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Two State Legislators Honored For Child Support Enforcement Work

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Kenosha County Division of Workforce Development Director Dustin Feeney presents a “Friend of the Wisconsin Child Support Program” award to state Rep. Amanda Nedweski (R) during a special event at the Kenosha County Job Center last week.
(Photo by Joe Potente, Kenosha County)

Two of Kenosha County’s state lawmakers were honored last week for their support of the child support system.

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Reps. Tip McGuire and Amanda Nedweski received “Friend of the Wisconsin Child Support Program” awards during a special event at the Kenosha County Job Center.

Kenosha County Division of Workforce Development Director Dustin Feeney speaks during an award ceremony in honor of state Reps. Tip McGuire (D) and Amanda Nedweski (R), both recipients of “Friend of the Wisconsin Child Support Program” awards from the Wisconsin Child Support Enforcement Association. Feeney is the current president of the statewide organization.
(Photo by Joe Potente, Kenosha County)

Kenosha County Division of Workforce Development Director Dustin Feeney, who is the current president of the Wisconsin Child Support Enforcement Association, presented the honors, highlighting the prolific work and the efficient nature of the system, locally and statewide.

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“For every $1 spent on child support enforcement in Wisconsin, we collected nearly $6 in support for families,” Feeney said. “So, it is one of the most cost-effective, anti-poverty programs in the country.”

State Rep. Tip McGuire (D) receives a “Friend of the Wisconsin Child Support Program” award from Kenosha County Division of Workforce Development Director Dustin Feeney. Feeney is also the current president of the Wisconsin Child Support Enforcement Association.
(Photo by Joe Potente, Kenosha County)

During the event, which also included County Executive Samantha Kerkman, Feeney called upon several members of his staff to highlight the office’s functions and accomplishments, including Child Support Manager Laura Ervin, Lead Child Support Attorney Lori Thoennes, and Child Support Supervisor Shalonda Black.

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Child Support Enforcement Specialist Donna Adams, center, who is retiring this week after more than 30 years of service, speaks on her experiences of working in the county’s child support system. Also pictured, from left, are Lead Child Support Specialist Michelle Kozmer and Child Support Attorney Catherine Lambrechts.
(Photo by Joe Potente, Kenosha County)

Also, Child Support Attorney Catherine Lambrechts shared her perspective as a relatively new member of the team, while veteran Child Support Enforcement Specialist Donna Adams spoke of her experiences over 30-plus years on the job. (McGuire, Nedweski and Kerkman then took turns congratulating Adams on her retirement, which begins this month.)

During the most recent fiscal year, more than $32 million in child support payments were collected in Kenosha County. Statewide, in fiscal year 2022, that total was $864 million.

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To realize these collections, the child support program oversees a variety of functions, including the establishment of paternity and court orders, collection of current and past-due support, and referrals to employment and training programs and other services.

Thoennes said she and her colleagues attended 3,575 court hearings in 2023, laying the groundwork for the payment of millions of dollars in support.

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“These numbers signify rent paid, electricity paid, and food in the refrigerator,” Thoennes said, noting a recent instance in which she arranged for a $10,000 lump sum payment and an additional $250 per month in future payments from a parent who owed $45,000 in past due child support but had received a worker’s compensation settlement.

From left, state Reps. Amanda Nedweski (R) and Tip McGuire (D) and Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman listen to presentations from members of the county’s child support team during an awards ceremony at the Job Center. McGuire and Nedweski received “Friend of the Wisconsin Child Support Program” awards from the Wisconsin Child Support Enforcement Association.
(Photo by Joe Potente, Kenosha County)

“When I was speaking to the mother, she began crying and indicated that she does not know how fortunate this call was for her and her children,” Thoennes said. “She stated that just the day before, she was wondering how she was going to buy groceries this week despite working full time. This money will ensure that she and her children will not have to deal with food insecurity for quite some time to come.”

Other programs highlighted during the event included ELEVATE (Empowering Lives through Education, Vocational Assessment, Training and Employment), which works with noncustodial parents to address barriers to employment and provides training and skill assessments.

Kenosha County is also one of three pilot counties in Wisconsin participating in a federally funded grant that focuses on removing barriers and enabling survivors of domestic violence to access child support benefits safely.

As to the support of the state Legislature, Feeney noted that the current state budget increases funding for local child support programming to $11.8 million in 2023-’24 and to $15.7 million in 2024-’25. The state receives a 66 percent federal match for these investments, as well as incentive payments based on how well Wisconsin performs compared with other states.

