Behind on child support? Durham offers amnesty - for 1 day only

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- In Durham, more than 700 people -- the majority of them men -- are at risk of being arrested and jailed for not paying child support.

On Wednesday, at the Durham County Courthouse, Social Services is offering another option.

"They come to court. They either pay $500 or whatever their bond amount was initially. We recall the order for arrest. And they are pretty much finished with their court date," explained Quannah Jackson-Brown, who manages Child Support Services for Durham County.

Jackson-Brown said some of her clients are behind as much as $2,000 on child-support payments.

This program is in its fourth consecutive year.

Organizers said that during these years, those initial amnesty payments of $500 have helped many families. Last year, Social Services collected $9,428.95.

"I had an opportunity to speak to an individual the other day. And I asked them to bring whatever amount it is that they have. Because they are going to go before a judge, and have a conversation with the judge and a public defender to see would this amount be suitable," Jackson-Brown said.

Social Services said people fall behind on payments for various reasons including medical issues, unemployment or underemployment.

Jackson-Brown also said Amnesty Day is not just about the money, but connecting those individuals to job resources and other tailored services to help parents restart.

But they must take the first step and show up to court Wednesday.

"If they do not show up tomorrow, there will still be an order for their arrest and they could be taken into custody," she warned.

Child Support Amnesty is a one-day-only event. It happens inside courtroom 5B from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
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