Monday, July 29, 2013

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Tarrant County Constables Conduct Child Support Roundup

FORT WORTH – Tarrant County constables from all eight of the county’s precincts have arrested 23 Tarrant County parents who violated court orders requiring them to pay child support. The Tarrant County constables who participated in the initiative are: Pct. 1 Constable Dale Clark, Pct. 2 Constable David Woodruff, Pct. 3 Constable Darrell Huffman, Pct. 4 Constable Dub Bransom, Pct. 5 Constable Ruben Garcia, Pct. 6 Constable Jon H. Siegel, Pct. 7 Constable Clint Burgess and Pct. 8 Constable Michael R. Campbell.

The operation, which occurred Friday,and which concluded with one additional arrest today, was conducted in conjunction with the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division. The joint effort focused on parents who are wanted by authorities for failing to pay their court-ordered child support.

“Parents have a moral and legal obligation to make regular child support payments,” Attorney General Abbott said. “By collecting child support, we are ensuring young Texans have the resources they need to grow healthy and strong. We are grateful that all eight of Tarrant County’s constables teamed up with the Attorney General’s Office to help serve and protect Texas children.”

The countywide sweep reflects Tarrant County constables’ commitment to locating parents who are wanted for contempt of court because of their failure to pay child support. The operation kicked off at 5 a.m. Friday when the constables dispatched teams of deputy constables to track down noncompliant parents before they had a chance to leave their homes for the day. Child Support Division investigators aided the constables by providing logistical assistance and helping to locate missing parents. The roundup resulted in the arrest of 23 parents whose failure to pay child support violates Texas law.

Delinquent parents arrested on civil warrants face up to six months in jail. Cash bonds posted by delinquent parents seeking release from jail are paid to the custodial parents and children who are owed back child support.

Parents who have outstanding warrants can avoid the embarrassment of arrest at their home or work by turning themselves in to the Tarrant County Jail. Parents who have fallen behind on their child support payments – but are not yet subject to warrants for their arrest – should immediately contact the Attorney General’s Child Support Division at (800) 252-8014 to make payment arrangements.

Under state and federal law, the Office of the Attorney General can assist families who request child support services and must serve families who currently receive or have received public assistance. Services offered by the Child Support Division 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.

Statewide, child support collected by the Office of the Attorney General exceeded $3.4 billion for the state fiscal year that ended Aug. 31. Tarrant County parents paid $282 million of that amount.