With the support of the Legislature, the statewide child support system is now making upgrades to a decades-old computer system, to the great delight of the county staff who use it every day.

McGuire, a Kenosha Democrat, said child support is critical in ensuring children in the community have the resources to be healthy and thrive.

“Our state investment into IT and staffing at county child support agencies not only made our agencies more competitive for federal performance funds, but it also helped enable our counties ensure that every child has access to the resources and services that they need to succeed,” McGuire said.

Nedweski, a Pleasant Prairie Republican who also serves on the County Board, praised the county staff members for their work.

“Thank you so much for all the time and dedication that you put into your job every single day — you really truly do make a difference, and we’re just here to help you in that,” Nedweski said. “You do the real work, and Tip and I, and the county executive are here to be your partner and help you get that done.”

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32 Responses

    1. The Gov’t doesn’t want families together or father’s in the home. More money for mom’s with children that were fathered by different men. Sad.

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  1. Yes, Great job all . I’m owed nearly $40,000 from the last 20+ years of nonpayment so it makes me ill to see anyone get awards. I don’t get an award if there’s gaping holes in my work but sure, let’s hand out participation trophies I guess. Non custodial pays $50-$100 here and there once or twice a year, just enough to keep them from actually having to do anything about it. There’s massive holes in this system. Kudos to all!

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    1. You took the words right out of my mouth. Donna Adam’s was my child support case worker for many, many years. I raised my 3 children on my income because Donna chose to sit on her hands. I provided places of employment to her, his addresses, etc. I even told her what construction site he was on and the make of vehicle he drove. She did nothing. I received about the same as you did–$100 to $200 per year. The one time that they did bring him into court (he owed me $75K at that time), they (the child support attorney and good ol’ Donna) approached me after court with some paperwork and indicated that if I wanted to “excuse” or “write off” some of his debt to me, they had the paperwork and could assist me with filling it out. I was appalled at the suggestion. Who will excuse the doctors bills, dentist bills, school fees, sports fees, instrument rentals, groceries, mortgage and utilities for me? The father of my 3 children paid a total of $3,000 over the course of 19 years. Child Support Enforcement is just a name on paper. I’d like to say giving Donna an award is like giving her a participation award but Donna didn’t even participate!!

  2. But every time I call in to get assistance on my funds owed to me, I have a different case worker. Never telling me when the individual changes. Owes thousands and nothing to show for it but a court date once every 3 yearrs….

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  3. But every time I call in to get assistance on my funds owed to me, I have a different case worker. Never telling me when the individual changes. Owes thousands and nothing to show for it but a court date once every 3 years….

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  4. Make better choices in life. Dont have kids out of wedlock. Take marriage and having a family seriously, and there’s no need for “paid for visitation” government run “child support” programs. It just incentives for the woman to kick out the man for money. Fatherless homes make the most criminals.

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    1. Children from 2-parent, Mom & Dad are married and stay married, and Mom stays home to raise the kids, are happier and more successful in the long run.

      Tax incentives to encourage this would be beneficial to everyone.

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        1. Not gonna happen anymore, when the cool thing to do is have two mommies or two daddies, or Mommy used to be a Daddy.

          Or when our own legislators cannot get their own shit together well enough to be in a lasting marriage…

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  5. YES, but what mechanisms are in place to make sure that “child support” is spent 100% on the children and not used for drugs, alcohol, expenses of “boyfriends” and any number of other things???
    Investigate that please.
    I’ll watch for the article.

