Wednesday, September 10, 2003

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Attorney General Abbott Announces Lubbock County Child Support Roundup

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today applauded the efforts of Lubbock County Sheriff David Gutierrez for rounding up six local parents who are failing to take responsibility for their children. The countywide sweep that began on Tuesday targets parents who are in violation of court orders requiring the payment of child support. Investigators from the Attorney General's Child Support Division are supporting the sheriff in the roundup.

"I appreciate the vigilance of Sheriff Gutierrez to hold delinquent parents responsible for their children's care. There are consequences to parents who disregard their children's needs and fail to make regular child support payments," said Attorney General Abbott.

Sheriff Gutierrez dispatched four teams of law enforcement officers on Tuesday evening to locate and apprehend delinquent parents in the roundup effort, which resumed today at daybreak. As of 1 p.m., Sheriff Gutierrez reported six arrests. Parents subject to arrest face contempt-of-court charges for failing to appear in court and failing to pay child support. The willfully negligent parents will be required to post bond or they will remain in custody until a hearing, which can result in a sentence of up to six months in jail. If a parent posts the bond set by a judge, the money will go to the custodial parent and children involved in the case.

The Department of Public Safety and the City Marshal's Office are assisting Sheriff Gutierrez in the arrests of delinquent parents.

Individuals with warrants for their arrest for child support violations are encouraged to come forward voluntarily by contacting the Warrant Division of the Sheriff's Office at 806-775-1493.

The Attorney General's Child Support Division is directed by state and federal law to assist families who currently receive or have received public assistance, and families who request child support services. Services include locating absent parents; establishing paternity for children born to unmarried parents; establishing, enforcing, and modifying child and medical support orders; and collecting and distributing child support payments.

Child support collected by the Attorney General's Office exceeded $1.4 billion for the state fiscal year that ended August 31, 2002.