THE CMS & THE LINK TO SUICIDE
By Brian Hudson – revised edition 26th November 2020 - Twitter @brianhudson3333
Those involved in Parental Rights campaigning have long highlighted the effect that aspects of family law and associated governmental agencies add to the difficulties faced by divorcing parents. The Child Maintenance Service, is one such government agency. It is frequently accused of behaviours which lead to a sense of powerlessness among non-resident and therefore paying parents. One impact is heightened levels of suicide, condemning dependent children to a lifetime without one parent, together with the associated trauma, stigma and guilt that can lead to suffering their own significant mental health issues, perhaps even suicide, later in life. Attempts to right institutionalized problems are routinely met with a response stating “there is no evidence to back up such claims”.
Previous versions of this report identified excess deaths in the CMS paying parent population of almost 500 per year, but no excess deaths in the receiving parent population. Those findings led me to make a further freedom of information request, asking the CMS to provide
The total number of parental deaths from within the paying parent population of CMS only
The total number of those deaths where the deceased were in arrears at the time their death was recorded
The total amount of arrears in all cases resulting in the death of a parent during the time period (September 2017 to June 2020).
The CMS response arrived on 26th November, with the relevant part pasted into this document below,
follow the citation to read the full document.
The first thing to note, is that the figure of 4,390 is a substantial increase (34%) to the previous figure for parental mortality provided in the CMS disclosure that led to my original report, where they stated 3,270 deaths, a difference of 1,120 deaths suggests a gross understatement of mortality in the original disclosure, so one has to hope they will not find any more!
It is here, in updating my calculations from my previous report, with the further disclosure from CMS, that things get far worse than I could have even brought myself to imagine. CMS have moved forward the date range for data they have disclosed from January 2017 – September 2019 to September 2017 - June 2020 (both ranges however are 33 months in total). Of the 4,390 paying parents who died, 2,860 were in arrears as of the end of the month before their death (65.14% of the total deaths). CMS do not publish data as to how many cases are in arrears, although I have asked them for this figure as an average during the stated timeframe. While I await that further information, I will base calculations on the following assumptions using CMS data as at March 2020 (which leaves a comfortable margin for error given the ever-increasing case load)
Parents paying by Direct Pay (private arrangement between parents) are not recorded as being in arrears because CMS do not monitor those payments – this population accounts for 285,500 parents who would not be recorded as being in arrears.
Parents paying by Collect & Pay (enforced payment by CMS taking straight from bank account or as a deduction from earnings at source) amount to 148,200 parents, of which 48,000 are recorded as having not paid and therefore being in arrears.
In addition to the above, in March 2020 a further 9,000 cases were leaving Direct Pay and going into Collect & Pay, with 3,300 moving in the opposite direction (presumably no longer in arrears) so I will add 5,700 to 48,000 to give a total of 53,700 cases being in arrears as the total sub population of paying parents.