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    1. I would be more than happy to provide the documentation and receipts of expenses in exchange for receiving a 50/50 payment. Hell, I’d do it for any payment. Yearly school fees, medical co-pays (and I have excellent insurance through work but I still have individual deductibles and co-pays), dental bills (again, my insurance which he should be grateful for), groceries, clothes, instrument rentals, sports equipment and fees, car insurance (an added $480 per month when all 3 started driving), eye exams/glasses, prescriptions…yes, I saved every receipt for every year that I was due child support. Yet, many years I received nothing. I Footed the bill, sometimes accruing debt, but your statement insinuates that we (women/mothers) aren’t deserving of a 50/50 split? The money doesn’t go to drugs, boyfriends, alcohol and whatever b.s. you stated. It goes to raising the kids that men walk away from like they are an old pair of shoes.
      When reading these comments (not just your comment) it amazes me that so many people don’t understand child support. First of all, it is not part of a government “hand out”. It is not about “sluts” and women with multiple children with multiple fathers. Sometimes a divorce is necessary. Sometimes men (women too) do something so egregious that everyone involved feels that the children are best placed solely with one parent until the other parent can break free from their new “habits”. So, divorce is in the best interest of the parents AND the children. But if you flip the situation, all of the men on here, if awarded sole custody of the children, would probably think it’s fair for the woman to pay you a 50/50 split on expenses for the children, right? Or would you think it’s OK if you are paying $1000 per month to cover car insurance, trips to a dentist or doctor, instrument rentals, clothes, groceries, school lunches, daycare, etc. and the mother of your children keeps every penny that she makes and lives like money grows on trees? Child support is supposed to provide that balance. They don’t and they don’t seem to mind either. I was supposed to receive a measly $240/month (he outright lied in court many years ago so they based it on minimum wage) and half of medical bills. I received nothing. I remember my first check (yes, an actual mailed check) that I ever received. I was elated because I was barely breaking even at the time. I ripped open the envelope and it was for $3. Years went by until I saw another payment and that was $30. I divided it between the 3 kids and told them to go on a spending spree (sarcasm). All of you suggesting that we need child support because we are sluts, want to use drugs, give it away to our boyfriends (which is comical because who has time to date when they are raising 3 kids on their own), etc, why aren’t you asking the real question? Why are men (and women sometimes too) allowed to walk away from the responsibilities that come with having children? If you read the other comments on here from women, we aren’t bitching about not receiving $2000/month. We are complaining because men won’t even pay a minimal amount ($240/month in my case) and child support enforcement let’s them get away with it. To those of you who think every family needs both parents, yes, in a perfect world. Sometimes perfect worlds get shattered. Then it depends on the strength and determination of one parent. But why make that job even harder by refusing the few dollars that are allocated for your own kids?

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      1. You are an outlier. Kudos for that (seriously)…..

        No doubt, there are lots of women who legit use the money for their kids. However, there are a LOT of them who are indeed POS and use it on themselves and not on the kids. Child support enforcement lets them get away with that, too. That’s the issue….the system doesn’t differentiate between the two very real possibilities….and those are the only two possibilities.

        It works the other way, too…..there are lots of guys who pay above and beyond for their children….whether through child support or other ways. At the same time, there are the POS guys who don’t contribute, at all….I’m sorry you seemed to have the latter.

        The bigger issue here is the system…..the fact a set amount of support should go to the woman is a joke. It’s just an arbitrary fucking number (or percentage, rather) without much regard to the situation or the parties. The woman could legit not have a job and they still will automatically get 17% or 25% or whatever the percentage is based on how many children they have.

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  6. The child support agency in this county is an absolute mess….I don’t know what any of these people are congratulating themselves for. Remember, these are basically DCFS people…..and we’ve already heard about them on this site.





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  7. Here’s your reminder that Nedweski is pro-choice, and Christians who support & vote for her will be in a state of mortal sin.

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        1. One needs to attend a seminary in order to have an opinion on what makes somebody pro-choice or pro-life? Her bill shortened the amount of time that women have to kill babies. Each step towards birth is a positive step.

          1. In the eyes of Reverent, faithful leaders within the Catholic Church, a vote for any of the legislators who supported AB975 puts one’s soul in a state of mortal sin. Your opinion on whether they are pro-choice or not is irrelevant. The very simple fact is that they voted in favor of allowing abortion.

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          2. Thou shall not kill.

            Not, though shall kill up until 14 weeks, because 14 weeks is better than 20 week.

            Compromising with evil, is evil itself.

              1. Zero tolerance for abortion. No compromise, no abortion period. Thou shall not kill, that’s what it is. You’re fine killing babies up to 14 weeks?

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            1. The reverent, faithful leaders that preyed upon and stole the innocence and souls of so many children and jointly worked together to cover up the abuse? Or would it be the reverent, faithful leaders that physically and sexually abused the Native American children? Or are we just talking about the Reverent, faithful leaders that killed hundreds of those very children and tossed them in shallow graves? So how does that work exactly? Thou shall not kill, but somehow that exact same religious organization tortured and killed so many children. Apparently, your religious organization makes lots of compromises, exceptions, and sins. Typical, commandments and teachings don’t apply to them (you) just everyone else that they (and you) like to pass judgement on. I’m pretty sure there’s only one person that’s supposed to be passing judgment and it’s definitely not you!

          3. Pro-Life organizations, the experts on fighting the abortion industry & pro-abort politicians, have openly said that this bill and the so-called conservative politicians who support it, are hurting the pro-life movement.

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