State officials have taken a cue from the FBI in their effort to catch people who aren't paying child support.
This month, Kansas social workers submitted a "most wanted" poster to a national child support enforcement organization and it was released nationally.
The poster features a photograph of Rodney C. Jesseph, a 40-year-old man who owes $58,500 in support for his three children. The poster says Jesseph is a "highly paid, self-employed tool designer" whose last known address was in Weatherford, Tex.
Anyone with information about Jesseph is asked to call the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Wichita Child Support Enforcement Agency at 316-291-2100.
Information for the poster was sent by the SRS' Child Support Enforcement Program to the National Council of State Child Support Enforcement Administrators. The national group then printed the poster and distributed it to child support collection organizations across the U.S.
PAULA SCOTT, an SRS child support enforcement agent in Wichita, said state social workers have been submitting information for the poster program for several years. This is the first year the national group selected a Kansas case for a poster, she said.
The national organization's criteria for a poster, Scott said, is that the runaway parent owe at least $8,000 in child support payments, that officials submit a photo and a physical description of the parent and that there's "some sort of interesting story" behind the case.
Scott said Jesseph's case is interesting because, although he earns good wages, he refuses to pay child support and has moved several times to escape his obligation.
Scott said workers in Wichita are putting copies of the poster in laundromats, community centers and other gathering places. Whether any copies will make their way to Lawrence is unclear.
A SPOKESWOMAN for the Lawrence SRS office, which does not have a child support enforcement bureau, said she had not heard of the program nor seen one of the posters. The nearest child support bureau is in Topeka.
Also unclear is whether the program will grow to include heavier distribution or more posters of runaway parents from Kansas.
"We don't know how regular of an effort this project will be," Scott said.
If the program were to continue, she said, state workers would have plenty of possible poster subjects to choose from. She said there are about 110,000 cases of delinquent child support in the state.
Although the program may be too limited to ensure violators will be caught, Scott said, it is still valuable as a publicity tool.
"I view it as raising public awareness on the issue of child support," she said. "It gives the message of `Let's be more aggressive about this.'"