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Child Maintenance

Volume 519: debated on Monday 22 November 2010

The coalition Government are determined to ensure that all parents meet their financial responsibility for their children. At present, around 50% of separated parents have no maintenance arrangements in place. We are working with colleagues in the Department for Education, the Ministry of Justice and the voluntary sector to ensure that we deliver a seamless approach to supporting parents pre- and post-separation.

First, I pay tribute to my hon. Friend’s immeasurable work, particularly with the Croydon family justice centre. She is an expert in such matters, and raises an important matter. The Child Support Agency’s performance is improving, with more children benefiting from more money collected. However, the present system does not do enough to provide effective child maintenance support as soon as possible after parental separation, nor does it do enough to promote positive relationships between parents. Making those improvements to the system is in the best interests of children, as is ensuring that we have more enduring financial support for them.