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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | Personals | Yellow Pages  November 13, 2003
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Where's the Child Support?
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Time now for Eyewitness News Call for Action. Some local mothers are looking for help after their child support payments are somehow missing! After hitting a number of roadblocks, they called for action. Problem Solver Susan Hogan joins us now with more.


 Thousands of parents rely on child support payments every month, but when those checks aren't in the mail, they begin to panic, especially when they can't get any answers...that's when they Call for Action. Fernanda Sousa has been divorced for 4 years now, with two children to clothe, feed and support, it's something she cannot do alone.

Fernanda Sousa, Central Falls

"I'm a single mom, but I do count on these checks.."

 These checks are child support checks that she is supposed to receive every week. But that's not happening.


"From March on I would get a check once a month, sometimes two months without getting any checks."

 Fernanda called Family Court and they insisted it wasn't their fault.. Meantime, the bills kept piling up.


"I needed uniforms, books, they're expensive I knew I would not meet my obligations if I did not get these checks."

Fernanda had to hire an attorney and the problem was figured out...Family Court was posting her checks to someone else..and after Calling for Action, Fernanda did received the 11 child support checks she'd been missing...

Chief Justice, Jeremiah Jeremiah, Family Court

 "We try very hard..."

 Call for Action contacted the Chief Justice of Family Court, Jeremiah Jeremiah after we received a few more phone calls from other mothers all claiming that their child support checks were missing.

Judge Jeremiah

"We always try to improve the system and make it as quick as possible."

 But with 35-thousand child support cases heard last year, and a system that is not computerized, every thing that comes in here, goes out by hand to the Treasurers Office...not a perfect system by any means.

Judge Jeremiah

"You got to understand to us it is very important, people survive because of those payments and it's very important they are made and we try hard."

 But for mothers like Fernanda, sometimes that's just not enough.


"That's when I decided to contact channel 12 and you to see if there was something you could do."

 The Chief Justice says Family Court tries to get these checks posted within 3 days, but acknowledges there are many factors to blame for missing or late checks. Factors he says are out of his control. Family court is trying to get a direct deposit system in place to cut out the paper trail, that would cut out a lot of the problems they're facing now.

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