Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith – with assistance from the Tyler Police Department; Troup Police Department; the Smith County Community Supervision and Corrections Department; and constables from precincts 2, 3, 4 and 5 – has arrested 25 Smith County parents who violated court orders requiring them to pay child support. Today’s sweep 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 Sheriff Smith 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 4:30 a.m. when Sheriff Smith dispatched 10 teams of law enforcement officers to track down noncompliant parents before they had a chance to leave their homes for the day. Child Support Division investigators aided the constable by providing logistical assistance to locate missing parents.
Today’s roundup resulted in the arrest of 18 parents whose failure to support their children violates the law. Last month, when roundup preparations began, seven additional parents were arrested, for a total of 25 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 Smith 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. The Smith County child support office collected $49 million of that amount.