Nearly three dozen Tarrant County parents were arrested this week by the Texas Attorney General's Fugitive Unit for failing to pay child support, the AG's office says.
In a news release Friday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's Office said all of those arrested were the subjects of warrants for failure to pay and that cash bonds used to get them out of jail will go to the custodial parents and children who are owed back child support.
"Caring for your children is the fundamental and moral responsibility of any parent," Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a prepared statement. "I commend everyone involved in holding accountable those who attempt to evade child support. Their efforts help ensure better care and better lives for Texas children."
Three teams of investigators from the Fugitive Unit and the Tarrant County Constable's Office tracked down noncompliant parents wanted for contempt of court for violating civil court orders and placed them under arrest.
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Delinquent parents arrested face up to six months in jail.In addition to this week's 33 arrests, 15 additional parents have been arrested since August, when roundup preparations began.
"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," the Attorney General's Office said in a news release.
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, the AG's office said. 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 Attorney General's Office exceeded $3.9 billion for the state fiscal year that ended Aug. 31. Tarrant County parents paid $323 million of that amount," the office said. "The Attorney General's Child Support Division is the most successful and cost-effective program in the nation. The division currently administers 1.5 million child support cases, serving 1.7 million children. The division collects $11.34 for every $1 spent to operate the program and collected $3.7 billion in child support in Federal FY 2014."