HARFORD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Deadbeat parents who stop making child support payments violate the law, but tracking them down isn’t always easy.
Alex DeMetrick reports a little unflattering publicity can make a difference.
Twice a year, Harford County turns to advertising. Not to sell something, but to catch somebody—actually, 350 somebodies who normally adorn a wanted poster in the sheriff’s office.
“These are all individuals who have active warrants for failure to pay child support,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Monica Worrell.
It’s not a criminal charge, but a violation of civil law. With missed payments ranging from $400 to more than $30,000, they represent only seven percent of the parents in Harford County who fail to make child support payments. They’re in the newspaper because they aren’t easy to find.
“Most of the deadbeat parents know that they’re behind and because of that, they typically have employment that is under the table. They move from residence to residence,” said Harford County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jim Eyler. “This type of advertisement gets it out to the public and we get their assistance, verifying current addresses for these deadbeat parents or work locations where these parents are working and we’ll arrest them.”
It still takes time. There’s an ad from 2008 with red X’s marked on the parents who have been found. Those who have not are in the current ads, along with all the new parents the ads call deadbeats.
Rewards are also offered for information leading to parents who are behind in child support.