Children First Bill Becomes Law

Governor signs measure to expand program to more counties


Madison – A bill to expand Children First services to more Wisconsin counties, authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) was signed into law in a ceremony at the Governor’s office today.

The new law will allow courts to assign parents to participate in Children First programs outside their home counties.  Children First is a local program that provides employment placement, training, and other support services to non-custodial parents who cannot pay child support because they are unemployed or underemployed.

“Children First is successful in helping unemployed parents meet their child support obligations, but not every county has these programs,” Sen. Lassa said. “This measure will allow judges to assign parents to Children First programs in nearby counties, which will help more parents get jobs and stay current on child support. This will help parents better support themselves and their children.”

Wisconsin’s Children First Program is administered by the Department of Children and Families and delivered through county social service agencies.  However, only 21 counties in Wisconsin currently have Children First programs.  The new law allows courts to assign parents to a program outside the county if the judge determines it is in reasonable driving distance. Sen. Lassa introduced the measure along with Rep. Nancy VanderMeer (R-Tomah).

            “This bill will help non-custodial parents improve their lives, and will make sure their children have the resources they need and deserve,” Sen. Lassa said.

            Sen. Lassa was joined at the State Capitol by Monroe County Children’s Service Director Pamela Pipkin and Wood County Children’s Service Director Brent Vruwink.