The constant struggle to find deliquent parents, billions owed in back child support
POSTED: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 6:18pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 9:28am
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Single parents all over Louisiana are waiting for child support most will never get.
That's because thousands of people owe back support for children they're supposed to be responsible for and the list continues to grow.
When you add all those people waiting for child support together, every month they’re owed 43.3 million dollars. The problem is that only about half of that is actually collected.
About 1.3 billion dollars is how much money is owed in back child support right here in Louisiana. That number isn’t going to change any time soon, in fact it could get bigger.
"Once your child turns 18, the debt is still there," says Trey Williams from the Department of Child and Family Services.
If you owe money, your name is on the delinquent parents list and it'll stay there until you've paid up. The list is on the Department of Child and Family Service’s website but there aren't just hundreds of names here there are thousands.
"After a 6 month period of no payment their name appears on the list."
Sabrina Williams' ex husband left her to take care of all of their kids, alone.
“I have 8 kids but me and him we have 6. It’s struggle and it’s been hard for me to find a job," said Willams.
She’s’ been waiting for her payments for years.
"How much money does he owe you? Oh lord, from the very beginning?"
She hasn’t seen a penny.
Even though Sabrina’s ex owes her a lot of money, he still hasn’t made the most wanted, yet. The "most wanted dead beats" is a public list with public information.
So NBC33’s Danielle Grossman decided to confront some of the parents on that list, including Sabrina’s ex, to find out why they're not paying.
She went to nearly 15 addresses on the most wanted list but those addresses were either fake, the parents were not home or they refused to come to the door.
"The people that are ignoring the obligation to care for their child usually try and stay under the radar,” noted Trey Williams. “They will go to any means to hide themselves."
And even though Sabrina could use that extra money, it’s less about that and more about the responsibility.
"I didn't make them by myself and you’re the other parent regardless of our issues. You have responsibility we still have this obligation."
But when you look at the list of delinquent parents you don’t just see deadbeat dads anymore, times have changed.
“I had to work 2 jobs, I paid for daycare I paid for food," said a single father from Central.
This single father was left alone, without any help.
“It’s always I work 7 days a week but I don’t have any money but when I see her she has new hairdos, new shoes, clothes, she's able to live."
"We used to see in the past dead beat dads but now it’s going the other way at times" said Trey Williams.
That single dad says he'll do everything he can to support his daughter despite the financial issues they're facing.
“I am not asking for half of her pay I just want her to realize even if its 10 dollars month I want her to realize she has a child she has to take care of this child. This is her responsibility so your going to do something."
But these delinquent parents can't hide forever, the system works with law enforcement and the DA to get that money back.
“The number one way of collecting is through the garnishment of wages, we can intercept federal or state income taxes, intercept casino winnings lottery winnings, life insurance. We can suspend drivers license’s and even hunting licenses."
But the hardest part is finding them which are why DCFS says they're always looking for more information because actually these deadbeats could cost taxpayers too. It could cost in the form of court fees to lawyers and this isn't an issue that's going away anytime soon.
“This is an issue that every state in our country is faced with it’s a continuing growing problem
Getting parents like Sabrina’s ex to come forward and pay their share and get out of the system, won't just help her, it will help the state and the public.
"If you're not willing than what do you do, at the end of the day that’s your dad you still respect him but at the end of the day you just pray for him," said Sabrina Wiliams.
Louisiana is actually one of the better states when it comes to this issue. We have a larger return on payments than many other states but it's still a constant struggle to fully eliminate some of these parents from the database.
If you know the whereabouts of any parents on the most wanted list, or any who are on the DCFS database go to dcfs.la.gov/webmaster.