment. However, in order to go this route, the baby's father must be willing to cooperate and must sign the affidavit.

How do I request paternity establishment through the CSEA?

If you are receiving Ohio Works First (OWF) benefits, the Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Services will automatically refer your case to the CSEA for paternity establishment. If you are not receiving OWF benefits and are interested in pursuing paternity establishment and receiving follow-on child support services, you can request that an application form be mailed to you by calling the agency at 282-0961, and asking for the Child Support Office.

How will I be notified when the agency is ready to proceed with paternity establishment on my case?

The custodial parent and alleged father will receive certified genetic testing notices naming place, date and time of testing.

Can paternity be established without having genetic testing?

Yes. If testing has been scheduled, testing will be cancelled, and you and the alleged father may both agree to sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit. Once this happens, each party has 60 days to reconsider and file a notice to rescind their acknowledgment. If no written objections are received during this 60-day period, the paternity action becomes final. If the parties elect to establish paternity through acknowledgment and the birth certificate on the child has already been filed, there is a section on the paternity affidavit which may be completed to effect a name change for the child.

How is genetic testing done?

The genetic testing process is simple and painless. Sponge-like swabs are rolled across the cheek area on the inside of the mouth to collect buccal cell samples. These samples are then sent out to a lab where the DNA material is analyzed. This test will show whether the man who is alleged to be the father is really the biological father of the child.

If I am ordered to undergo genetic testing, who pays for this test?

Genetic testing is paid for by the State of Ohio.

How long must I wait before finding out the results of the genetic tests?

Genetic test results are usually available within 2 to 3 weeks.

Will it be necessary to attend any hearing or appear in court after the administrative paternity order becomes final?

When the order becomes final, the issue of paternity is resolved. A hearing or court appearance on this issue is no longer necessary. However, if the mother and father are not living together with the child as a family, it will be necessary to schedule a hearing at the CSEA so that a child support order can be issued.

When will this administrative support hearing be scheduled?

The administrative hearing is scheduled for a date no later than 60 days from issuance of the administrative paternity order and no earlier than 30 days after the date the administrative officer gives the custodial parent and alleged father notice of the administrative hearing. Those who have elected to sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit will be notified by mail regarding the date of the administrative support hearing. For those who have been ordered to undergo genetic testing, administrative support hearing notifications will be mailed out along with the results of their genetic tests.

How do I get my child's birth certificate changed by adding the father and/or changing the child's last name?

If acknowledgment is signed, the father will be added to the birth certificate (if child was born in Ohio), and section will be completed for name change of child. Once genetic testing shows paternity establishment, CSEA can complete the form that is sent to Columbus to change the child's birth certificate (if child was born in Ohio).

Legal Department of CSEA:

I understand my case is now in your Legal Department being prepared for court. When will I get a court date?

Court dates are determined by a variety of factors. In certain types of cases, we can't get a court date until we get "service of process" on the other party. In other types of cases, we get a court date when the case is filed. Then, if we are unable to get service of process on the other party, the case can be continued a few times to allow us to obtain service. Bottom line–the CSEA does not decide what your court date will be. All court dates are set as time is available on the court calendar.

So, you're taking my case into court. Why do I have to put in an appearance at this hearing?

You are the best source of information concerning your case. Your testimony may be critical to the material issues at hand.

But, the obligor is not paying the ordered child support. Doesn't that prove that this person is in contempt?

The nonpayment of support will certainly be evidence supporting that contention. However, the obligor is not in contempt until such time as the court rules on the contempt motion which will be put forward by the CSEA attorney. The obligor may present defenses of which only you may have knowledge enough to prove of disprove.

The other party has already been found to be in contempt of court in this matter and he (or she) still is not paying. Why can't he (or she) just be arrested and put in jail?

Our judicial system affords the other party the right to present evidence in their own behalf. The contempt hearing is held for just this purpose. At this hearing, the court will decide whether or not to impose the jail sentence.

Since the other party is not paying child support, can I curtail their visitation privileges?

If visitation has been ordered, you do not have the legal right to withhold visitation. Issues on visitation, custody, and shared parenting are separate from support.

I'm paying my child support, but the other party is not allowing me visitation. Can I stop paying my child support?

No! If visitation was ordered, you will need to engage a private attorney to file a motion against the other party who would be in contempt of the visitation order.

Does the CSEA staff attorney represent me when I go to court?

No. The CSEA attorney does not represent either party. They are representing the child support agency for the support of the child(ren).

