According to the University of Maryland School of Social Work's Family Welfare Research and Training Group, noncustodial parents who have been or are currently in prison owed an average of $22,000 in delinquent child support payments upon their release. Experts say that this is far beyond the financial means of most of these parents, who are often poorly educated and unable to earn income while incarcerated.
It is common practice for states to levy harsh penalties against noncustodial parents who fail to pay child support, often garnishing their wages, revoking their professional licenses and even sentencing them to jail. However, such tactics often fail to actually help the custodial parents in need of support. For this reason, Maryland has begun implementing changes to the way it collects child support, changes that have shown promising results so far.
The White House Domestic Policy Council has issued a new report that outlines several plans aimed at helping families across the country. Inside this report are two announcements regarding changes to the way the federal government will treat child support. The report explains that the Obama administration will begin issuing waivers designed to help noncustodial parents who have trouble making child support secure occupational training and employment, allowing them to better provide financially for their children.
Authorities from a number of sheriff's offices and the Maryland State Police recently conducted a statewide sweep aimed at detaining noncustodial parents with warrants for failing to pay child support. In Prince George's County alone, a team of 11 deputies with the Child Support Enforcement Division of the sheriff's office investigated 286 warrants. Of these, the deputies arrested 51 suspects who collectively owe back child support in excess of $343,000. They also closed 100 writs and warrants involving child support.
A former NBA player famous for being part of an NCAA basketball team and a group referred to as the "Fab Five" in the early 1990s has been arrested for failing to make outstanding child support payments.