Gov. Gerald L. Baliles' administration is proposing several pieces of legislation to make it tougher for fathers to avoid paying child support.
Among the proposals are:
Giving the state authority to withhold support payments from income.
Allowing collection of support payments during appeals.
Reducing the time to make an appeal from 21 days to 10.
Enabling paternity to be established with "clear and convincing evidence" rather than the more difficult "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard.
Creating a registry of child and spousal petitions from courts in other states so fathers who have moved to Virginia cannot avoid payment elsewhere.
Larry D. Jackson, Virginia's new commissioner of social services, outlined the proposals to the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee and said they "need desperately to be passed" to improve the efficiency of child support enforcement. Virginia's child support system has been seriously flawed, Jackson said, adding that he believes delinquent payments are "substantially more" than an earlier estimate of $220 million.
Other administration proposals would ease some barriers to adoption, give the public access to government files on licensed facilities such as day care and homes for adults and require at least one unannounced visit a year to each licensed facility.
The department also wants two legislative studies done, one on availability and regulation of child care providers who work out of their homes and another on how direct adoptions should be regulated.