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BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), working with local law enforcement and the district attorney's office, completed a child support round-up last week in Washington Parish that resulted in the arrests of 75 non-custodial parents who owe more than $1.5 million in child support arrears.
During the round-up, DCFS officials collected $24,235.27 for 25 child support cases from parents delinquent in meeting their child support obligations. Warrants for 106 non-custodial parents in Washington Parish have been executed and cleared. The 75 parents arrested during the round up owe $1,564,852.20 in back child support.
"These parents had children, they have the responsibility to support their children and the courts have deemed they owe this money," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier.
The program, led by DCFS Child Support Enforcement in conjunction with local district attorneys, sheriff's offices and police departments, serves as a last resort to recoup delinquent child support payments.
The round-up procedure calls for delinquent payers to be arrested and processed. At the jail, collection officials are on site to collect as much from those parents as possible. Individuals are then given a court date at which time a new payment schedule can be established.
"Collaborative efforts like these allow us to get the child support these non-custodial parents refuse to provide," said Sonnier. "Failure to pay child support is illegal, but doing so can make a major impact on a child's life."
A substantial body of research shows that child support collections significantly reduce the number of families receiving cash-based assistance like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, also called cash assistance). Families that receive regular child support payments also are less likely to become involved in the child welfare system.
DCFS collected more than $399.4 million in child support last year. Since implementation of DCFS' casino initiative in September 2011, more than $868,000 has been collected in back child support.
More than $1.3 billion is currently owed by Louisiana's non-custodial parents. To search the database of delinquent child support payors visit www.dcfs.la.gov/Delinquent.