trophy award with leaves surroundingThe Western Intergovernmental Child Support Engagement Council (WICSEC) honored California’s Child Support program with two major awards this week during their 2021 Annual Training Conference. The awards were presented during a plenary session on Wednesday, September 29.

Brandon Guitierez, a child support specialist in Lassen County, received this year’s Rock Star Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual that has made significant contributions by improving the lives of children and promoting a more effective child support program. Guitierez received the award for his pioneering work as a social media influencer, using his own status as a paying dad and working child support caseworker to offer assistance, insights, and advice to fathers experiencing the child support system firsthand. Brandon’s perceptive and intelligent take on the child support program’s impact on fathers and how it can be improved has earned him trust in the fatherhood community and is highly beneficial to the program as a whole.

WICSEC also presented the Platinum Program award to the Fresno County Department of Child Support Services (Fresno County DCSS), recognizing the child support program that consistently and comprehensively exemplified the best in child support over the last year. In response to the statewide closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Fresno County DCSS was the first local child support agency to pivot to a decentralized call center, implementing immediate telework, sending all staff home, and standing up a remote Call Center environment within two hours. Throughout the closure, Fresno County DCSS continued to provide exceptional services, answering approximately 9,500 calls per month while keeping their call abandonment rate at less than 1%. By focusing on immediate responsiveness, their average customers wait times remained at 20 seconds and 85% of calls were resolved during a five-minute phone call. During this challenging time, Fresno County DCSS Federal Performance Measure 4 (Collections/ Distributions of Arrears) increased from 61.8% to 78.3%, and Federal Performance Measure 5 (Cost-Effectiveness) increased from $3.99 to $4.11 per dollar collected. Additionally, customer complaints went down 15.7%.

Congratulations to both WICSEC award winners! The complete list of 2021 award recipients is now available on the WICSEC website.