Project Amnesty, a pilot program for delinquent parents who have failed to make child support payments, will be implemented in six California counties for two months beginning on Sunday, Father's Day, it was announced Thursday.
Under the plan, discussed at a State Building press conference in downtown Los Angeles, violators will not be prosecuted if they make arrangements during the amnesty period--June 16 to Aug. 16--to pay the money they owe.
The test program, approved by the state Health and Welfare Agency and the state Department of Social Services, will be implemented in Orange, Riverside, Ventura, Kern, Santa Cruz and Sacramento counties.
Noting that more than $850 million in court-ordered child support payments remains unpaid in California, Tom Warriner, deputy secretary of the state Health and Welfare Agency, said the project is designed to make delinquent fathers part of the system.
After the amnesty period ends, the state plans to study the project in each county and issue a report to all the district attorneys in California for possible implementation.
Los Angeles County was not asked to participate in the pilot program, according to Warriner, because Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner indicated that he does not consider the project "practicable." Instead, Reiner ordered a crackdown on delinquent fathers to coincide with Father's Day.
State officials credited Los Angeles feminist attorney Gloria Allred and former Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Robert Philibosian with suggesting the pilot project to the agency. The program was announced in conjunction with a proclamation by Gov. George Deukmejian declaring June 16 through Aug. 16 as Child Support Awareness Weeks.
Word about the project will be spread by public service announcements on radio and television, billboards, posters and bumper stickers.