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December Child Support Round-Up Accounts for more than $74,000 from Delinquent Parents Owing more than $1.1 million

BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) today announced totals from a December child support round-up that resulted in 126 arrests of non-custodial parents owing more than $1.1 million.

The round-up collected or accounted for more than $74,000 in child support payments from parents chronically delinquent in meeting their child support obligations. The arrests yielded $33,302.93 in arrears payments, with an additional $41,044.44 in other cases being closed.

"By working closely with our partners in law enforcement to serve the children and families of our state, we are sending a clear message that a parent's financial responsibility to their children cannot be neglected," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson. "The goal of a child support round-up is to go after those individuals who have avoided their financial obligation and hopefully collect some of the money owed to assist families in the community."

The program, led by DCFS Child Support Enforcement and 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.

"Our message is clear. Failure to fulfill a court-ordered child support obligation is illegal, and not taking responsibility for financial obligations to one's children has consequences," said Johnson.

Child support payments are used by custodial parents to offset costs for raising children, including providing food and shelter, medical costs, child care and school fees and uniforms.

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 $385 million dollars in child support last year. The agency recently implemented a program to collect casino winnings of more than $1,200 and collected more than $7.4 million from payment made by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility as a result of the BP oil spill.

Nearly $1.2 billion is currently owed by Louisiana's non-custodial parents.

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