One size fits all? The need for a continued variety of child maintenance arrangements

Published on 18 November 2011


This paper examines the scope for more parents to be able to establish regular financial arrangements for children between themselves. It looks at the existing research evidence on the reasons behind the different maintenance arrangements parents make, and also reports on a survey carried out by Gingerbread among parents who currently have either no child maintenance arrangement or use the CSA.

Key findings

A full range of child maintenance arrangement options needs to be made available to separated families – as different agreement types work better for different families

  • Current government proposals aim to do more to promote private arrangements – Gingerbread agrees that where these are possible they can work well. Evidence suggests that private arrangements can break down over time
  • The Child Support Agency (CSA) is often seen as a last resort for those who can’t make private arrangements, and is a crucial fall-back option for those who can’t make private arrangements at all, or where private arrangements have broken down
  • For these reasons Gingerbread believes that the government should drop its planned charges for single parents to use the CSA as they will deter those who have no other option for securing money vital for raising their children successfully.