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More than $800,000 in unpaid child support intercepted at casinos

Many Mississippi residents know how important full and timely child support payments are. Whether ordered as part of a divorce settlement or after two unwed parents break up, child support helps provide necessities like education, clothing and food for the child involved. When a noncustodial parent fails to pay, the child is often the one who suffers most.

To combat this problem, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services recruited casinos across the state to participate in a new program. The 18 casinos that are participating in the program can see whether a patron who is collecting winnings is behind on child support. If he or she is, the casino can then garnish those winnings and send it to the state.

The program was piloted in September 2011 at a Baton Rouge casino. Just a few days later, the casino garnished nearly $2,000 from a father who was behind on child support. Since then, the state has collected more than $806,000 in unpaid child support from the casino program alone. At least seven other states have similar programs.

When custodial parents are not paid the child support they are owed, it can cause serious financial difficulties. Not only that, but tracking down a parent who owes child support is often a difficult process. Thanks to innovative programs like Louisiana's casino intercept program, introduced in 2010 by former Senator Nick Gautreaux, parents who are owed support may be more likely to get the money they need to provide for their children.

Source: KSLA, "Casino intercept program nets $806,000 in unpaid child support," Kerry Kirspel, Jan. 29, 2013

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