Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services – Non-Custodial Parent Employment Program (NCPEP)
Since opening its doors in 1996, Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services’ Non-Custodial Parent Employment Program (NCPEP) has been successfully operating in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties and in Miami-Dade in the state of Florida. The goals of NCPEP are to: (1) help non-custodial parents establish a pattern of regular child support payments by obtaining and maintaining unsubsidized employment with earnings that allow them to become self-sufficient, (2) increase the amount of court-ordered child support collected, and (3) strengthen families by motivating absent parents to accept their parental responsibilities and helping them improve their relationship with their children.
NCPEP encourages participants to obtain paid employment as quickly as possible following a "work-first" philosophy, providing job readiness skills training as needed. The program also links participants to GED and short-term job training programs. Participants are closely monitored and must make their child support payments and be employed for six months to successfully complete the program. Major program services include: court liaisons and outreach; job skills and employment assessment; job search skills and employability training; counseling on responsible fatherhood; supervised job search, employment placement, and case monitoring; job development; counseling and post-employment services; and contingency funds to remove barriers to employment.
Major program services include: Court liaison and outreach; job skills and employment assessment; job search skills and employability training; counseling on responsible Fatherhood; Supervised job search, employment placement and case monitoring; Job Development; Counseling and post-employment services and Contingency funds to remove barriers to employment.
The program has had several independent evaluations over the years, all of which yielded similar results. Long-term habits are being generated, as 75% of all program-generated child support posted by the Department of Revenue is now coming from clients no longer in the program but who continue to pay. Non-custodial parents in the program are more involved with their children; more than 60% of participants reported spending more time with their children than before the program, with the most common visitation arrangement being one to two times per week. NCPEP’s impact on other public assistance programs was positive, demonstrated by a sample of 140 clients reporting a 73% decline in receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, a 24% reduction in custodial parents receiving public assistance, and the shifting of 75 children from Medicaid to the non-custodial parent's medical insurance. The evaluators concluded that NCPEP continues to be successful regarding both familial relationships and fiscal benefits, is a great alternative to incarceration, and promises to be a definite asset to the participants, the criminal justice system, communities, and the State of Florida.