Bell County Pct. 3 Constable Thomas Prado and Pct. 4 Constable Edd Melton III have arrested 20 Bell County parents who violated court orders requiring them to pay child support. This week’s sweep, which started Monday, was conducted in conjunction with the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division. The effort focused on parents who were the subjects of arrest warrants because of their failure to pay child support.

“Caring for your children is the fundamental and moral responsibility of any parent,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “I commend Constable Prado, Constable Melton and everyone involved in holding accountable those who attempt to evade child support. Their efforts help ensure better care and better lives for Texas children.”

This week’s effort began at 4 a.m. Monday when Constable Prado began tracking down noncompliant parents before they had a chance to leave their homes for the day. Child Support Division investigators aided the effort by providing logistical assistance to locate missing parents.

This week’s roundup resulted in the arrest of 17 parents whose failure to support their children violated the law. Last week, as the constables prepared for the roundup, three additional parents were arrested, for a total of 20 arrests.  

Delinquent parents arrested on civil warrants face up to six months in jail. Cash bonds posted by delinquent parents seeking release from jail are paid to the custodial parents and children who are owed back child support.

Parents who have outstanding warrants can avoid the embarrassment of arrest at their home or work by turning themselves in to the Bell County jail. Parents who have fallen behind on their child support payments – but are not yet subject to warrants for their arrest – should immediately contact the Attorney General’s Child Support Division at (800) 252-8014 to make payment arrangements. 

Under state and federal law, the Office of the Attorney General can assist families who request child support services and must serve 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.

Statewide, child support collected by the Attorney General’s Office exceeded $3.8 billion for the state fiscal year that ended Aug. 31. Bell County parents paid $67 million of that amount.