When I go to court do I need to have an attorney present?

That is strictly your decision. You can either have legal representation or represent yourself.

Is it important to read all the legal documents I receive? Sometimes I don't understand what it's stating.

Yes. It is important to read through every page. You need to know what the court is stating about your case and what you're responsible for. By not reading the papers you can miss out on very important information and time frames. If you don't understand the contents of the papers, you can either contact your attorney or the child support agency to assist you.

What would happen if I object to the decision made by the court?

You will need to contact the court to file an objection. This should be done when you receive the Magistrate's Decision. You have 14 days in which to object.


Who can request an administrative adjustment review of a child support order?

Any CSEA client may request that their case be reviewed for adjustment in the amount of the child support obligation. However, in order to be eligible for this review, you must be enrolled for Title IV-D services and your support order must be at least three years old. If your last support order is less than three years old, we can only perform a review of your case if one of the following criteria has been met (appropriate documentation will be required):

  • If either party to the case has experienced a 30% change in income and that change is expected to last or has lasted for at least six months.
  • If the obligor was under-employed or unemployed at the time the order was set and now has a full-time job.
  • If either party has been non-voluntarily unemployed for a period of at least six months.
  • If the obligor is permanently disabled. The CSEA will require medical verification of the disabling condition.
  • If the current support award is a deviation from the Child Support Guidelines and the reason for the deviation no longer exists.
  • If one or more of the children need to be deleted from the order because of emancipation or other reasons.

What specific situations would make my case ineligible for a review?

Any of the following circumstances would make a case ineligible for review:

  • We will not proceed with an administrative review of a case if the issue of modifying the support amount is currently pending before the court.
  • In non-IV-D cases when the requester refuses to sign the required IV-D application.
  • When the location of the obligor is unknown.
  • In cases where the underlying order is not a Jefferson County order. In these cases, however, we will assist you by forwarding your request to the appropriate agency.
  • In cases where neither party is a current resident of the State of Ohio.

How do I go about initiating an adjustment review?

In most situations, administrative adjustment reviews are initiated upon the request of either party to the case.

Which party does the agency represent during the administrative adjustment review process?

The case manager conducting the review neither represents nor advocates on behalf of either party. The case manager's job during this review is simply to recalculate the support amount in accordance with the State's current child support guidelines. It is also important to note here that the support officer conducting the review does not have the authority to deviate from Ohio's child support guidelines. If you are requesting a deviation from the guidelines, such a matter would have to be addressed in court.

What are the possible outcomes of the adjustment review process?

There are three possible outcomes to the adjustment review process. Your child support order may either increase, decrease or remain the same. Your CSEA case manager will not be able to determine what the outcome of this process will be without first having in hand the required financial information from both parties. Results of the adjustment review process will not be given out over the telephone to anyone. Both parties to the case will receive written notification of the outcome of this process by mail. If the child support amount is not changed by at least 10%, the review will be denied.

I'm on medical leave and not receiving a pay. What can I do?

Contact your case manager to discuss the options. You may have the option to request a review of your child support based on your current situation.

Can I stop the process once I've requested an adjustment review?

Any requested review can be stopped prior to its scheduled review date by submitting a written request. Once the case is reviewed, however, the CSEA has no choice but to issue its recommendation.

Do I need to be present at the review?

No. The review is not conducted in the presence of either party. This is actually an independent desk review performed by your CSEA case manager.

What happens once an adjustment review is initiated?

The following chain of events is set in motion upon initiation of an adjustment review:

  • Both parties to the case will receive a packet in the mail informing them of the review date. They will be given 45 days to return their completed packets to the CSEA.
  • If either of the parties fail to provide the requested information, the CSEA can subpoena an employer for wage verification or exercise its option to make a reasonable assumption as to that party's income. The agency can deny the administrative adjustment review request if the requesting party does not provide all required documentation.

Judicial Orders:

Once the review has been completed, the CSEA's recommendation is sent out to each party. If you disagree with our findings, you will have 14 days to object to our recommendation. If we receive no objections from either party, an entry will be filed with the court and your support order will be adjusted.

Along with the new entry, the CSEA will prepare a notice to the income provider to have the adjusted amount withheld from the obligor's pay, if appropriate. The obligee can expect to see the adjusted amount reflected in his/her child support check approximately four weeks from the filing date on the entry.

If we do, however, receive an objection to our recommendation within the 14-day period, we will schedule an administrative hearing on your case. Both parties will be notified by mail of this hearing date.

