Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2009): Child welfare - overseas

Child support policy in Australia and the United Kingdom: changing priorities but a similar tough deal for children?

B. Fehlberg and M. MacLean

International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, vol. 23, 2009, p.1-24

Child support schemes were introduced in Australia in 1988-89 and in the UK in 1991. Both schemes replaced court-based, discretionary approaches to child maintenance payments with a formula for determining the amount a non-custodial parent should pay, to be assessed, collected and enforced by an administrative child support agency. These changes required non-custodial parents to pay more towards their children's upkeep, and aimed to solve the problem of child poverty in lone parent families. This article reflects on recent changes to child support laws in Australia and the UK. Australian child support is now aligned towards promotion of shared post-separation parenting and is turning to a more demanding collection and enforcement regime. The UK reforms seem to be 're-privatising' the maintenance obligation by setting forth voluntary arrangements as the ideal and to be in effect releasing welfare dependent lone mothers from any obligation to pursue non-resident fathers for small sums of money.

It wouldn't happen there

A. Taylor

Community Care, Mar. 19th 2009, p. 18-19

Britain's adversarial legal system has produced a blame culture that sees the media vilify child protection social workers when things go wrong. In contrast, in France social workers share responsibility for handling child protection cases with children's judges and so escape blame. In Belgium, child abuse is considered to be a community responsibility and a collective social failing, so social workers are not singled out.

Recent trends in child maintenance schemes in 14 countries

C. Skinner and J. Davidson

International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, vol. 23, 2009, p.25-52

There have been significant and widespread changes in family structures in western countries since the 1960s. This is evidenced by a rise in divorce rates, unmarried cohabitations, and births outside marriage. These changes have not been reflected in cross-national research in the area of child maintenance. This article aims to fill this gap by providing an up-to-date comparative overview of the child maintenance regimes of 14 countries, considering the locus of formal decision-making, the determination of child maintenance obligations, and the enforcement and penalty procedures used in case on non-compliance.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web