LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - If you're a deadbeat dad or mom -- watch out. A child support enforcement roundup got underway Tuesday morning. Officials say if they didn't get you this time, they plan to next time.
It was early morning, yet Calcasieu deputies had already been on the road for a couple of hours trying to pick up those seriously behind on their child support payments or who didn't show up for court. Wendy Daigle, with child support enforcement, says they are looking for 111 men and 17 women.
"They can run but they can't hide. We want to get to each and every one of them. If we don't get you this time, you'll be on the list for next time," said Daigle.
She says staying in touch with their office can prevent trouble.
"We want to let them know, come in our office and speak with a case worker. We know there's a situation or times when circumstances have changed. You may have new information. We need to know that information. It's possible that we can help you with your situation," said Daigle.
One picked up is Margaret Rider, whose children are grown. She says she is paying back child support owed and is trying to borrow $3000 to stay out of jail or risk losing her job as a painter.
"You can see I'm clearly dressed for work. If I go to jail on a warrant for 90 days, I don't get to pay the arrearages. I mean I don't get to pay them anything for 90 days. And as it stands right now they get fifty per cent of my check. So, it's kind of like a spinning your wheels thing. If you don't have the cash to get rid of the warrant, you're just, no luck for you," said Rider.
Officials confirm Rider's story and are able to work with her so she does not lose her job. Five others picked up avoid arrest by paying more than $13,000 in child support which will go to their families.
Daigle says the families will receive the money within a few days.
"It will make a huge difference in their Christmas and in the lives for the custodial parent and for the children living in that household. But a lot of the people on our list have been behind in their child support for years. They've really racked up a considerable amount of arrears. They can be in the thousands, ten, twenty thousand, we have some arrears balances on our list here over fifty thousand dollars," said Daigle.
One man, due in court Wednesday, heard about the roundup and came in with a $14,000 check. So, that means they collected about $28,000 on the day of the roundup, which they say means it's worth their effort.
And officials warn maybe not today, but eventually they will catch up with those who do not support their children.
At last word, 18 had been picked up by deputies. Officials say the 150 warrants they tried to serve today represent $2.4 million in back child support owed.
For more on Child Support Enforcement in Louisiana, click here.