Following this administrative hearing, the parties will have 14 days (from the date of the written hearing decision) to request a court hearing should either party decide to appeal our hearing decision.

If either party requires a court hearing, the agency file will be forwarded to the court so that a court date can be set. At this point, the court will then make the decision on the correct amount of support to be paid.

Administrative Orders:

Once the administrative adjustment review has been completed, the agency will forward a copy of its recommendation to both parties via first class mail. If you disagree with our findings, you will have 30 days to object to our recommendation and request an administrative hearing. If we receive no objection from either party, then the recommendation will become the new order-no additional documentation will follow.

If an administrative hearing is conducted, the parties will have 14 days (from the date of the written hearing decision) to request a court hearing.

If either party requests a court hearing, the agency file will be forwarded to the court so that a court date can be set. At this point, the court will then make the decision on the correct amount of support to be paid.

Can I request an administrative adjustment review in order to modify my alimony/spousal support order?

The agency has no authority to modify a spousal support order, nor can the agency conduct an administrative adjustment review in order to effect a modification of the payment amount on an "arrears only" case.


When does my child support stop? Does it stop when my child graduates from high school?

According to the Ohio Law, a child emancipates when they turn 18 years of age or graduates, whichever comes last, not to exceed the 19th birthday (unless specified different in divorce decree).

When my child is graduating what do I need to do?

You should notify your case manager either by phone or in writing. Verification will be needed.

I want the support to continue while my child is in college. Can the absent parent be made to help?

Not unless it is already stated in the court papers for the support to continue after the emancipation.


My check is less this time; it never seems to be the same. Why?

This question can best be answered by contacting your case manager. Most of the time it is due to the processing fee that is added above your child support amount, but is only deducted after you receive your child support amount.

Why didn't I get a check when I know it came out of his/her pay?

If you are receiving cash (OWF) on public assistance, the support money will be sent to the state to pay back the OWF you receive. If you're not on public assistance, cash, you need to contact your case manager.

The absent parent is behind in paying child support. Can I get his/her taxes?

If the absent parent owes back support, our system will automatically submit them to the IRS for collection.

I paid my child support payment directly to the other party in my case. How can I get credit for those payments?

The CSEA will send you and the other party a form asking the dates and amounts that the support was paid. This form must be notarized. If both parties agree to the dates and amounts, the form can be sent to the court for credit on the payments. If both parties do not agree, however, then you would have to file your own motion with the court. This is why it is important to make your payments through the OCSPC so credit can be given for each payment received. Otherwise, it will be considered a gift.

Why did my money go to the state?

When a man or woman fails to make ordered child support payments (regardless of whether it is a court order, an administrative order, the result of a civil protection order, or an agreement between parties) the unpaid money accumulates. We refer to these as arrearages. If the custodial parent (the one with legal custody of the child/ren) never receives cash assistance from the state, all unpaid support will remain owed to them.

If the custodial parent receives any cash assistance, with some exceptions, current child support is assigned to The State to cover some or part of the cost of issuing cash assistance to the custodial parent. Any child support not paid while the custodial parent receives cash assistance remains permanently owed to the state, up to the total amount of cash benefits received by the custodial parent (UnReimbursed Assistance, or URA). We refer to these arrearages as permanently assigned arrears. These arrearages will remain owed to The State.

If a custodial parent happens to go off of public assistance, but then receives cash benefits at a later date, some or all of the arrearages become what we refer to as "conditionally assigned arrears." All child support arrearages up to the amount of the URA become conditionally assigned to the state. These arrears are owed to the custodial parent. However; if an obligor's federal tax refund is intercepted, these arrearages will be paid back to The State, and only from funds collected through a federal tax intercept. If the money is collected from any other source, these arrearages will be paid to the custodial parent.

Location and Out-of-State Orders:

The absent parent quit his job and moved out of state. How long does it take to locate him/her?

Our system is set up to do cross reference with the New Hire, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, IRS, etc. for cases where absent parents live in Ohio. We can also get information by contacting other states for quick locate. Information comes through almost daily and usually doesn't take very long to receive unless the absent parent continues to move around.

The absent parent lives out of state. Is it possible to get child support?

Yes. We can contact the other state and do a UIFSA process to establish or enforce a child support order.

Can the Child Support Agency make an absent parent get a job?

The CSEA cannot force an absent parent to work. Being unemployed, but employable the agency can request the Court to place a seek work order on the individual.


