Child support has the potential to reduce financial hardship; it can assist in more secure housing, decrease exclusion and disadvantage. It is a unique and important public policy formed in 1988 at a time when child poverty had captured Australia’s attention and concern. It was well-known that there were low levels of child support being paid by non-custodial parents (26%) and that mothers encountered barriers, difficulties and costs when updating and or enforcing child support through the courts.
The scheme has undergone changes since its origins and the most recent reforms were underpinned by the principle in the best interest of the child. NCSMC believes that a scheme that operates in the best interest of the child needs to ensure the following:
- Child support is paid on time and on full.
- Does not provide avenues and or process that exposes women and children to post-separation abuse, coercion and control
- Acknowledges the cost of caring and the economic impact upon the primary carer
- It is equitable when it interacts with family payments ensuring that single parent households and two parents household are treated equally.
- Acknowledges the cost associated with large families and accounts for the fourth or fifth child
- Protects children from been bartered