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Missing maintenance report

Money - missing child maintenance

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Missing maintenance, our new report, examines child maintenance debt collection. Its focus is on the collection of unpaid child maintenance owed to children. With the child maintenance system in transition, it looks at the current performance of the Child Support Agency (gradually being phased out) and that of its replacement, the Child Maintenance Service.

The total child maintenance arrears debt now stands at nearly £4 billion. Child maintenance helps to pay the day-to-day costs of raising children including providing food, clothes and a warm and safe home. It is paid by the parent living mainly apart from their child to the parent with the main day-to-day care. Without it, children from single parent families are denied an adequate standard of living. 

We argue that, if the child maintenance service is to truly deliver, the government cannot walk away from the task of collecting unpaid maintenance debts. Money isn’t everything, but children don’t come free.

Upfront report download

Read the full report


Single parents across the country continue to tell us about the challenges they face accessing child maintenance for their children. Karen, a single mother of two, tells her story about pursuing £15,000 owed in outstanding child maintenance from her high-earning ex-husband. 

Upfront report download

Read Karen's story



How you can help

It’s clear that not enough is being done to ensure children from single parent families receive the financial support they need. Here are some ways you can support our call for change:


Find out more about what we're doing to make sure single parents receive the child maintenance they deserve.


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