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Friday, November 13, 2009

Thousands of Philadelphia fathers -- and some mothers offered amnesty

The thousands of Philadelphia fathers -- and some mothers -- who have bench warrants for outstanding child support payments, are being offered amnesty from Family Court.

You still have to pay your child support, but Family Court administrative judge Kevin Dougherty (at lectern in photo) says that people with outstanding bench warrants can come in between now and 4pm next Wednesday, November 18th, without fear of being arrested:

"We will in fact withdraw your bench warrant and we will register you for a court hearing so that you can come back into the courthouse and meet your obligations."

Working with Philadelphia fatherhood organizations, Dougherty says, the court will also help those without jobs to find jobs and job training:

"The issue is making sure that the parent that owes that money is obligated to pay for the support of that child, and that Philadelphia Family Court is providing an opportunity for employment -- and possibly long-term employment with benefits -- in these rough economic times."

Dougherty says 5,100 people have bench warrants against them, and they owe a collective $48 million in child support. He says the amnesty runs only until next Wednesday -- after that, and the bench warrants will be enforced once again.

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