As the Government approaches the second stage of the roll-out of its Child Maintenance Service (the successor to the Child Support Agency), updated sets of resources for those working in the family support sector have been published on the Child Maintenance Options website.
Child Maintenance Options is part of the Department for Work and Pensions. A free and impartial information service, it helps parents make choices about child support.
As revealed on this blog last week, couples with two or more children are soon to be eligible for enrolment in the Child Maintenance Service. The Department for Work and Pensions “soft launched” the new child support scheme in December, with a pilot restricted to new applications from people with four or more children by the same partner.
At the time of writing, the Department of Work and Pension is “still on track for the 2012 child maintenance scheme to open to new applications from people with two or more children by the end of July 2013.” Because of this provisional time-frame, the Department has suggested that professionals in the family support sector should consider making any necessary preparations, such as scheduling website updates and briefing frontline staff.
The updated resources are as follows:
- A briefing document on the child maintenance reforms, designed to be used by professionals working in the family support sector.
- An in-depth overview of the recent and upcoming changes to child maintenance and the support available to separated parents.
- An introduction to child maintenance, published to give parents an overview of what child maintenance is, what their options are, and where they can get further help.
- A guide to child maintenance for parents, which provides more detailed guidance on what child maintenance is, why it’s important, and the choices available to parents (including tips on how to make a family-based arrangement work).
As previously noted, existing claims will continue under the Child Support Agency for the time being. The gradual transfer of all child support claims to the new service will continue until 2017.