Cracking Down on "Deadbeats"

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Charlotte Stalnaker heads up the Department of Health and Human Resources Regional Child Support Division. She says more emphasis in following through with court orders has increased the percentage of child support collections substantially since 2001.

"We've got some new policy that will allow us to close out old cases we weren’t going to be able to work on," Stalnaker says, "and concentrate on cases we were going to be successful at."

Washington County hasn't seen a substantial increase in payment collections, but it’s also been aggressive. It has used a tool that's been available since 2002, threatening to revoke drivers licenses for people who don't pay up.

"That wasn't always available to us," says Margie Bruce, head of the Washington County Child Support Enforcement Agency. "When you know something’s coming down the road that may be available, we ask, do we want to implement that into our program?"

Although it has 64,000 residents, Washington County made close to $8 million in collections last year, and that's typical of most Ohio counties of its size.

Some Ohio communities use wanted posters like this one showing people missing back payments, but for a number of reasons, Washington County doesn't find that useful.

"There's counties who print names in the paper, and put them on wanted posters," Bruce says. "That's just something we've chosen not to do."

For the last fiscal year, more than 81 percent of those who owed it made child support payments.

If you have questions concerning child support, or non-payment of child support, you can contact the Wood County office at area code 304-420-4980.

In Washington County the number is 740-373-9324.