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The results are in from the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office’s weeklong enforcement sweep of those with outstanding child support warrants: 81 arrested and another 37 made payment arrangements.

That leaves about 3,380 people with outstanding warrants.

The 3,500 individuals under warrant represent nearly $2.9 million in arrearages, said Thomas Blohm, administrator of the Friend of the Court system in Macomb County.

Some $282 million is owed between the 50,000-plus cases the system handles. But, Blohm explained, those cases are not all delinquent. Many people “have been diligent” in meeting their obligations, he said.

Lt. John Michalke of the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office told The Detroit News child support enforcement is an “ongoing effort.” Two sheriff’s deputies do enforcement sweeps in the mornings, and two others work at night, while another handles paperwork and clerical matters. Sheriff’s deputies “make arrests daily,” Michalke said.

The sweep, which put 10 sheriff’s deputies on enforcement duty, twice as many as normally would be, stretched from Sept. 21 to Sunday.

The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office is still looking for the public’s help in tracking down delinquents. Those with knowledge of a person with a child support warrant are being asked to call (586) 469-5756 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Blohm previously said the point of the media-announced enforcement sweep was to encourage people to address arrearages. Those who lacked the ability to pay could be helped by payment arrangements and could even have some of their arrearages waived, but only if they contacted the Friend of the Court.

Michalke said “the goal is to gain voluntary compliance” and for parents to “satisfy their child support obligations,” not to make arrests. Blohm had previously described such arrests as “traumatic” and divisive for families.

Bench warrants for child support, Blohm explained, usually result from a missed court hearing. People who are not paying their debts and are not communicating with the court were the target of the sweep.

“We will continue to work with people who come in, and we will continue enforcement on those who do not,” Blohm said.

Unpaid child support is a $6.9 billion problem in Michigan, according to the Attorney General’s office.

jdickson@detroitnews.com

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