Oklahoma has 11,684 parents owing past-due child support with active bench warrants for failing to appear at a court hearing. Throughout the month of August, these noncustodial parents can work with their local Child Support Services (CSS) office and the court to have their warrants recalled, not only removing the threat of arrest but also improving the opportunity to support their children in an initiative called Amnesty in August.
"Amnesty in August is an opportunity for Oklahoma parents who have fallen behind on child support to come in and work with us to get back on track," said Meg Cannon, a spokesperson for CSS. "Parents who seek our assistance in August have an opportunity to develop a payment plan that will help them move forward with their obligations and hopefully create stronger connections with their children."
Amnesty in August is available to noncustodial parents who have cases through CSS, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
"Children deserve the support of both parents. The last thing we want is for a parent to fall behind and stay behind, losing hope of providing the support his or her child needs and deserves," said CSS director Gary W. Dart. "As children across the state prepare to return to school, we want to make sure that as many as possible have the benefit of receiving support from both parents."
Amnesty in August is Oklahoma's first child support amnesty program in more than a decade.
"Child support is a legal and moral obligation," said Cannon. "If the threat of arrest has been a parent's main obstacle to meeting that obligation, then Amnesty in August is the perfect opportunity for that parent to re-engage in the support of his or her children."