The mom left the children with me and money is still coming out of my pay. What can I do to stop it?

The CSEA does not get involved in custody changes and therefore, you would need to file a motion with the court. If you are on public assistance you can contact the Juvenile Court and/or your case manager for further assistance.

I know the children are no longer living with their mother and she is still getting the support. What can be done?

No matter who the child is now residing with, the obligation to pay the support is still in effect but possibly needs redirected. You would need to file a motion with the court or contact your case manager if public assistance is involved.

What if I can't afford an attorney to file a motion in Court?

You can go to your local library and request the forms to file a motion with the court. You would then be responsible for the court costs and you would represent yourself at the time of the court hearing.

CSEA Tax Offset:

What qualifies a child support case for submittal to the state and federal tax offset programs?

An obligator who owes $500 or more to the obligee or $150 or more to the Ohio Dept. of Job & Family Services (ODJFS) qualifies for the state and federal tax-offset process.

Can the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) still seize my income tax refunds if I'm making monthly payments on my arrearages?


Can the CSEA seize my income tax refunds if my children are over 18?

Yes, if the arrears are owed to the Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services.

Why does the CSEA take both my state and federal income tax refunds when my federal refund is usually large enough to pay off my arrears?

Because one entity doesn't know what amount the other entity is sending.

I just paid my arrears in full and now I get a notice saying the CSEA is going to seize my income tax refunds. Why?

This is due to the timing of the income tax filing compared to the timing of the support balance being paid in full.

Why did I just receive a tax notice with an arrears amount, but when I called my CSEA case manager, they said I had $0 arrears?

This also has to do with the timing of the tax filing and the account being paid in full.

Why is my income tax refund money on hold for six months?

Because a joint income tax return was filed.

How can my present wife get some of that refund money back that may be hers?

By filing an injured spouse form (8379) with the Internal Revenue Service.

Is there a way to get the absent parent's tax refund sooner than waiting the six month hold period if it is a joint return?

Yes, by the present wife/husband completing an injured spouse waiver form with the CSEA.

I only owe pregnancy expense arrears. Will the CSEA still take my refunds?

Yes, if those arrears are combined with child support arrears.

The obligor told me he/she got a letter saying CSEA took his/her refunds, but I haven't received them yet. Why does this take so long?

The money is sent to the Federal Office of Child Support first, then it is sent to the Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services, and then it is disbursed among all 88 Ohio counties based on tax filing reports and individual Social Security Numbers. Once the money is received by the counties and an individual return is filed, the money is released. If a joint return was filed, CSEA is required to hold the refund for six months.

Can the CSEA use my tax refunds to pay on any processing fees I may owe?


How often is a support case submitted to the tax offset lists?

A list is submitted once a year and updated each week with current balances.

When an absent parent goes off the tax offset list, is a notice generated?


Income Maintenance

Ohio Works First (OWF):

Do I have to work for OWF?

Yes. A one-parent household must complete 129 hours of a work activity per month and a two-parent household must complete a combined total of 150 hours per month.

If I work and earn income, can I still be eligible for OWF?

Yes. There are income guidelines and disregards from income.

I have custody of my grandchild(ren). Does my income affect their eligibility?

No, unless you are also applying for yourself.

How long can I receive OWF?

36 months/3 years.

How long after I apply will I receive my OWF benefits?

Once your eligibility is established your benefit will be issued within five (5) days.

Food Stamps (FS):

Do I have to work for Food Stamps?

Yes, unless you meet an exemption.

Can I have money in a checking/savings account and still be eligible for FS?

Yes. The resource limit for FS is: $2000 - unless there is an aged or disabled member then the limit is $3000.

Can I own a car and be eligible for FS?

Yes, cars are not a countable resource.

What are the income guidelines for FS eligibility?

  1. $973 gross per month
  2. $1313 gross per month
  3. $1654 gross per month
  4. $1994 gross per month
  5. $2334 gross per month

If I own my house can I still be eligible for FS?

Yes, if you live in that house.

Aged, Blind, Disabled (ABD) Medicaid:

What is a spenddown?

A spenddown is the amount of your income that exceeds the medicaid need standard. The current (2003) standard for Medicaid is:

  • $479 - Single person
  • $829 - Couple

What are the resource limits for medicaid?

  • $1500.00 - Single person
  • $2250.00 - Couple

Does my life insurance policy count towards my medicaid resource limit?

Yes. The actual cash value is countable if the face value exceeds $1500.00.

