Mississippi Offers Free Paternity Testing

Deadbeat parents, those who are not paying child support, are a big problem in the state of Mississippi.

State officials say non-custodial parents paid more than a quarter of a billion dollars in child support last year, but as many of nine percent of children not living with their parents don't know who their parents are.

That leaves as much as $25 million in uncollected child support because paternity has not been established.

But Mississippi is now leading the way in efforts to cut state costs, while connecting families.

Officials say Mississippi is the only state in the nation offering free paternity testing, using the state Department of Human Services. Started in July, the free testing is being paid for by federal funds.

"After paternity is established, the next thing we are going to go after is financial support on a monthly basis and medical support," said Walley Naylor, director of Child Support Enforcement.

Naylor said retrieving this money for the children will not only help them, but also the state, because it eases the burden in paying medical expenses for many children who do not receive child support.

"We have about 350,000 cases, about 444,000 children in our system," said Naylor. "Obviously, we don't have orders on all of the cases, but if we had a child support order with medical support on over 400,000 children, you know you can just begin to imagine how much money that would be."

Naylor says over the years the state has held about one free paternity testing day a year. He says because of available funds from the federal stimulus package, this year the agency is able to offer the free testing for three months.

"It's a very good idea, we think, especially since it's not costing us state dollars," Naylor said.

For anyone interested in taking part in this free testing, even if the testing date has passed in your county, you are advised to contact your local child support office as soon as possible because the free testing will end at the end of this month.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Jennifer Location: NJ on May 21, 2012 at 05:10 AM
    This could be a great thread, even if it is outdated. Too bad people are choosing to blame instead of getting to the point--establishing paternity. Because of the cost, many men don't do it until the court orders it, so it is great that some men would choose to go when it is "free". Yes, it is difficult to "make" a dad pay when he is broke, so child support services will always have their hands full, not to mention how many parents will go without support because of a dad who can't pay. Find support at www.real-divorce.com
  • by Child Services? JOKE!!!! Location: Gulfport on Jul 6, 2010 at 06:38 PM
    We know who the father is, where he lives, works, ssn, everything possible. My daughter talks to him on the phone. Do you think for one minute Child Services is doing anything about getting the support I need to raise my daughter, NO. No support for at least four years and medical support, where? Child Services consists of lazy people that don't care. I was calling there at least once a week. I just gave up. I'm sure they are getting their support payments. I am out of work due to an illness in my lungs and blood
  • by Mad Location: Meridian on Sep 14, 2009 at 03:58 AM
    To sick and tired, Yeah It is a shame that use tax payers have to pay for this "free" testing and to help raise the babies, but not all situations are the same. Some young girls decide NOT to put the fathers name on the birth certificate for one reason or another. As for the child support, that is a joke, as we had a test done for a family member and only 1 payment has been received. Only 1, and that was a few months ago. Now that is sorry, that the father does not pay to help raise the child. There is no welfare involved, no food stamps and no check. This family member does it all on her own, with help from family, not the welfare, and the sorry sob of a guy cannot pay once a month to help support the child.
  • by Judy on Sep 11, 2009 at 04:48 PM
    Any young man who has any doubt at all should take advantage of this testing. there is nothing lower than a woman who trys to put a name and a baby off on an innocent guy. Also, the baby deserves to know who his real father is.
  • by Sick and Tired 2 Location: Kemper on Sep 11, 2009 at 02:54 PM
    Ever heard of rape? Your comment tells me a little something about you, and nome of it's nice.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 11, 2009 at 02:45 PM
    Whose my babies daddy?
  • by SICK and TIRED Location: MS on Sep 11, 2009 at 09:49 AM
    This is NOT FREE, the same people who are paying for the babies are the ones paying for the test. THE TAXPAYERS!!! HOW do you NOT know who your baby's daddy is, this should tell you something about yourself.
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