From today parents with care who are claiming benefit can choose to leave the Child Support Agency and make their own arrangements for child maintenance with the other parent of their child(ren). However, according to this BBC report the charity One Parent Families|Gingerbread fears that as many as one in four single parents might stop using the CSA altogether and miss out on money they are owed. Fiona Weir, chief executive of the charity, said: "We fear that many poor single parents on benefit will struggle to agree private child support arrangements and their children may end up doing without". Is the Government in cloud cuckoo land with this emphasis on agreeing arrangements? I can foresee, for example, many women on benefits coming under pressure from the fathers of their children not to apply for child maintenance. Further, leaving aside those PWCs on benefits, it has always been the case that many arrangements have been agreed, and will surely continue to be the case - people who agree are not and never were the problem. The problem, of course, is those that don't agree (or don't cooperate) - I can't see any more resources being made available to deal with those cases.
Meanwhile. The Times today reports the same thing (thanks, Current Awareness), along with the good news that some single parents could have to wait until 2015 before the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, the successor to the CSA, processes their cases.
So, that's the child support problem fixed then. Time for the Government to move on to 'fixing' the next disaster.