AKRON -- Parents who are behind on child support have an opportunity for amnesty in Summit County this weekend.
Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh and a dozen other organizations have put together Child Support Solutions, a two-day event that helps parents get back on track with payments and avoid further penalty.
For Stephen Matusicky, taking care of his child support problems, let him focus on the important thing: his kids.
"That monkey is off my back. I'm not looking around, nervous if I can make a payment or not. Especially with the economy and not working all the time. It's difficult," said Matusicky.
Money was so tight that for years his payments were on and off. In 2006, he was charged with a felony for criminal nonpayment. He served 15 days in jail and two years of probation.
"I knew something was going to happen eventually, but not that drastic," he said.
Through the Family Support Matters program, he got back on the right track, getting his license reinstated and starting back payments.
"They are very helpful, which really shocked me. I never thought that would be possible," said Matusicky.
"We certainly have a reputation here in Summit County as being very aggressive when it comes to collecting child support," said Prosecutor Walsh.
Prosecutor Walsh's office has indicted more than 3,200 parents like Matusicky -- but it's only a fraction of Summit County's 55,000-plus child support cases.
"One thing we have always told people is prosecution is our last resort, because our goal is to get child support for the kids," she said.
Friday and Saturday that work will move to the Job Center, where the office, along with Child Support Enforcement, the state's Fatherhood Initiative and others, will offer amnesty to parents, giving them an opportunity to avoid jail time or negotiate back payments.
"It's a one stop event. So you could come in there with a multitude of problems and we will be there to help you," said Walsh.
Among service provided, parents can have their license reinstated, make payment arrangements, resolve outstanding warrants, and get employment and other assistance.
Walsh says parents will also be able to see if they qualify for a waiver and compromise of payments owed to the state.
"We can either wipe out the amount that you owe or reduce the amount that you owe," she said.
Matusicky will be there hoping to whittle down his debts. And he encourages others to get back on track with one goal in mind: "[We're] one big happy family now."
For services, bring your photo ID, existing court orders, proof of employment or unemployment, and a recent pay stub.
The event is held at the Job Center at 1040 E. Tallmadge Avenue in Akron.
You can find out more by clicking hereor calling CSEA at (330)643-2765.