A special effort by Los Angeles County to target parents who fail to pay court-ordered child support has reached another milestone achievement. The Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department reports that investigators assigned to the County’s Child Support Arrest Warrant Project have cleared more than 2,000 arrest and bench warrants since the Project’s inception in December 2007.
The Child Support Arrest Warrant Project is a joint collaboration between the Criminal Prosecution Unit of the Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department and the Office of District Attorney. A team of eight District Attorney Investigators is assigned full-time to locating and arresting or citing non-custodial parents who have failed to appear in court or failed to comply with terms of court-ordered probation after conviction for failing to pay support.
In addition to clearing the 2,000 arrest and bench warrants, the project also has resulted in dramatic increases in the amount of support paid by defendants charged with criminal non-support. Since December 2007, more than $11 million in support has been collected from parents who were paying nothing before being charged.
Our goal is not to put parents in jail; rather, it is to ensure that they do the right thing for their children, said Steven J. Golightly, Director of L.A. County CSSD. But if a parent with resources fails to abide by court orders, we will not shy away from doing whatever it takes to ensure compliance.
The joint Child Support Arrest Warrant Project was made possible through funding provided by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, on an initiative of Supervisor Knabe. The County’s investment, matched 2 for 1 with funding from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, fully underwrites the costs of the law enforcement team.
In the last year, the Child Support Arrest Warrant Project has received public recognition for its achievements. In September, 2009, the Project won the LA County STARS award for Service Excellence. In October, it received recognition from the County’s Quality and Productivity Commission at its annual awards ceremony, held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center.