Crown Copyright 2012


Services supporting separating families



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Services supporting separating families

  1. The issues facing separating parents are not limited to child maintenance
    and therefore these proposals are also a result of government departments working closely together through and after the Family Justice Review to ensure joined up policy delivery.


  2. It is essential that we continue to work closely with the voluntary and community sector to ensure that we help to enable and develop an effective system of support for parents who undergo separation and
    require help and information to work together.


  3. Children who receive support from both parents throughout their childhood tend to enjoy better outcomes in later life while relationship breakdown often has an adverse effect on children.


  4. Where breakdown does occur, research has shown that a stable environment with a good relationship between separated parents is associated with children experiencing fewer adjustment problems
    and showing improved academic achievement.


  5. This is why the main thrust of our child maintenance reform is to ensure that parents are able to access the right support to enable them to collaborate in the interests of their children, and we have already
    committed £20 million in this spending period to help achieve this.


  6. This £20 million will fund a range of enhanced support, including a web application; co-ordinated telephone networks; local and face-to-face
    support; and the Innovation Fund: Support for Separated Families as
    already mentioned.


  7. We see the voluntary and community sector as key to delivering this
    support and so we established a Steering Group of experts from this
    sector, and from academia, to set out their vision for how we can
    transform the child maintenance landscape to best support separating
    and separated parents.


  8. Rather than setting up a new bureaucracy, the Steering Group set out a delivery architecture whereby the Government acts as an enabler to help streamline and co-ordinate support services that already exist, but which
    can be difficult for parents to navigate. The architecture consists of:

  1. We will underpin the support services signposted through this architecture using a new quality mark, so parents know they are dealing with an organisation they can trust.


  2. The Steering Group also advised of the need to establish an evidence base of effective interventions that can help parents work together in the best interests of their children. This paper confirms that the Government will launch the Innovation Fund to test and evaluate these interventions across Great Britain.


  3. We want to see better co-ordinated support services for separating and separated families across Great Britain and we recognise that responsibility
    for family support is a devolved matter. We are therefore working closely with devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales to ensure that our support for separating and separated parents is aligned with devolved provision and takes full account of Scotland’s separate legal system.


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