What We Do
The Department of Child Support Services works to enhance the well-being of children and the self-sufficiency of families by ensuring that they receive the support to which they are entitled by law. The department deals with both civil and criminal matters involving family support, including prosecution of individuals who willfully refuse to support their children.
The Department of Child Support Services also establishes paternity through genetic testing and locates non-custodial parents and custodial parties to establish, enforce, and distribute child and medical support. The department encourages both parents to be involved in the lives of their children.
What We Did in 2014
SLO County Child Support Services Sets State Records
The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) was the highest ranked child support agency in the state in 2014, reflected in the State DCSS annual report to the legislature.
The department set record highs for itself in 2014 by increasing the percent of cases with court orders established and increasing the collection of current support owed as well as child support arrears. Staff was able to improve the cost-to-collection ratio by increasing collections while decreasing the amount of program dollars spent.
At the same time, DCSS staff was hard at work preparing for Child Support Awareness Month, which took place in August. Staff collaborated with United Way of San Luis Obispo County in the County’s inaugural backpack drive and was able to provide 55 backpacks filled with school supplies to needy children locally and improve their opportunity for academic success.
DCSS extended outreach to the community by having a child support information booth at the Thursday Night Farmers’ Market in San Luis Obispo to raise awareness of the services provided by the County. The department also conducted periodic outreach to state prison parolees as well as inmates at the men’s Honor Farm in order to provide an overview of the child support services program and educate them about services available to assist incarcerated and recently released obligors.
Farewell to a Fearless Leader
The County said goodbye to its longtime Child Support Services Director Phil Lowe (center) when he retired at the end of 2014.
For 12 years, since the department’s inception, Lowe was at the helm. He retired in December 2014 after about 28 years of civil service to the County of San Luis Obispo.
In honor of his service, Lowe received the Truly B. Knox Award in February 2014 from the Child Support Directors Association for his advancements of the program by extended leadership and service. Considered to be the highest award for service to child support programs, the Truly B. Knox Award is presented to a single recipient each year who demonstrates leadership in the field, not just locally, but also statewide or nationally.
Prior to his role as the leader of the County’s DCSS, Lowe joined the office of the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney in 1986 as deputy district attorney before leading the District Attorney Family Support Division in 1993. He was then appointed as the inaugural director of the newly formed DCSS in 2002.
Over the years, Lowe volunteered substantial time to the statewide child support effort, teaching at the California Annual Training Conferences and the Leadership Institute and at the CSDA Legal College, as well as contributing to the State DCSS Strategic Plan from 2010 to 2014. He managed to perform all of the administrative duties of a County department head while also serving as the department’s only attorney, appearing in court on a weekly basis to establish child support orders and prosecute contempt cases.
Under Lowe’s leadership, the SLO County DCSS was recognized by the California Department of Child Support Services in its annual report to the legislature as the top performing child support program in the most recent year and the top performing agency in nine of the past 10 years. He was also instrumental in selecting his predecessor, Julie Paik.
The County thanks Lowe for his commitment to serving the San Luis Obispo community for so many years.