The Oregon Department of Justice leads law enforcement sweep, arresting 21 parents with outstanding arrest warrants for unpaid child support
Oregon Attorney General John Kroger today announced a successful statewide sweep of delinquent parents who have the financial ability to make court-ordered child support payments but have intentionally refused to do so.
"Being a single parent is the toughest job in the world," Attorney General Kroger said. "This arrest sweep sends a strong message: parents must take responsibility for their kids. I want to thank our law enforcement partners for their help in this important law enforcement operation."
The sweep targeted the most egregious cases of parents who are able but unwilling to pay court-ordered child support. The 21 parents arrested Wednesday owed a total of $531,206 in delinquent child support.
The enforcement action highlights the Child Support Program's commitment to improving child support collections as part of August's "Child Support Awareness Month." The mission of the Division of Child Support (DCS) is to enhance the well-being of children by providing child support services to families. Oregon's Child Support Program collected $344 million in child support in 2008 for nearly 250,000 Oregon children. Most child support payments are made voluntarily by parents.
"These arrests underscore the importance society places on our obligations to our children," said DCS Director Jean Fogarty. "You can't go to jail for failing to make your car payment but you can go to jail for failing to pay your child support. The sad truth is that some parents don't prioritize their children until we force them to do so. The good news is that an arrest can be a wake up call for some people who do learn how to become responsible parents."
The sweep was conducted by a Department of Justice directed task force that included district attorneys and law enforcement agencies across the state. All of the arrestees are the subjects of contempt complaints for willful failure to pay court-ordered child support and face maximum sentences of up to six months in jail plus full payment of their overdue obligations to their children. Authorities are still actively pursuing other delinquents for whom arrest warrants or summonses were issued as part of enforcement action.
Nearly 30 law enforcement agencies around Oregon participated in Wednesday's sweep.
While the Child Support Program continues to pursue delinquent parents, it also is committed to working with parents who want to support their children. For example, the Department of Justice gained legislative approval in 2009 to temporarily modify child support orders for parents who are out of work as a result of the current recession and unable to pay.
The Child Support Taskforce participants included: the Oregon Department of Justice, Marion County District Attorney's Office, Multnomah County District Attorney's Office, Washington County District Attorney's Office, Clackamas County District Attorney's Office, Union County District Attorney's Office and Yamhill County District Attorney's Office.
Cooperating law enforcement agencies in Wednesday's sweep included: Oregon State Police (coordinated and led taskforces in Marion, Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties), Oregon Department of Justice Criminal Division, Mount Angel Police Department, Keizer Police Department, Salem Police Department, Aumsville Police Department, Silverton Police Department, Stayton Police Department, Woodburn Police Department, Eugene Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Hood River County Sheriff's Office, Florence Police Department, Coos County Sheriff's Office, Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Crook County Sheriff's Office, Linn County Sheriff's Office, Yamhill County Sheriff's Office, Benton County Sheriff's Office, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Lane County Sheriff's Office, Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, Polk County Sheriff's Office, Baker County Sheriff's Office, Union County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force – Portland, Washington County Sheriff's Office, Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 firstname.lastname@example.org