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Licenses Returned for Child Support

June 08, 2003|Stanley Allison | Times Staff Writer

More than 300 parents who lost their driver's licenses for failing to make child-support payments descended on the Orange County Department of Child Support Services offices Saturday to reclaim their ability to drive legally -- if they can pay some of the money they owe.

Parents started to line up outside the offices about 6:30 a.m., said Angel Monico, public outreach manager for the department. Thirty-nine workers were on hand to handle the crowd from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Monico said the department sent 23,500 invitations to the program, offered for the first time in Orange County. Having more than 300 turn out is considered a success, he said, because at least that many children are receiving some money that they were not getting before. He said the department received $38,142 on Saturday that will be distributed to the children.

"If they need to work to pay support, that implies driving. So we know we are helping them help us get that support," to the children who need it, Monico said.

Monico said delinquent parents could owe $100 to $100,000. To get a release they can take to the Department of Motor Vehicles, parents would have to come up with their regular June payment and something past due.

"I had a guy, all he could come up with was $8. I took it," Monico said.

Without the new program, which Monico said he believes will be repeated, "they would have to negotiate some sort of payment plan that's significantly higher than what we're asking for today."

Lino Soliz, 43, of Anaheim said he is more than $12,000 behind in payments to his teenage daughter. He said he had been out of work for seven years after suffering a back injury as a factory worker in 1993.

On Saturday, cradling his 2-year-old son Oliver, Soliz said the program didn't take care of all his problems, "but at least I get my license back." He told his care worker that all he can afford right now is $50 a month.

Normally, the mood in the Santa Ana office is somber and tense, Monico said. But on Saturday, there were smiles and handshakes and happy people.

"You should see their faces," Monico said." One guy shook my hand three times. It's been very rewarding."

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