Local News

Deadbeats Get Father's Day Surprise

Posted June 12, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Each month, about five thousand people across the county send in less child support than what's due or nothing at all. Slowly but surely, though, more and more absent parents are finding it harder to neglect their kids.

It will be a memorable father's day for 26 deadbeat dads in Cumberland County. Over two days, deputies rounded them up and hauled them into court. Combined, they owe nearly $300,000.

While the long arm of the law puts the squeeze on them, many others remain on the run. Jennifer Bell is a child support supervisor. She says the most frustrating part for a client is nearly getting a father in reach, then he suddenly disappears.

Aldia Freeman knows what it's like to deal with a deadbeat dad. Year after year, the father of her 13-year-old son, Chris, failed to pay the child support he owed. Freeman wishes she could have done better in providing a better place for Chris, but she didn't have the extra money. She would have given Chris the things he wanted and needed.

Last year, support for Chris began arriving on a regular basis-- $106 a month, as ordered by the courts back when Chris was born. His mother wants an increase, but the father lives in Nevada, so there's plenty of red tape in the way.

Chris thinks his dad should send a little bit more to help his mom with expenses like shoes. Right now, Chris is forced to wear cheaper shoes or "bo-bo's" which could cause him to be made fun of at school. Chris knows his mom can't do it all herself.

More and more deadbeat parents are paying up, thanks to "Most Wanted" posters and new laws taking privileges away from those who don't pay. In one month this spring, the child support office in Cumberland County collected 1.7 million dollars-- a local record.