Ensuring Child Maintenance Payments for Abandoned Children

There are an increasing number of children being brought up by one parent, with the other parent not accepting responsibility for their child. Such single parent families are more vulnerable to poverty due to the care responsibilities of the parents, which limit their ability to find work. Yet, both parents should be responsible for the upbringing of their children even if they are unable to co-reside. It is not consistent with our national values that one parent can abandon their responsibilities since this has a major impact on the wellbeing of their children.

During 2014, MoWCA will, therefore, undertake a review of current parental support practices and propose mechanisms for ensuring that parents who abandon their children are legally obliged to pay maintenance for those children. By June 2015, the Government will prepare legislation that sets out the legal and financial responsibilities of all parents to their children, proposes mechanisms for enabling care-givers of children to obtain maintenance payments from those parents who have abandoned their children, and indicate mechanisms by which the state will ensure that the care-givers are provided with adequate support in making their claims. The policy will be implemented from July 2016.

If all face up to their financial responsibilities this will be a major step forward in tackling child poverty. Furthermore, once care-givers are able to access fair financial redress from their children’s other parent, this should provide them with a sound basis to more actively engage in the labour market and further increase the income available for the care of their children.