If you find this site useful, please donate to support our work

Get our latest news by email:


Looking for something?


Entries in DWP (2)


Stop using the term "absent parent" 

Describing the parents who live apart from their children as "absent parents" is both inacccurate and insulting to all those parents who do their best for their children, including paying child support maintenance.

That's why FNF in England, Wales and Scotland have jointly complained to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) about their press release last weekend, headed “The number of absent parents who are now paying towards the cost of their children through the Child Support Agency has hit an all-time high”.

Child support legislation has changed in recent years to avoid the use of "absent parent", so we have asked the DWP why they used this term in their press release, pointing out there are many different reasons why parents may have fallen behind in child maintenance payments, and that only a small minority of paying parents seek actively to evade their responsibilities.

The DWP decided some time ago to adopt the terms ‘paying parent’ and ‘receiving parent’ in Child Maintenance Service documents.

STP PRESS: a response has been received from DWP stating: "We will be more mindful of the connotations of this phrase and will make every reasonable effort to use more considered language in future.  A note has been circulated around the Department’s press office advising of the negative connotations that may be drawn from the use of this phrase and asking press officers to take this into consideration in all future activity."


Shared parenting is the key to children’s futures

Maria Miller MPIn the week that the Scottish independence debate wound up a notch, we make no apologies for highlighting another positive move from England - we understand that this scheme will also apply in Scotland and are awaiting further details of how it will work.

The UK Government is taking radical steps to promote collaborative parenting in separated families. A fund, worth up to £14 million over two years, is being established to develop effective and innovative support services for separated and separating families. This fund will provide divorcing couples with web-based applications to help deal amicably with acrimonious separations.

The Department for Work and Pensions says that new services will help parents to foster collaborative relationships with each other after separation, including agreeing child maintenance.

Work and Pensions Minister Maria Miller said:  "Shared parenting is the key to children's futures.  The fund will be for interventions that can help parents work together, including intensive counselling, emotional support and mediation, as well as online and telephone advice."

"If separation is unavoidable then having both parents actively involved in their lives is the best way for children to develop. So this is a challenge for organisations and individuals to suggest how we can make this important investment in families really count.”

The announcement follows the Government's commitment to shared parenting which also includes changes to the family justice system and an overhaul of the child maintenance system which is intended to to encourage parents to make their own child maintenance arrangements whenever possible.