Children And Families Covered Medicaid (CFCM):

Can I use my medical card outside the state of Ohio?

Yes, if the provider accepts Ohio Medicaid.

Can Ohio Medicaid pay my past medical bills?

Yes. Ohio Medicaid can potentially pay up to three (3) months back from the date of application.

What is the age limit for my children to be Medicaid eligible?

A child has potential Ohio Medicaid eligibility until his/her 21st birthday.

If my child leaves my home temporarily for a vacation to visit his/her absent parent for the summer, or to go away to college, how does this affect Medicaid eligibility?

The child can continue Ohio Medicaid eligibility as long as his/her home remains with you.

Social Services

Child Care:

How can I apply for child care?

Call the agency, ask for the child care unit. We will mail an application packet; or you may come in person and complete the application. You must provide proof of employment or school attendance. You may return the application in person, by mail or fax.

Can I choose my own provider?

Parental choice is paramount. We will assist you by discussing our list of centers with which we have a contract or can pay by a Certificate of Authorization for Payment and our list of certified Type B in-home day care providers. If none of these choices is suitable for your specific needs, we can discuss a Parent-Provider Inspected certification.

How will I know if I'm eligible?

Eligibility is currently limited to 150% of the Federal Poverty Limit for new applicants. These figures are available from several sources, including the day care staff. Applications are encouraged, as our rules may allow for different computation methods. There is a thirty day time limit to decide if you meet eligibility criteria after we receive your application.

How can I apply to be a child care provider in my home?

You may call the child care unit for information. Valerie Schayes is the usual contact person at extension 1210. If you wish to apply, we will make the application packet available here for pick-up. The certification process takes approximately 90 days to complete.

Pregnancy Related Services:

Can I have transportation to prenatal care appointments?

Yes, medicaid eligible pregnant women can receive transportation for their medical prenatal care appointments. Contact the Social Services Unit or PRS Coordinator as soon as possible to arrange transportation and support services.

How long am I eligible for the Pregnancy Related Services?

If you remain eligible for medicaid, eligibility for Pregnancy Related Services continues throughout your pregnancy and for sixty days after your delivery. The newborn is eligible till his/her first birthday.


How can I be eligible for the LEAP Program?

You must be:

  1. A teenage parent under age 19
  2. Attending high school or GED classes
  3. Receiving OWF cash

You must complete as assessment of your goals with a LEAP worker.

Can I get help with transportation to medical appointments?

If your medical appointment is chargeable to the Medical Card, and is to a facility outside the local area and you have a referral by a local provider for a service that is not available locally and you are currently Medicaid eligible, we may be able to assist you with transportation. If you live on a bus line, are able to board the bus and the provider is on the bus line, we will not be able to assist you. If you are eligible for Prime Time, you must avail yourself of their services. You must notify us of your need at least ten days prior to the appointment. If you have a car and the insurance required to drive it, we will not be able to assist you. If you have a family member or friend available to take you, you are not eligible for transportation assistance. There may be extenuating circumstances that will change the above statements, so you are encouraged to call the Social Service Unit for information about your specific request.

Healthchek and Healthy Start:

What is Healthchek?

Healthchek is a free program for Medicaid eligible children and teens which provides:

  1. Screening - Quick, simple checks and test that show how healthy the child is.
  2. Diagnosis - A close look at any symptoms to find out what's causing them.
  3. Treatment - Proper care for any health problems that may be found.

Any child under age 21 with a medical card can get a Healthchek exam. Babies can have 8 exams before their second birthday. (These usually correspond with immunization schedules.) Older children can have one Healthchek each year. Dental checkups and treatments are included in Healthchek. The service is free. Your child's doctor may do the Healthchek exam; be sure to ask for it by name. If your doctor does not choose to do it, you may get help finding a clinic or provider by calling the Social Service Unit at JCDJFS for assistance.

Children Services / MCH

Child Abuse/Neglect:

What are the official definitions of child abuse and child neglect?

Abuse represents an action against a child. It is an act of commission and is generally characterized in three categories:

  • Physical Abuse
    • The non-accidental injury of a child.
  • Sexual Abuse
    • Any sexual activity upon or with a child.
    • The act may be for sexual gratification of the perpetrator or a third party.
  • Emotional Abuse
    • Acts which interfere with the psychological and/or social development of a child.

