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"DCFS will use every avenue possible to collect child support from these parents who have evaded our other efforts to collect the money they owe," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson. "These interceptions are vital to provide for the needs of their children, and using Louisiana Casinos is a very effective means for collecting arrears payments."
The Belle of Baton Rouge has four interceptions for a total of $15,877.26, the Hollywood Casino of Baton Rouge has 11 interceptions totaling $14,296.43 and Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino of Lafayette has six interceptions for a total of $11,520.49.
The pilot program with Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge was launched on September 6, 2011, and the first payment was intercepted just two days later on September 8. The program will be implemented statewide in all casinos in the coming months.
Legislation introduced by former Senator Nick Gautreaux and passed during the 2010 Legislative Session made the requirement to collect winnings of more that $1,200 for child support arrears state law. The measure had the support of 28 District Attorneys across the state.
Child support payments are used by the custodial parent to offset costs for raising the child, including providing food and shelter, medical costs, child care and school fees and uniforms.
A substantial body of research shows that child support collections significantly reduce the number of families receiving cash-based assistance like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, also called welfare).
To date in Federal Fiscal Year 2011, DCFS has collected more than $385 million in child support payments to date. As part of collection efforts, more than $7.4 million has been collected in 2,566 cases from payments made by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility as a result of the BP oil spill.
Failure to pay court-ordered child support can result in liens against the non-payor's property, seizure of assets, suspension of driver's, business, professional, hunting or fishing licenses, interception of state and federal tax returns, passport denial and contempt of court charges, among other enforcement actions.
DCFS Child Support Services offers custodial parents several resources, including parent locator services, paternity establishment, establishment of child support orders, enforcement of orders and collection and distribution of child support.
Any parent or person responsible for a child can receive services from DCFS' Child Support Enforcement program. Those currently in the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) or Kinship Care Subsidy Program (KSCP) or who receive Medicaid automatically receive child support enforcement services. Anyone not in those programs may apply for Child Support Enforcement services through an application and a $25 fee.