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CMEC publishes survey of Child Maintenance Options Outcomes for 2009/10

Number of family-based arrangements equals those set up by CSA

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission has published findings from a 2010 survey of 2,009 separated parents using the Child Maintenance Options telephone service. The survey's primary aim was to determine the number of children benefiting from a family-based child maintenance arrangement, following contact with the Child Maintenance Options telephone service, between July 2008 and the end of March 2010. 

The results of a 2011 survey (more limited in scope but conducted for the same purpose) which provides estimates of the number of children benefiting at the end of March 2011 are available here.

The survey explored the prevalence of child maintenance arrangements (both family-based and statutory arrangements) and the nature of those arrangements: 25 per cent of parents who had used the Child Maintenance Options service between July 2008 and January 2010  had an arrangement which included regular financial payments only; 16 per cent had an arrangement based on ad-hoc support only; 23 per cent had both regular financial payments and ad-hoc support; and 37 per cent did not have an arrangement.

Those with regular financial payments were asked how the arrangement was established: 48 per cent had an arrangement set up via the Child Support Agency; 48 per cent had a family-based arrangement; and four per cent had an arrangement set up via the courts.

Of those with an arrangement (family-based or statutory), almost half were established after contact with Child Maintenance Options (48 per cent) and 42 per cent were established before contact with Child Maintenance Options.  The remaining 10 per cent were unsure at what point the arrangement had been set up.
Of those who put an arrangement in place after contact with Child Maintenance Options, 41 per cent said that the service had played a large role in helping them to set up an arrangement. 

Almost three-quarters of those with regular financial payments received or paid all or some of their child maintenance (74 per cent).  Of those, 77 per cent received or paid their payments always or usually on time.

Of those without a child maintenance arrangement, the majority of parents (63 per cent) said they were not likely to make a child maintenance arrangement in the future.

The most common reasons cited by parents with care for not having an arrangement in place at the point of the research were:  

The most common reasons cited by non-resident parents were: 

Overall, 14 per cent of relevant children (equivalent to around 60,000 children) were benefiting from a compliant family-based arrangement that was set up after telephone contact with Child Maintenance Options at the end of March 2010 (see note 1 below).  This figure excludes other types of effective arrangements established following contact with the CM Options telephone service.