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The Child Support Agency (CSA), established following the Child Support Act 1991, has faced a host of well-documented problems since its inception in April 1993. The first Blair administration brought forward major reforms in the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000, but these were not implemented until March 2003 and the expected improvements in the CSA's performance have not materialised. This article sets out the background to the Government's decision to replace the existing child support system(s) with one which seeks to encourage private agreements about child maintenance. This policy involves the abolition of the CSA and the creation of a new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC), as well as repealing the legislative requirement that parents with care on benefit must apply for child support. In this context this article analyses the provisions of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill 2007, and in particular the changes to the statutory provisions governing the assessment and enforcement of child support.
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