Florida Law Enforcement Cracking Down on Deadbeat Parents

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Sheriff’s deputies fan out around the last known address of a man who owes back child support.

They have a warrant to arrest him for failing to pay. Police agencies throughout Florida work with the state Department of Revenue to track down the deadbeats and get the money to their children.

SGT Steve Norville is helping to serve warrants as part of a special roundup of deadbeat parents over the holidays.

SGT Steve Norville, a Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy, says, "Many of the people we are after have never paid a dime. They owe thousands of dollars."

It’s tough on their family members and friends too, who don’t know whether to protect the parent who owes the money or help the police.

Nearly one out of three children who is supposed to be receiving support is not getting the money they’re owed. Either the state hasn’t been able to find the deadbeat parent, or the parent keeps finding ways around the system.

At the second house DEP Jerry Shuler checked out in a half-hour for one guy, he came up empty again. It happens a lot.

"Change of address, they know we’re looking for them, they’re changing their addresses as fast as they possibly can, and it’s, you saw what it was like this morning, you run into a lot of dead ends," he adds.

Out of four warrants they tried to serve, deputies weren’t able to make a single arrest this time, but they say they’ll be back for the kids’ sake.

Florida has made huge gains in its efforts to collect back child support, in part from tougher enforcement, new computer systems and a good working relationship with law enforcement.