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Family Independence

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Don Arnold(Supervisor)

"Our staff is here to serve the families of Cook County. Our goal is to provide the best possible financial assistance to improve the economic status of the families we serve. Eligibility for all programs is based on financial need and other basic eligibility criteria. In those circumstances where we are unable to provide assistance, we seek referrals to other resources for the family."

Cook County Department of Family and Children Services

Economic Support's major role is to enable families to become self-sufficient. The task is achieved through various programs which assist our clientele in meeting their needs. Below are some of the tools that we use to assist families.

Electronic Benefit Transfer

The Electronic Benefit Transfer system replaced paper checks and food stamp coupons with a plastic debit card. Recipients get the amount of their benefits placed on the card each month, and they can use the card to withdraw money or purchase food items.


Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), commonly known as welfare, is the monthly cash assistance program for poor families with children under the age of 18. There is a four-year lifetime limit on cash assistance. Work is a major component of TANF; adult recipients with a child over the age of 1 are required to participate in a work activity. These activities help recipients gain the experience needed to find a job and become self-sufficient.

Cook County served 248 families with TANF last year.

Medical Assistance

Medicaid is divided into several different programs. Right from the Start Medicaid (RSM) provides medical coverage to pregnant women and children under the age of 19. Cook County served 510 families with RSM last year.

Low Income Medicaid (LIM) provides medical coverage to families with children under the age of 18. Work Transition Medicaid (WTM) and Transistional Medicaid Assistance (TMA) continues coverage for these families when they become employed. 208 families in Cook County received either LIM, WTM or TMA last year.

Aged, Blind, or Disabled Medicaid (ABD) covers individuals who are 65 or older, totally disabled or blind. ABD Medicaid also covers individuals in medical treatment facilities such as nursing homes. 392 individuals received ABD Medicaid in Cook County last year.

Food Stamps

Food Stamps is a federally funded program that helps low- income households improve their nutrition. In 1998, Georgia implemented the Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (EBT), which replaced food stamp coupons with a plastic debit card. Food Stamp recipients now use their EBT cards at food retailers to purchase food items.
Households whose gross income is no more than 130 percent of the federal poverty level and who have no more than $2000 in assets (or $3000 for households with an elderly member) qualify for Food Stamps. Able bodied recipients between the ages of 18 and 50 with no dependent children can receive food stamps for only three months within a three year period. They can continue to receive food stamps only if they find employment or participate in a work activity. An average of 855 families received Food Stamps in Cook County last year.

Child Care

The Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program helps families in Georgia pay for early childhood and school age care and education programs. Parents or guardians who have limited income and are working, attending school, or in training may qualify to receive subsidized child care. Subsidized care is available for children from birth to age 13, or up to age 18 if the child has special needs. Cook County served an average of 394 children per month with child care assistance last year.

Economic Support Staff


DON ARNOLD--Supervisor


Melissa Roe--Screener


JACKIE CHANCE--Food Stamps, Medicaid for Families and Children


Glenda Biedermann--FICM I, Lead Worker, Food Stamps, Medicaid and Claims Manager


BRENDA COURSON--Food Stamps, Medicaid for Families and Children


PHYLLIS GIDDENS--TANF, Medicaid for Families and Children, Applicant, Food Stamps (Elderly)


JOHN HUMBER-- Employment Services


Karen Argyle -- TANF Assessor The Haven


JANIE MACKIE--TANF, Medicaid for Families and Children,Employment Services




Steven F. Meders--Community Resource Specialist.




GINNY ODOM--Child Care, ABD with related Food Stamps, Child Care Project Coordinator


CONNIE WESTBERRY--Medicaid, Food Stamps,TANF Casemanager.