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Attorney General Abbott, Travis County Constable Crack Down on Parents Who Fail to Pay Child Support

September 10, 2007 - Austin, Texas

Travis County Pct. 5 Constable Bruce Elfant and deputies with his office have arrested 30 local parents who violated court orders requiring them to pay child support. The countywide sweep conducted in conjunction with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Child Support Division continues through the month. The operation targets parents who fail to make regular child support payments.

Attorney General Gregg Abbot and Constable Bruce Elfant “Texans will not tolerate parents who neglect their children,” Attorney General Abbott said today in an Austin news conference. “Parents who do not pay their child support must be held accountable. We are grateful to Constable Elfant for his commitment to children and his dedication to strict law enforcement.”

The sweep represents an intense effort by Elfant’s office to track down parents wanted for nonpayment of child support in cases handled by the Texas Office of the Attorney General and the Travis County Domestic Relations Office. Constable Elfant kicked off the operation this morning at 5 a.m. by dispatching eight two-person teams to track down delinquent Travis County parents wanted on contempt-of-court charges that stem from their failure to pay child support.

Pct. 1 Constable Luke Mercer, Pct 3 Constable Richard McCain and Pct. 4 Constable Maria Canchola are partnering with Elfant’s office to make arrests and offer additional assistance. Investigators with the Attorney General’s Child Support Division aided the constables by providing logistical assistance to locate missing parents.

Delinquent parents arrested in the roundup must appear for court hearings that can result in sentences of up to six months in jail. Cash bonds that parents post to get out of jail are paid to the custodial parents and children who are owed back child support.

Parents wanted for child support violations can avoid the embarrassment of arrest at their home or work by contacting Constable Elfant’s Adult Warrant Unit at (512) 854-9582.

Under state and federal law, the Office of the Attorney General is obligated to assist families who request child support services and is required to assist those 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.

Parents can call (800) 252-8014 to apply for services or obtain information about their child support case. Statewide, child support collected by the Attorney General exceeded $2 billion for the state fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2007. The Attorney General’s Austin child support offices collected $103 million of that amount.

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