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State offers amnesty for late child support

September 05, 2000

State offers amnesty for late child support



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


About 235 Washington County residents can participate next week in Maryland's first statewide amnesty program for residents who are behind in child support payments.

State residents, including those being sought by authorities on bench warrants related to nonpayment of child support, may participate in the Amnesty 2000 program, according to Kelly Rohrer, lead worker for the Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration, which is part of Maryland's Human Services Agency.

If they are unemployed or have other reasons they can't make the support payments, they will be referred to services that may help them find jobs or make other life changes, such as getting into substance abuse programs, Rohrer said.

The amnesty program starts Monday and ends Friday, Sept. 15.

Washington County has the highest child support collection rate in the state, she said.

While the state average is about 57 percent, Washington County, with 5,603 child support cases, has a 73 percent collection rate, Rohrer said.

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County residents can participate by going to the Child Support Enforcement Office at 122 N. Potomac St. in Hagerstown between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The program requires the coordinated effort of child support offices, sheriff's departments and courts across the state, Rohrer said.

There are 341,859 children under the age of 18 in Maryland's child support system, she said.

"The program gives parents the opportunity to come in to our child support office to either pay off their arrears in full or in part, with arrangements to pay," Washington County Social Services Director David Engle said in a news release.

"Parental support, both financial and emotional, is a fundamental right every child in Maryland deserves," Gov. Parris N. Glendening said in the release. "Amnesty 2000 is one way we are encouraging parents to do the right thing by giving children what they need to grow and thrive."

For more information about the amnesty program, call 240-420-2200.

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