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Last Updated: Monday, 26 March 2007, 21:04 GMT 22:04 UK
Stay-away fathers shamed by pizza
Savanah Glaub of Karen's Pizzeria, Ohio
The posters arrive tacked on to the top of the pizza box
Child support authorities in the US are hoping to track down stay-away fathers who refuse to pay child maintenance by posting their details on pizza boxes.

Pizza restaurants in one Ohio county have begun plastering their delivery boxes with posters shaming the 10 "most wanted" absentee fathers.

Three pizzerias have so far signed up to the scheme, which has successfully identified one reluctant debtor.

US child support agencies are owed more than $100bn (51bn) in back payments.

Cynthia Brown, executive director of the Butler County Child Enforcement Agency, had the idea for the poster delivery while she was ordering pizza herself one night.

"It suddenly dawned on me that most people running from the law don't eat out, they order pizza," she said.

Campaigners critical

Now customers receiving pizzas from the three participating restaurants find their dinner arrives with some reading material, detailing local child support defaulters.

The poster, which is produced by Ms Brown's agency, showcases the 10 alleged worst offenders, and is changed twice a year.

Some customers joke about it and say they're glad they aren't on it. Most seem to think it's a good idea
Karen Willis
Restaurant owner
Karen Willis, whose restaurant is one of the three distributing the posters, said she had heard no complaints from customers.

"Some customers joke about it and say they're glad they aren't on it. Most seem to think it's a good idea," she said.

But advocates for fathers' rights did criticise the scheme, telling the Associated Press there are many reasons why someone could end up owing child support.

Widespread public shaming could also leave children devastated, said Michael McCormick, of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children.

"Think how children feel to see a parent on a wanted poster and know their friends might see it," he said.

But Cynthia Brown stood by the scheme: "We are just trying to help the kids who have a right to be supported," she said.

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