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02 FEB 2010

More than 800,000 children receiving child maintenance

The number of children benefiting from child maintenance through the Child Support Agency (CSA) has exceeded 800,000 for the first time.

By the end of December 2009, parents with the care of 809,800 children were receiving maintenance collected or arranged via the Child Support Agency; an increase of 10,500 children from September 2009.

The latest figures also show that the CSA collected or arranged £1,135 million in child maintenance in the year to December 2009, £150 million of which was arrears.

Child Maintenance Commissioner, Stephen Geraghty, said: "Through better case management and firm but fair use of its growing armoury of enforcement powers, the Agency is steadily reducing the number of cases in which no maintenance is being paid.

"Parents who are not meeting their maintenance obligations can expect to face action from us. We do not give up on pursuing outstanding maintenance."

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is developing an entirely new statutory maintenance scheme that will replace the two schemes currently provided by the CSA from 2011. The CSA will remain in use until all of its cases have been closed and parents have been invited to apply to the new scheme and this process will take until 2014 to complete.

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