The change is seen as part of new proposals that will allow children of separated parents to receive more of the money owed to them.
The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) collected or arranged £1 billion in child maintenance payments last year, acting as an important weapon in the fight against child poverty. Child support helps lift about 140,000 children out of poverty every year.
Curfew orders will be another enforcement method, alongside current powers that include passport and driving license confiscation and wage garnishment orders to tackle parents who consistently refuse to pay child support arrears.
As an alternative to jail, which is expensive and prevents children from receiving support, curfews will act as a deterrent, restricting and disrupting the lifestyles of non-compliant parents by preventing them from, for example, going out to dinner, pubs or gatherings on vacation.
The curfew will be monitored by an electronic tag with an electronic monitoring service applying the tag, monitoring and ensuring that parents follow the tag rules. If parents don’t comply, CMS will be able to refer them back to court, which can then extend the curfew or impose jail time.
DWP Lords Minister Baroness Stedman-Scott said:
For children in low-income families, child support can make a big difference in lifting them out of poverty.
We are not afraid to go after those parents who knowingly and repeatedly refuse to pay for their children.
The curfew orders are another step toward giving CMS a full arsenal of powers to make sure children get the financial support they need to get the best start in life.
It is based on a new powers introduced earlier this year for the digitization of all notices to parents and improvements to help the service find paying parents, calculate child support and collect arrears more efficiently.
The consultation is published here and closes on August 12, 2022.
- The Child Support Service was set up in 2012 to replace the old Child Support Agency, to improve co-operation between separated parents and encourage parents to do their part to give their children the financial support they need to achieve better outcomes in life.
- [Get help arranging child maintenance]
(https://child-maintenance.service.gov.uk/get-help-arranging-child-maintenance/) is a new digital service that helps parents decide what type of child support is right for them and their circumstances.
- Curfew orders will take into account each individual’s circumstances.
- These powers will only apply to paying parents who live in England, Scotland or Wales, just like our current powers to revoke driving licenses and passports and send them to prison.
- The consultation period starts on 9 July 2022 and runs until 12 August 2022.
- Curfew orders will be added to CMS’ enforcement powers, subject to parliamentary approval.
Media inquiries for this press release – 0115 965 8781
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