“Endeavor Armadillo” results in 85 arrests of parents who failed to pay child support

Four Rio Grande Valley sheriffs have arrested 85 parents in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Webb counties for violating court orders requiring them to pay child support. All parents arrested during this week’s roundup were the subjects of arrest warrants because of their failure to pay child support. The efforts of Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio, Hidalgo County Sheriff J. E. “Eddie” Guerra, Starr County Sheriff Rene “Orta” Fuentes and Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar were supported by Child Support Division investigators, who assisted the sheriffs by providing logistical assistance to locate missing parents.

“Caring for your children is the fundamental and moral responsibility of any parent,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “I commend 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 operation began at 5 a.m. Tuesday and ended today. The sheriffs dispatched teams of deputies to span the counties tracking down noncompliant parents wanted for contempt of court for violating civil court orders.

The delinquent parents arrested in last week’s initiative face up to six months in jail. Cash bonds that parents pay to get out of jail go to the custodial parents and children who are owed back child support.

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 $3.9 billion for the state fiscal year that ended Aug. 31. Parents in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Webb counties paid $265 million of that amount. 

The Attorney General’s Child Support Division is the most successful and cost-effective program in the nation. The division currently administers 1.5 million child support cases, serving 1.7 million children. The division collects $11.34 for every $1 spent to operate the program and collected $3.7 billion in child support in Federal FY 2014.