Arizona now shames deadbeat dads through social media. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey began a new campaign this week to encourage “the worst of the worst” parents to pay up on their child support payments, reports NBC News.
The Governor called out fathers who are not taking care of their child support obligations during Monday’s State of the State address, as reported on the Governor’s website.
“For fathers out there who aren’t meeting their obligations, we also have a plan.”
“I’m talking to deadbeat dads. For too long, you’ve been able to remain anonymous – able to skirt your financial and legal responsibilities with no shame.”
“Some people have referred to me as the ‘Hash-tag Governor.’ Well here’s a new one for all the deadbeat dads out there: Effective immediately, the state is going to begin posting the photos, names and money owed by these losers to social media, with the hash-tag ‘deadbeat.'”
“It’s simple. If you’re old enough to father a child, then you’re old enough to accept financial responsibility for that child. If you don’t want your embarrassing – unlawful – and irresponsible behavior going viral: Man up, and pay up.”
By that evening, the Arizona Department of Economic Security began its social media campaign shaming deadbeat parents by posting pictures, names and child support amount owed onto Facebook and Twitter.
The NY Daily News reported the first shaming deadbeat tweet to be posted.
“WANTED: #AZ Child Support Evader Aaron Ace Anderson — Owes $170,993 #deadbeat.” A photo of Anderson was included. The second person called out was Carlos Archumde, who owes over $69,000. The department plans on tweeting out every person on the list, and will include the hashtag #deadbeat.
The campaign is aimed at 421 people who owe a combined $20 million. Thirty-four of those are women. Those on the list have a warrant out for their arrest, they owe more than $5,000 in back child support and authorities do not know where they located.
Not on the list are parents who are receiving welfare benefits or who have filed for bankruptcy.
An Arizona law passed in 1999 requires the DES to post names and pictures of men and women who owe child support to its website, reports The Verge.
Tasya Peterson, the Assistant Director of Communications and Professional Development for the State Department of Economic Security sent an email to the NY Daily News.
“This issue is about awareness and accountability. Arizona law has long required the Department of Economic Security to post these photos and information to the website, but Governor Ducey and (DES) Director (Timothy) Jeffries are aiming to amplify these efforts using social media.”
She also spoke with NBC News.
“The non-paying parents included in this Child Support Evader list do not represent those with the highest amounts owed or the most egregious circumstances. Rather, they are featured to enlist the help of the general public in locating these parents so DCSS (Division of Child Support Services) can continue its efforts to collect child support on behalf of Arizona families.”
Not everybody is in favor of Arizona shaming the deadbeat parents, however. Arizona Fathers’ Rights, a volunteer group that helps support parents in custody battles, labeled the shaming tweets as a “cheap publicity stunt.”
Chairman of the board, David Hamu made a statement to NBC News.
“The fact is well-known that the vast majority of people labeled as ‘Deadbeats’ are simply Dead-broke. Moreover, this sort of gender bias would result in a typhoon of outrage if women were being singled out and it is truly awful that Gov. Ducey doesn’t acknowledge that there are mothers who are obligors who should also be targeted during any crackdown.”
Many of the mothers who are owed back child support are quite happy to see something done about the issue. Do you think Arizona should be shaming deadbeat dads?
[Image via AP Images]