Calcasieu Cracks Down on Dead Beat Parents

May 10, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck

More than two dozen dead beat dads are spending time in the Calcasieu Parish Correctional Center.

"We were able to execute 31 warrants in less than 4 hours time," said Child Support Enforcement Regional Director Cathy Michiels.

Calcasieu Parish took part in a statewide crackdown on dead beat parents. "These are people who we've tried everything. It does bring in some of those hardcore noncustodial parents who don't pay," said Michiels.

Working with Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's deputies, Michiel's office set out to issue arrest warrants for 60 of the parish's top offenders -- parents who either pulled no shows for court appearances or have repeatedly missed child support payments. By 10 a.m. 14 arrests had been made.

"We go back to the old fashion way of going and knocking on doors and hunting them down," said Michiels.

But getting parents to pay up isn't easy. Michiels says parents who don't want to be found have several ways of staying below the radar.  "They use false social security numbers, they work for jobs that pay them cash or they change jobs so we can't locate them," said Michiels.

For the ones they did locate, the Calcasieu Support Enforcement Office was able to collect more than $12,000 in back child support payments. Those who couldn't pay had to stay.

"It's not that we want to put them in jail, these are people that we've tried everything that we can and jail is the last resort, and we would much rather have their money than have them in jail," said Michiel.

Those arrested Thursday are scheduled to appear in court on Friday. Michiels says they expect to collect more payments and issue more arrest warrants.