Child Maintenance Service needs root and branch review
The system for ensuring non-resident parents pay child maintenance has amassed nearly £1billion pounds in arrears, new government figures show.
The Scottish MP Marion Fellows is leading calls for a review by the UK government of the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).
Maintenance could lift one in five children out poverty but the Child Maintenance Service has extensive problems – from calculations to enforcement to customer service.
We want to see children in separated families benefit from regular child maintenance, when assessed by the CMS as correct, in full and on time. If a parent won’t comply with their financial responsibility, the government should use powers to uphold a parents’ duty to pay maintenance for their children.
Key areas for OPFS are:
- Abolition of Child Maintenance Service charges for parents receiving maintenance, who are unfairly penalised for the child’s other parent’s unwillingness to pay.
- An improved service for survivors of domestic abuse.
- Stronger systems and resources to challenging parents who attempt to avoid or minimise child maintenance , and those who do not pay what has been agreed.
- Better customer service for parents and improved case management by the CMS
We agree a full root and branch review is needed to ensure fairness for both parents, but ultimately it is the children who are losing out.