Press release

Publication of DWP working paper 75:Study of child maintenance arrangements

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Findings published from a study of child maintenance arrangements - a survey of 926 families with a child maintenance interest.

Findings are published today from a study of child maintenance arrangements, a survey of 926 families with a child maintenance interest, derived from the Family Resources Survey. It was undertaken by the National Centre for Social Research on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions in 2008, prior to the formation of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.  The study was designed to inform the development of sustainable fit-for-purpose measurements of effective child maintenance arrangements in the future.

Findings from the study show that:

  • 28% of the eligible child maintenance population had a positive maintenance outcome, wherein some maintenance was received. Of those 25% received maintenance in full, whilst the remaining 3% received some but not all.
  • The most common form of arrangement was a private one, with 43% arranged in this way, whilst Child Support Agency (CSA) assessments accounted for 39%. CSA assessments were more common among parents with care who worked less than 16 hours per week (48%), compared to those that worked more than 16 hours (33%).
  • For those without an arrangement the most common explanation was that the parent with care did not want any contact with the non-resident parent (33%).
  • 33% of children had contact with their non-resident parent at least once a week, whilst 32% had no contact at all. Children in lone parent families saw their non-resident parent on a more regular basis than re-partnered couple families (35% on a weekly basis compared to 18%), although the proportions that never saw their non-resident parent were similar (32% against 30% respectively).