Every six months, a new set of faces that represent 10 parents "wanted for failure to pay child support" is plastered on posters displayed across Mississippi.
The Department of Human Services hasn't received much response from its latest poster. But DHS officials say the poster technique, used since the late 1990s, results in a minimum 60 percent success rate in locating the men and women.
Getting them to pay is a different matter. Some people don't have the money to support their children, said Walley Naylor, director of the Division of Child Support Enforcement.
"And some people will pay because they don't want their picture on that poster," he said. "It lets people know we're serious."
One thousand posters are scattered throughout the state at post offices, state buildings and child-support offices in each county. The poster also is on DHS's Web site.
To be pictured on the poster, parents must owe at least $10,000 and lack any information that would help locate them, such as a current address or employer.
"When these noncustodial parents don't support their children, taxpayers get the bill for their financial and medical support," the poster says. It names the parents and gives a toll-free number for DHS.
Nsombi Lambright, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Mississippi, said she's not sure if the poster violates privacy rights. The ACLU has protested statewide billboards that feature photographs of sex offenders.
"I'm sure resources can be used more effectively to help families and support the lives of children," Lambright said.
But Craig Robertson, a Ridgeland family law attorney who handles child-support cases, said he believes the posters serve as a deterrent.
"I think most fathers don't want to be considered a deadbeat dad," he said.
One woman is featured in the latest poster.
DHS announced last week that Mississippi received millions more in child-support payments over the last fiscal year because of more efficient collection methods.
Heavy caseloads prevent the state from collecting a lot more money.
DHS served 468,548 children during the fiscal year that ended June 30, and collected more than $264 million in child support. That's a $21.9 million increase over the previous fiscal year. About 65,000 families are getting some form of child support each month, up from 62,000 the year before.
About $800 million has gone uncollected during the last 20 years, Naylor said.
Mississippi uses a variety of methods to enforce child-support payments. Some of those include withholding income, intercepting taxes and unemployment benefits, denying passports and suspending driver's licenses.
"Most people pay, in my experience, without having to be repeatedly sued," said James Bell, a Jackson family law attorney who handles child-support cases. "There is a significant number who don't pay."
Sometimes parents leave the state or stop reporting income to avoid child-support payments, Naylor said.
Bell said sometimes parents can't afford to pay because they lost their job or business. And sometimes a rocky relationship with their ex plays a factor, he added.
"If you can get them to focus on the welfare of a child, most people say, 'I want to help my child, regardless of how I feel about my (ex),' " he said.