At a time when there is a lot more pressure on single mothers to return to work after child birth (gone are the days where joint lives maintenance awards, or life long maintenance paid by the father/husband to the mother/wife, were the norm), are we doing enough to support our single mums in those crucial early years after child birth?
Child maintenance was historically governed by the Child Support Agency (CSA) and we regularly read about the agencies failing to collect and maintain payments from reluctant fathers. Now we read that the Child Maintenance System (CMS), the CSA's replacement body, has the same shortcomings despite mothers having to now pay to use the system.
Despite financial input from the mothers to assist the CMS in pursuing the fathers for payment, is the body still underfunded? Is this where the problem lies? Why does it continue to be so difficult to pin down these nonpayers? More importantly, why do we continue to have so many fathers reluctant to contribute to their child or children's upbringing?
I think these statistics only scratch the suffice of a much deeper issue. When the parents have separated, are our children receiving enough emotional and financial support from both their parents? I am guessing that there will be a level of correlation between payment and the level of contact these absent fathers have with their child/children. When pursuing these non paying fathers should we also be evaluating issues surrounding contact and trying to better the family dynamics in order to better our children's welfare? If so, what further resources need to be employed and how can these possibly be funded?
To be continued.....
Fathers who pay something towards their children’s upbringing once every three months are considered a successful case, even if they are not paying the full amount or if they regularly miss payments.