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Georgia County Sheriff Targets Deadbeat Parents With Facebook

Divorced and delinquent parents have called in personally after their names, photographs and arrearage amounts were posted for the world to see.

Glynn County, Ga., Sheriff Neal Jump is learning quickly just how powerful social media can be.

Lately, the sheriff's office's Facebook page has been displaying names and photographs of what are commonly referred to as "deadbeat" parents -- parents who have failed to pay significant amounts of court-ordered child support -- and how much each owes.

A new posting Wednesday afternoon added a man who allegedly owes $66,948 in unpaid support. Combined, the 13 people sheriff's deputies are trying to find in order to get before a judge owe $334,388 in support.

Jump said the effort began recently to locate difficult-to-find parents who owe enough money that warrants have been issued for them to appear in court. For the warrants to be effective, deputies have to serve them, and some of the parents have disappeared.

The postings started paying off almost immediately. "We've had numerous people call in," Jump said.

Perhaps most surprising to Jump is how many of the divorced and delinquent parents have called in personally after their names, photographs and arrearage amounts were posted for the world to see.

"They ask how to get their picture and name off of Facebook," Jump said. "I'm hoping in the next couple of weeks to get them all taken down," he said, suggesting that he hopes the strategy will pay off by getting deadbeats to pay up.

Using Facebook has been helpful because the last known addresses of many of the people are no longer valid. With just a name, photo and an incorrect address, Jump said deputies have to use other means to find them.

Posting deadbeat parents' information on Facebook is not something Jump likes to do, but because it can be effective in getting a person before a judge, he plans to keep doing it.

He runs into many cases in which people say they have the best of intention to pay child support, but have fallen on hard times.

"They're not all bad parents, but they have an obligation to pay their child support," Jump said. "The majority of them are not bad folks."

In other cases, Jump says there are parents who have moved on, started a new family and simply stopped paying child support.

"A person may be doing well now, with another family, but they still have to their pay child support," Jump said.

Who Owes?

The Glynn County sheriff's Facebook page can by viewed by entering words such as Glynn County sheriff Facebook in a browser. The photographs are scattered over the page, but can be viewed sequentially by clicking "photos" at the top of the page and using the navigation arrows that appear on the photos.

©2014 The Brunswick News (Brunswick, Ga.)