Sheriff David Gutierrez and deputies with the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office have arrested 21 local parents who violated court orders requiring them to pay child support.
The countywide sweep, which targeted parents who failed to make regular child support payments, was conducted in conjunction with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's Child Support Division.
"Texans will not tolerate parents who neglect their children," Attorney General Abbott said. "Parents who do not pay their child support must be held accountable. We are grateful to Sheriff David Gutierrez for his commitment to children and his dedication to strict law enforcement."
The sweep began Tuesday evening, when Sheriff Gutierrez dispatched six two-person teams to work through the night to track down delinquent Lubbock County parents wanted on contempt-of-court charges that stem from their failure to pay child support. An investigator with the Attorney General's Child Support Division aided the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office by providing logistical assistance and helping to locate missing parents.
Law enforcement officers with the Lubbock County District Attorney's Office; City Marshal's Office; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Texas Department of Public Safety; and Lubbock County Constables, Pct. 1 and Pct. 4, partnered with the sheriff's deputies to make arrests and offer additional assistance.
Delinquent parents arrested in the roundup, which continues through Thursday, must appear for court hearings that can result in sentences of up to six months in jail. Cash bonds that parents post to get out of jail are paid to the custodial parents and children who are owed back child support.
Parents wanted for child support violations can avoid the embarrassment of arrest at their home or work by contacting the Warrant Division of the Sheriff's Office at (806) 775-1493.
Under state and federal law, the Office of the Attorney General is obligated to assist families who request child support services and is required to assist those 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.
Parents can call (800) 252-8014 to apply for services or obtain information about their child support case. Statewide, child support collected by the Attorney General exceeded $2 billion for the state fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2006. The Attorney General's Lubbock County child support offices collected $46 million of that amount.
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