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HARRISBURG (March 27, 2000) - In an effort to educate Pennsylvanians about changes in state child support laws, the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Client and Community Relations Committee today launched its statewide “Your Kids Come First” public education campaign.

Joining with PBA President Louis N. Teti and Committee Chair Thomas M. Golden for the campaign’s kick-off at the state Capitol were Philadelphia Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe, president of the State Conference of Trial Judges; Mary Cushing Doherty, chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section; and Richard K. Betts, immediate past president, Domestic Relations Association of Pennsylvania.

“Child support is an issue of great concern to many Pennsylvanians and their children. The guidelines surrounding the awarding of support in Pennsylvania were changed last year, and they still are not fully understood by the public,” said Teti. “The ‘Your Kids Come First’ public education campaign is designed to educate people about the support law changes, make parents aware of new guidelines and eligibility, and protect the interests of children.”

The PBA’s child support educational effort, which runs March 27 through April 10, focuses on issues related to the new guidelines, such as the sharing of day care and health care costs, support order changes, and the relationship between seeing the children and paying support. Such issues will be addressed statewide at local bar association-sponsored events, including free public seminars, radio call-in programs and informational expos. The campaign is funded through grants from the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation and the Pennsylvania Bar Trust.

A series of ads highlighting legal questions and a toll-free number to receive the free PBA Guide to Child Support in Pennsylvania will appear in most newspapers statewide during the campaign. These ads are the result of a partnership between the PBA and the Pennsylvania Newspapers Association.

“We are pleased that thirty-one local bar associations, common pleas judges, and domestic relations officers across the state have joined with the PBA for this important project,” said Golden. “Through this campaign, we are hoping that everyone involved in support issues will be reminded that children should, indeed, always come first.”

Local bar associations involved in the campaign include the Allegheny County Bar Association; Berks County Bar Association; Bradford County Bar Association; Bucks County Bar Association; Butler County Bar Association; Cameron County Bar Association; Chester County Bar Association; Columbia & Montour County Bar Association; Dauphin County Bar Association; Delaware County Bar Association; Erie County Bar Association; Fayette County Bar Association; Franklin County Bar Association; Lancaster Bar Association; Lehigh County Bar Association; McKean County Bar Association; Mercer County Bar Association; Monroe County Bar Association; Montgomery Bar Association; Northampton County Bar Association; Philadelphia Bar Association; Potter County Bar Association; Schuylkill County Bar Association; Snyder County Bar Association; Susquehanna County Bar Association; Venango County Bar Association; Washington County Bar Association; Wayne County Bar Association; Westmoreland Bar Association; Wilkes-Barre Law & Library Association; and York County Bar Association.

For more information on the campaign or to receive the free guide on Pennsylvania’s child support guidelines, citizens may contact the Pennsylvania Bar Association campaign hotline at (888) 799-4557.