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New Caseworker To Track Down Those Who Owe Back Child Support


Tippecanoe County will be adding a new Child Support Caseworker.

The funding for the position comes from federal Child Support Incentive Funds.

Prosecutor Pat Harrington says the nearly $33,963 salary is set by the county, and there is currently enough in the fund to cover the position for five years.

He says the person will administer a new program within the Prosecutor’s Office focusing on writs, which are equivalent to a criminal arrest warrant for someone who fails to appear for a court case.

Harrington says writs are difficult to serve because they must be delivered directly to the individual.

“So we have approximately 300-350 outstanding,” says Harrington. “This program is going to be designed to review and make sure the writs are still valid, they’re legally still executed by the court, and then attempt to verify locations and apprehend the person and bring them into the court.”

Harrington says the Tippecanoe County Sheriff and the chiefs of the Lafayette and West Lafayette police departments will use the program to arrest offenders the new employee identifies.

He says while there are a variety of options available to a judge -- including placing the person into a job training program, on work release, or in jail -- the goal is to get people to pay child support, not to incarcerate them.

“Because when children don’t get their support, they don’t thrive,” says Harrington. “It’s that simple. There are statistics that you can look up. It’s amazing how a custodial parent can struggle to buy food for the children because the absent parent is intentionally not paying support.”

There are 11 other caseworkers and three attorneys in the Prosecutors Office that work on the county’s 5,400 open cases.

Harrington says they collect an average of $11.5-million per year in child support.

He says this new position would be eliminated if federal funding dried up, but the county has received an increasing amount every year he’s been in office.

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