Case studies - faults in "shared care" in the reformed scheme
Case Studies - anomalies in the reformed shared-care formula
1 Two separated parents earn the same and share care 4:3. The NRP becomes far worse off than the PWC, and would be much better off never seeing the child.
2 Two rich parents share care equally. The person claiming Child Benefit is encouraged to use the CSA to obtain an unfair stream of money from the NRP.
3 The NRP is on benefits and the PWC earns. The NRP is financially abandoned by the state and the other parent while caring for the child.
4 Both parents earn the same low pay and share care equally. The parent claiming Child Benefit can also claim WFTC and childcare tax credits. The state bribes the NRP never to see the children.
5 Like "1", but they earn a little more and share care 5:2, with similar results.
6 Both parents are on benefits and share care. Only the PWC gets help from the state for the child.
7 This shows the totally unexplained difference between the way the CSA White Paper deals with equal split care and with equal shared care of two children.
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Case Studies - anomalies in the reformed shared-care formula

These Case Studies mainly illustrate problems with the CSA White Paper's "shared care" formula. However, they also show how the benefits system, the tax credit system, and child support, can combine to exaggerate some problems.

The purpose of these Case studies is to show the actual results of policies that were devised in good faith. Perhaps these policies will work well for most cases. The concern here is with the minority of cases where the reaction may well be "What is going on? Why does the system behave in such an unreasonable way?" These become the subjects of court cases and newspaper articles or worse.

The ideal would be to revise these schemes so that they were fair and focused on the needs of parents and children and their ability to pay.

Fair schemes would not make poor people even worse off. Some of these Case Studies show cases of poor people, attempting to care for their children for part of a week, who are entitled to feel abandoned by everyone. Fair schemes would help those people. They may also save some taxpayer's money while doing so.

Another characteristic of fair schemes is that they shouldn't encourage people to play games with one-another and the system. For example, the CSA White Paper's shared care formula will encourage some well-off people to use the CSA for unreasonable advantage when it would be better all round to come to sensible private arrangements if possible.

Index of Case Studies:

1. Two separated parents earn the same and share care 4:3. The NRP becomes far worse off than the PWC, and would be much better off never seeing the child.

2. Two rich parents share care equally. The person claiming Child Benefit is encouraged to use the CSA to obtain an unfair stream of money from the NRP.

3. The NRP is on benefits and the PWC earns. The NRP is financially abandoned by the state and the other parent while caring for the child.

4. Both parents earn the same low pay and share care equally. The parent claiming Child Benefit can also claim WFTC and childcare tax credits. The state bribes the NRP never to see the children.

5. Like "1", but they earn a little more and share care 5:2, with similar results.

6. Both parents are on benefits and share care. Only the PWC gets help from the state for the child.

7. This shows the totally unexplained difference between the way the CSA White Paper deals with equal split care and with equal shared care of two children.

These Case Studies are HTML transcriptions of articles written in September 1999, hence the benefits rates, the references to the White Paper, etc.

They were developed in collaboration with Karen Randall of Families Need Fathers in support of their objective of improving the UK's handling of caring for children by both separated parents. They appear in a subsetted form within the Families Need Fathers web site, and in the 10th Report of 1998-99 of the Social Security Select Committee in Hansard. The "Fair Shares" formula referred to in the Case Studies also appears in the 10th Report as Appendix 4.

Page last updated: 5 July, 2004 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2003