LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. — Parents in Lauderdale County owe at least $3 million in back child support and more than 200 arrest warrants have been issued as a result, according to the district attorney’s office.
In June, the Lauderdale County District Attorney’s Office began what it’s calling a child support “round-up” for parents who have failed to make payments during the pandemic.
Child Support Coordinator Christina Martin tells News 19 that parents need to contact the Child Support Unit to make arrangements if they discover that there is a warrant out for their arrest, however, Marcus Echols said the system is broken. He’s the co-host of the Child Support Hustle radio show.
“We believe you made these kids in private, you should take care of them in private,” Echols said. “There’s never a good outcome when the state gets involved.”
Echols said the time to make arrangements should be before a warrant is even issued. “I don’t like for them to call that a child support round-up,” he explained. “It is a child support shake-down because the people that’s going to be shook down are the loved ones of these people she had just issued these warrants for.”
Echols said he understands there are parents who truly are avoiding the responsibility of paying, but added there is an unfairness to those who may just be down on their luck.
“People weren’t paying during the pandemic, a lot of people weren’t paying, a lot of people weren’t working, a lot of things weren’t open, people were scared for their lives,” Echols said.
The DA’s office said the goal for the round-up system is not to fill the jails and Echols believes there is a solution to achieve that.
“The DA can recall these warrants and give these people a grace period; we’ve just come off of COVID,” Echols said.
Echols said he believes that by issuing those warrants, all of the parents have been denied fair treatment through the legal system.