MILWAUKEE COUNTY (WITI) -- He owes a quarter of a million dollars, and faces 10 felony charges for failing to support his child. Now, FOX6 News has learned the story of one deadbeat dad may be inspiring other deadbeat parents to come clean.
Milwaukee County has taken a "boots on the ground" approach to dealing with deadbeat parents. The county has two investigators who go out and knock on doors. Officials think it was also a recent high-profile story that has helped them to make headway.
Raul Cardona Jr. has been called one of Milwaukee County's worst deadbeat dads. He was arrested in California -- and prosecutors say he's been wanted out of Milwaukee County since 1998.
He's a personal trainer to the celebrities -- and he has a daughter in the Milwaukee area. He is supposed to pay more than $500 a month in child support, but investigators say he's made only one payment.
"The fact is people are aware of it. They're aware of it in the community," Jim Sullivan, the director of Milwaukee County Child Support Services said.
Cardona's case is making its way through the court system, but it's already having an impact at the Office of Child Support Services in Milwaukee County.
"I think it gets the word on the street out there and brings people in here to child support," Sullivan said.
Sullivan says between August 7th and September 16th, 331 parents with a non-compliant status as it relates to child support stopped by to own up to their responsibilities.
"We were able to bring in close to $40,000 in additional payments that wouldn't have otherwise happened," Sullivan said.
"Clearly inspired some people who owed child support to probably sit back and watch the story and think, 'maybe I didn't want to show up on TV like this,'" Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said.
Even with this improvement, Milwaukee County officials still have their work cut out for them. There are 126,000 child support cases in Milwaukee County, and about 60 percent of people make a current payment every month.
"The most important part and why we do all this is single parents who are bring up kids need that support," Abele said.
Milwaukee County's "Back on Track" program likely deserves some credit for the uptick in deadbeat parents looking to take care of their responsibilities. The program helps parents owing child support to modify their payments.
CLICK HERE to access Milwaukee County's Child Support Services website.