The minister responsible for child maintenance will today (11 September 2013) hail the progress that has been made in separated parents accepting financial responsibility for their children. At a key summit on children and young people he will say Britain has in recent years “turned an important corner.”
Speaking to leading academics, senior lawyers, social workers and children’s charities at the Children and Young People’s Conference in London, Steve Webb will celebrate the fact that more than 4 in 5 separated parents are now paying towards their children through the Child Support Agency (CSA). That’s up from around 2 in 3 parents paying towards their children 5 years ago. He will say the reforms to the child maintenance system are essential to get more parents working together.
Work and Pensions Minister Steve Webb said:
That more separated parents than ever are now paying towards the upbringing of their children within the CSA shows that with a little help and support, thousands of parents could be coming to their own flexible arrangements for their children. Ultimately, this is better for parents and children alike.
The government has embarked on the biggest reform to the child support system in a generation, with a new focus on parental collaboration rather than reliance on the state for assistance.
At the end of this year the Child Support Agency will stop accepting new applications and cases will gradually close over the next 3 years.
In the meantime, up to £20 million is being invested into new family support services, with projects across the country being funded to help separated parents communicate better, work together and support their children.
More than a quarter of a million parents are already in the process of receiving help to work out their finances for their children themselves. And more funding is due to be announced later this year.
Steve Webb continued:
Britain has turned an important corner in recent years in becoming a country where taking financial responsibility for your children after a break up is the normal thing to do. Those parents who think otherwise are a small and dwindling minority. What we’re trying to do is to channel that commitment to empower parents to take control of their own lives and come to their own family-based arrangements to support their children.
For those who are unable to collaborate, a new and improved statutory Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is gradually rolling out, opening to all new cases by the end of 2013.
The conference, which features speeches from the Children’s Commissioner for England Dr Maggie Atkinson and Education Minister Edward Timpson, also looks at issues of adoption, children in care, social work reform and broader safeguarding of vulnerable children and young people.
The percentage of parents paying towards their children now stands at 81.4%. Read full details and definitions of the official Child Support Agency Quarterly Summary of Statistics
The CMS was launched to parents with 4 children or more with the same non-resident parent in December 2012. It opened to applicants with 2 or more children in July and will subsequently open to all new applicants from later this year.
The new Sorting out Separation web app is also helping thousands of parents to work out life after breaking up.