TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - In less than 140 characters, Governor Doug Ducey wants to make parents pay child support.
At his State of the State address on Monday, Ducey announced a new plan to post the names and pictures of child support evaders on Twitter along with the hashtag "deadbeat." Ducey also discussed the plans while in Tucson on Tuesday.
— AzDES (@ArizonaDES) January 11, 2016
"I'm talking to deadbeat dads," Ducey said. "For too long you've been able to remain anonymous."
"It's simple," Ducey said. "If you're old enough to father a child, then you're old enough to accept financial responsibility for that child. If you don't want your embarrassing unlawful behavior going viral, man up and pay up."
Following Ducey's address, the Arizona Department of Economic Security Tweeted a picture of Aaron Ace Anderson. DES says he owes more than $170,000 in child support. According to state officials Anderson is one of 421 parents in Arizona who fit the criteria to be classified as child support evaders. DES reports that collectively those parents owe more than $20 million in child support.
In an E-mail Tanya Petersen, a spokesperson for DES, said for a parent to be listed as a child support evader they have to meet the following requirements:
- court-ordered delinquent support must be in excess of $5,000
- an arrest warrant has been issued
- the location of the non-custodial parent is unknown
- the non-custodial parent has not made any payments in the last six months
- the non-custodial parent is not involved in bankruptcy proceedings or receiving welfare benefits
- DCSS is provided with a photo of the non-custodial parent
Under state law, Petersen says DES is already required to post the photos and names of evaders online.
Critics say that public record does not mean the government should be allowed to insult and shame Arizona residents on social media.
Nine On Your Side spoke to Arizona Representative Eric Meyer, who does not support the plan because it does not address the problems facing child protective services.
"It's really hard to make people pay up if they don't have a job or any money," Meyer said.
Meyer says the state should invest in programs that keep families out of child protective services in the first place. One idea he gave was to increase funding to state food subsidy funds, which Meyer says help feed some of the neediest families in Arizona.
DES says the social media effort is about raising awareness and accountability.
If you know any information about those featured on the DES Twitter feed, you can contact the state at 1(800) 882 - 4151 or (602) 252 - 4045.