Demand for passports is up now that they're required for travel to Canada and Mexico but the new rules say you can't get a passport if you owe more than twenty-five hundred dollars in delinquent child support.
It's been a big incentive. Jessica Erickson at the state Department of Workforce Development says child support collections have more than doubled since 2004. For example, last year ninety-seven thousand dollars in child support came in compared to one hundred ninety two thousand dollars so far this year.
Erickson says they're also finding that delinquent parents who are able to pay finally do pay once they realize they can be grounded. One person paid twenty-five thousand dollars in back child support in order to get a passport for a trip to South America to visit a sick friend.
While the passport denial program is an effective tool in making delinquent parents pay up, Erickson says it only accounts for a small portion of the nine hundred million dollars in child support collected and distributed in the state each year.