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Amnesty program collects $8,000

September 18, 2000

Amnesty program collects $8,000



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


About 13 Washington County residents paid a total of about $8,000 in back child support during Maryland's first statewide amnesty program for parents behind on child support payments.

The program last week drew 39 residents to the Child Support Enforcement Office at 122 N. Potomac St. in Hagerstown, according to Kelly Rohrer, lead worker for the Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration, part of Maryland's Human Services Agency.

The program was for state residents, including those being sought by authorities on bench warrants for nonpayment of child support. The residents had to make an effort to pay the payment in order for the warrants to be lifted, she said.

Child Support officials arranged to dismiss the warrants of 13 residents and referred five others to treatment and employment programs to help them make payments, she said.

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Most of the others came in without money, she said. Some hoped that the warrants would be lifted despite that, she said. Others said they wanted to find out how much they owed and promised to return with the payment, she said.

Statewide statistics were not yet available, she said.

The program was a success even if only $8,000 was collected, she said.

"That is better than no money at all," she said.

Child support officials did not expect much money to be paid in Washington County because it 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.

There is no word on whether the program will be repeated in the future, she said.

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