COCS Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I was told I could do service instead of paying a fine. Why am I asked to pay to pay for community service when I get to Five County?

A: The administration fee is what is charged to cover the cost of processing your paperwork once you complete your community service volunteer hours through Five County Community Action’s Court-Ordered Community Service program. We charge one dollar per hour up to fifty hours of service required.

Our mission is to help individuals by offering this program as a alternative to jail or much greater fines. If the fee cannot be paid when an individual signs up, program staff can work with individuals. For those with household incomes at or below 125% federal poverty, a waiver can be obtained, provided income verification is supplied.  For those who are not eligible for a waiver, they can pay the fee upon completion of hours or arrange a payment plan.

Q: Do I have to sign up with Five County Community Action in order to complete my court-ordered community service hours?

A: Unless the sentencing court requires you to sign up with our program, you do not need to go through us in order to complete your community service hours. For example, the Washington County Justice Court will usually require that you sign up with us in order to complete your service hours.

However, if you wish to complete your service hours without utilizing our program, it is not guaranteed that the hours you submit to your sentencing court will be accepted. Five County’s Community Service program coordinates with non-profits and public entities in Washington County and the courts in order to provide individuals who wish to utilize our services the easiest and most effective route to complete their court-mandated community service hours. 

Q: Do I need to bring my court documents with me when I sign up?

A: Yes, we will need your case number, the name of the court which your case pertains to, the date your community service hours are due, and proof of the offense.

All of this information will usually be included in the paperwork the court provides you during or after your hearing so please bring all documents that are given to you pertaining to your case. We will make copies of all documents to keep in your file and you will keep the originals.

Your court case number will be included in your completion letter which the court will use to identify your case and information, ensuring your community service hours are credited to the right person.

Q: Do I need to sign up in person at Five County Community Action?

A: No. There is now an online application form which can be completed. However, your sign-up will not be complete until you have an interview with a Community Action staff person either over the phone, via GoTo Meeting, or in person.

All non-electronic sign-ups, however, must be completed in person during walk-in hours.

Q: When I complete my hours, what do I need to do?

A: When you complete your volunteer hours as ordered by the court, you need to return the completed time sheet to Five County Community Action.
We will give you a copy of this for your records and proof that you completed the hours. The “Time Sheet” cannot be altered or tampered with or you will not get credit for the hours worked.

Q: What if I want to do my hours somewhere off of the list?

A: We will provide a list of agencies that you can contact and make arrangements with to complete your court-ordered obligation. We partner with more than twenty agencies and are always looking for more. So if you know of a non-profit or governmental agency that could use volunteers please let us know and we will contact them.

Please make sure that arrangements with any entities off the list are made in advance. Remember: all service hours must be completed through non-profit/public entities that have been pre-approved by Five County (agencies list). If you submit any hours that were performed for an agency/entity which was not on our list and was not pre-approved by Five County, you will not receive credit for those hours.

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