Child support payments in Mississippi have seen a sharp increase in recent years that some believe is the result of more aggressive tactics to penalize deadbeat parents and confirm paternity, according to multiple reports.

Mississippi has seen child support payments rise by $119 million in the last eight years, representing a 61 percent increase between fiscal year 2003 and 2011. The Division of Child Support Enforcement reportedly received about $314 million in child support payments in 2011, up from $195 million in 2003.

The agency has become more aggressive in establishing paternity and support orders since the early 2000s, Walley Naylor, the director of the Division of Child Support Enforcement, told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. While the agency was praised for its cost efficiency in 2002, the newspaper reports it eventually lost about $1.14 million through federal penalties and reduced incentive awards for failing to meet federal standards in those areas.

“We’ve seen a different attitude,” said Naylor, who has reportedly led the division since 2004. “We’ve changed the atmosphere here.”

It can be incredibly difficult to enforce child support payments in some cases. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2007, the most recent years for which statistics are available, about 47 percent of parents to whom child support was owed received the full amount, while nearly a quarter did not receive payments.

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