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January 5, 2004

The Seattle Times

Re: State Patrol to help snag child support
January 5, 2004

Dear Editor:

So the Washington State Patrol will help collect child support from confiscated cash or unattended wallets. This doesn't go far enough. Why not search for hidden treasure at every traffic stop? Troopers should hold drivers and passengers upside down, shake, and see if any money falls out. While they're at it, why not search the ashtrays and cupholders for loose change?

And it's about time the WSP starts enforcing family court orders. If traffic officers are going to collect child support, they should also enforce custody and visitation. Millions of dollars of back child support may be owed, but millions of hours of residential time have been denied to non-custodial parents. At every traffic stop involving custodial parents, the WSP should contact the non-custodial parent and determine if he or she is getting their court-ordered visits.

Studies prove that the more access non-custodial parents have to the children, the higher the percentage of child support that gets paid. Forget seizing cash in vehicles, that's chump change. Have troopers accompany visiting parents to pick up their children. If Washington State gets serious about enforcing parental access rights, the child support money will follow.

Lisa D. Scott

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