The Amarillo child support division is collecting child support payments in record numbers. They collected 42.8 million dollars in child support. the state of Texas leads the nation for the amount of child support collected. Texas' collections have grown at a rate of triple the national average.
One local father James Lockhart says avoiding child support hurts everyone in the community. he fell into some hard times which kept him from making his child support payments and before he knew it the payments added up. "I wish I would've stayed current the whole time now I'm getting hit twice as hard. If I would stayed current I wouldn't be paying as much as I'm paying right now," Lockhart says with disappointment.
Close to 20% of Panhandle parents that pay child support are finding it harder to pay their child's monthly expenses. Local Child Support manager Felicia McCowan says there are many reason parent fall behind. "Some parents are unemployed or under employed between positions for the most part our customers do a wonderful job," McCowan said. She said local communication and a hard working team is why they are increasing the amount of their collections. So parents like Lockhart can ease some of the burden their child and taxpayers face.
Lockhart agrees as well, "Fathers are not paying it... getting behind causing more on the economy like HUD and things like that. I don't think there is a viable excuse for not paying child support at all. It's court ordered... The children deserve it so you pay it, " he said.
A reason why local child support offices are creating a culture of compliance, so Panhandle children get the support they need.