Nacogdoches sheriff arrests 13 in child-support roundup - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches sheriff arrests 13 in child-support roundup

Thomas Kerss Thomas Kerss
Greg Abbott Greg Abbott
BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) -

By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Tonight in the Nacogdoches County Jail are 13 parents who simply refused over and over again to take care of their kids financially. They had better come up with something to the judge as to why by tomorrow morning.

"There will be a child support court set for tomorrow so all the individuals that are coming into custody today will immediately go before a judge tomorrow and we'll determine at that time whether or not they'll be able to be released from jail," Sheriff Thomas Kerss said.

Delinquent parents arrested on civil warrants face up to six months in jail. Before that, the attorney general's office has offered payment arrangements, guidance and even assistance when they lose a job due to the economic downturn.

"We help them find work, but these people that proceeded to the roundup, these are parents that had been given many opportunities to pay," attorney general spokeswoman Janice Rolfe said. "Jail is a last resort."

It's a violation Attorney General Greg Abbott has trouble tolerating.

"I consider a parent's failure to pay child support to be child abuse of its worst form," Abbott said.

Fortunately, child support collections are up across the state.

The Nacogdoches County child support office, which covers Nacogdoches and eight surrounding counties, collected $37 million.


In addition to the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office, Pct. 1 Constable William Sowell and the Nacogdoches Police Department participated in the countywide effort. Child Support Division investigators aided Kerss by providing logistical assistance to locate the wanted parents.

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 contacting the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office. Parents who have fallen behind on their child support payments – but are not 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 Office of the Attorney General exceeded $2.9 billion for the state fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2010. The Attorney General's Nacogdoches County child support office, which covers Nacogdoches and eight surrounding counties, collected $37 million of that amount.

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