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Losses for children overlooked in child maintenance reforms

According to single parent charity Gingerbread, the Government's shake up of the child maintenance system will mean that millions of pounds for children will be lost, as 100,000 parents are expected to drop out of the system and stop getting child maintenance altogether.

The Child Support Agency is set to be replaced by a new statutory Child Maintenance Service, which is due to start in October 2012 for new clients.

All existing CSA cases will be closed, starting from around 2014, and parents with care will only be able to apply to have their maintenance collected by the new Child Maintenance Service if the other parent agrees, or fails to pay the new calculation in a Direct Pay. According to Gingerbread, the Government has yet to spell out what will happen to ‘old’ child maintenance arrears, if a case does not move onto the new system.

Gingerbread chief executive Fiona Weir said:

“These are tough times for families and any missed maintenance payments could have a serious impact on single parents’ ability to feed, clothe and care for their child. The government is so focused on getting parents to come to their own arrangements that it has failed to see the serious financial impact these changes will have on the very children the service should be supporting.

“We are very concerned at these new forecasts of hundreds of millions of pounds that will be lost in child maintenance.”

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