ANNAPOLIS —A bill that would require individuals who owe child support and are part of a home detention, work release or a pretrial release program run by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to pay child support is advancing in the Maryland General Assembly, and passed a second reading in the Senate on Wednesday.
The bill has been filed in the House of Delegates by the Washington County delegation and in the Senate by Sen. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington.
“I was discussing the issue of child support and victims rights with some people over the summer and they pointed out to me that Washington County was one of the few counties that didn’t already have the ability to ensure that people who are on work release did have to pay child support. So, it seemed like a very simple fix,” Shank said.
If somebody who owes child support and is working and getting an income, then they should be paying child support, Shank said.
“I discussed it with the Department of Social Services, and they thought it made sense, the sheriff thought it made sense,” Shank said.
Among the jurisdictions that already deduct child support payments from inmates in work release programs are Baltimore City, and Allegany, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Dorchester, Frederick, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s and Wicomico counties, according to the state’s Department of Legislative Services.
Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, and the chair of the Washington County delegation, pointed out when former inmates “start to make money, other things can be collected from them, but not child support.”
“We think it’s an omission. The families need it and the children need it to be supported,” Serafini said.
The bill was to ensure that this ability to collect child support by the county sheriff’s office was in the statute, he said.