Child Support Reform

Child Support Reform

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The Committee's report examines the Government's proposals to reform the child support system, as set out in the White Paper qA new system of child maintenanceq (Cm. 6979, ISBN 9780101697927) published in December 2006, and following on from the report by Sir David Henshaw (Cm. 6894, ISBN 9780101689427) published in July 2006. The Committee welcomes the Government's reform proposals, including the eventual replacement of the Child Support Agency by a new body (Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (C-MEC)) in 2008 and the fundamental shift proposed towards maintenance agreements privately agreed between parents. However, concerns are raised over the lack of detail for proper scrutiny of how the new system will work, particularly in relation to the provision of advice and guidance services. The report also highlights a number of inherent contradictions between the principles and practicalities of the proposals, for example how the reforms will impact on child poverty targets in relation to parents on welfare benefits, as well as regarding the transition arrangements for the transfer of existing cases onto the new scheme run by C-MEC. Concerns are also raised that whatever the merit of joint birth registration, tagging this highly sensitive matter onto child maintenance legislation will have wider ramifications for the family law system.50 45. john Wheatley from Citizens Advice made the point: a€œI think people will still regard the Child Maintenance and Enforcement ... They will be a bit disappointed if they are told that they have to go somewhere else, particularly if it is only a website or a phone service to which they cannot get through. ... the options that are open to them, the amounts they could expect under C-MEC, the pros and cons, anbsp;...

Title:Child Support Reform
Author: Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Work and Pensions Committee
Publisher:The Stationery Office - 2007

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