The CSA is now the CMS.

Over to next year cases will move over to the new system. The plan is that it will be a much better service, replacing the old outdated CSA system which left parents waiting on cases to be processed for years. There's been concern among single parent charities that the charges to the parent with care of their children are unfair, but there are few young parents' voices in the debate. Young parents are less likely to receive any financial support from an ex partner. They are also more likely to have experienced abuse in relationships. So will the new CMS actually help them?

I applied for CSA in 2002 and was told it would take 6 weeks. 8 years later, within about a week of them contacting his work, my ex 'lost' his job. So eventually, in 2010, I started receiving £5 a week, which soon went down to 83p a week due to the other children he's had in that time! After 10 years of sorting my shit out financially, his 83p a week seems kinda like a piss take. His father is a stranger to my son. As he is to many of his other children.

Since CMS took over, I now get a text message every two weeks to say they will transfer my £1.66 in the next 3 days, or I get a nice letter of apology when they aren't able to do this. If I ring up, I get a friendly voice who wants to help, rather than the standard 'The systems are down. Phone back later'.  But I don't know if CMS is the answer. Because the problem is much greater.  The problem is parents who don't want to take responsibility for their own children. Who can just forget about their children when it suits them.  We can force parents to pay but we can't force them to care.

The problem is a society which then blames the poor parent with care of their children, or makes examples out of the visible mothers who have 'too many' children, when absent invisible parents can be poor and have multiple children and we don't even ask any questions. The problem is not solved by the CMS. Children of single parents where an ex partner doesn't want to take responsibility should not have to suffer. There should be proper support to help single parents support themselves, to be independent, to go back to education, and to live somewhere stable while they sort their shit out. As a society we should stop pointing fingers at the parents struggling to keep everything together and instead recognise and support them.

This is the silver bullet.