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Children: Maintenance

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 266704, tabled on 19 June 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is taking to retrieve money owed by absent parents.

Answered on

24 June 2019

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) replaced the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission in 2012 and brought significant reforms to the Child Maintenance system in Great Britain. Child Maintenance in Northern Ireland is a devolved issue, although they run a broadly similar scheme. Any questions should be directed to the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland.

We support separated parents to make their own family based arrangements wherever possible. This allows families to create flexible arrangements that work for their individual circumstances and, where parents are able to work together, this can be better for their children. Where this is not possible, the CMS offers an effective and efficient statutory scheme for those parents who really need it.

Under the statutory scheme, where paying parents fail to pay on time and in full, we aim to take immediate action to recover the debt and re-establish compliance. Where compliance is not achieved we are committed to using our wide ranging enforcement powers proportionally, and in the best interests of children and separated families.