Thursday, August 26, 2004

Butler Co. tries to embarrass its child-support scofflaws



By John Kiesewetter
Enquirer staff writer

HAMILTON - With Butler County parents owing about $86 million in child support, Daniel Cade decided it's time to embarrass some people again.

For the second time in 17 months, names of the top 1,000 people behind on court-ordered child-support payments will be published in newspapers Sunday.

"We want to get the message out: We're not going to tolerate it," said Cade, executive director of the Butler County Child Support Enforcement Agency.

Cade has been recognized nationally for his innovative ways to publicize and punish non-paying parents. On Father's Day three years ago, his office published a list of 200 parents delinquent in child-support payments. The tactic resulted in the location and arrest of 72 people.

The goal of Sunday's two-page newspaper insert - listing offenders owing from $103,738 to $10,049 - isn't to track down parents ignoring their financial responsibilities, although that might happen, Cade said.

"This is a shame technique," admitted Dusty Dunaway, the agency's community affairs coordinator.

Some of the top 1,000 already are in jail for nonpayment. Others have lost their driver's licenses or professional licenses. Cade said his office has interceded to have more than 2,000 driver's licenses suspended, and has "routinely seized $2 million to $3 million in income tax refunds" a year.

His aggressive programs recently earned an award from the National Child Support Enforcement Association. The agency has used newspaper advertisements, wanted posters, a Web site (www.butlercountyohio.org/csea) , videos and newsletters, and has distributed brochures in Spanish.

Since 1995, the agency has collected $709,711 from 92 people featured on 15 "wanted posters." Overall, Cade's tactics have helped reduce the amount owed for 25,000 active cases from $100 million a few years ago to about $86 million, he said.

Based on last year's experience, the county sheriff's office or Cade's agency will receive information about names on Sunday's list from their employers, neighbors, former girlfriends or other acquaintances.

"Our best friends are their enemies," Cade said.

The agency welcomes anonymous tips at 887-3362. Or information can be submitted by e-mail to CSEA@butlercountyohio.org.

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E-mail jkiesewetter@enquirer.com




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