Neglect is failure to act on behalf of a child. It is an act of omission and is generally characterized in three categories:

  • Physical Neglect
    • Failure to meet the requirements basic to a child's physical development such as:
      • Supervision
      • Housing
      • Clothing
      • Medical Attention
      • Nutrition
      • Support
  • Emotional Neglect
    • Failure to provide the support and/or affection necessary for the child's psycological and social development.
  • Educational Neglect
    • Failure to ensure a child's opportunity to learn in a school or home environment.

At what age can a child be left at home? How long can a child be left alone?

When determining the appropriateness of leaving an older child alone, there are many factors to consider:

  • The child's age and maturity.
  • Responsibilities expected of the child.
  • The child's knowledge of safety techniques.
  • The length of time and the time of day the child is left alone.
  • The proximity and accessibility of trusted adults.

The important question to ask is, "Does the situation place the child at risk of harm?" If you are unsure, err on the side of safety.

Can I spank my child?

There is no law against spanking your child. Some parents believe a "swat on the bottom" is an effective form of discipline, and they are not considered abusive. However, there are alternatives to physical discipline that many parents find more effective than spanking.

There are laws against striking a child with sufficient force to inflict bruising, contusions, broken bones, or striking a child with an instrument such as a stick or a belt that inflicts bruising, contusions, or broken bones. That is abuse.

Services Offered:

What are the "services" that Children Services provides for children?

Staff of Children Services provides five basic categories of services to children:

  • Intake caseworkers respond to all reports of abuse and neglect. A caseworker meets with the child and family to complete a formal risk assessment. If child abuse or neglect is verified, the caseworker arranges for further agency services and may apply to the juvenile court for permission to remove the child from danger.
  • Ongoing caseworkers provide services to parents and children in their own home to help strengthen the family unit and promote good child care. The caseworker devises a case plan which sets specific goals for the family. Services include counseling, information referral, and mentoring.
  • Foster Care/Adoption Agency certifies and supervises family foster homes for children in the agency's custody. Agency seeks adoptive homes for children in permanent custody.
  • Protective daycare workers monitor the well being of very young children in their homes. As part of a case plan, an "at risk" child may be enrolled in an approved daycare center, so that his/her well being can be monitored daily without removing the child from the home. Children Services staff checks on the child at daycare to evaluate his/her well being and also work with the parents to resolve child care problems.
  • McCollough Children's Home staff serve as the "parents in locus" for the residents of the Children's Home.

What is foster parenting?

When children are not safe in their biological home, the Children Services Division must protect them by placing them in an environment where they will be safe. For most children, the best way to care for them is to place them with foster parents.

Foster parents are adults who have made a commitment to care for children who need a temporary home for just a day or two, or possibly for months. To qualify as foster parents, they have undergone federal, state and local background checks, and have completed 24hrs of training on the special needs of children in foster care. Their homes have been screened for safety.

Foster parents may be called upon to receive a child without any preliminary planning or in the middle of the night. Once a child is in their care, they must follow strict guidelines about caring for the child, and they become an active part in the agency's case plan for reuniting the child with his/her biological family.

Many, but not all, foster parents wish to adopt children. If a child in their care cannot be reunited with his/her biological family, the foster parents may be able to adopt the child.

Although foster parenting is a big responsibility, and can take it's toll emotionally, it has the reward of helping a child when a child most needs help. Currently, in Jefferson County, we have 35 foster parents available to care for children. More are needed.

If you would like more information about becoming a foster parent, contact Joan Dohnal at 740-282-0961 ext. 1113.

What is the McCollough Children's Home?

The McCollough Children's home is a residential center primarily for teenagers. Residents are children who have no safe home of their own, and by choice or by behavior are not candidates for foster care. The facility is prinarily for short term care until a child can return home or move to a foster home. The McCollough Children's Home can accommodate up to 16 children, ages 6-17.

When/Who to Call:

When should I call Children Services?

If you suspect that a child is in danger or not being properly cared for, call Children Services. If a child's safety or well being is at risk, call. Don't worry about getting a family in trouble. Children Services exists to help families, not punish them.

You do not have to have proof of your concerns. A trained social worker will follow up on your call to decide if agency involvement is needed. If you are reluctant to "getting involved" your call can be anonymous.

When Children Services receives a call, a caseworker will visit the child and family. If concerns prove to be unfounded, the case is closed immediately. If there are problems, the caseworker completes a formal risk assessment that will lead to a variety of services to protect the child, including removal from the home, if necessary.

Who do I call for other questions about Children Services?

Call the Children Services directly at 740-282-0961.