Many families try desparately to build normal lives for their children, but too often unmanageable debt wrecks their efforts.

an illustrated family - two parents, three children

We know families across the country face a daily battle to pay their bills, and meet their mortgage or rent payments. Our report, The Debt Trap: Problem debt in families with children, shows that personal debt has risen steadily for years. For some families – particularly those on low incomes - debt repayments and creditor demands can spiral into unmanageable situations that can devastate lives. All it takes is one mistake for families to fall into the Debt Trap.

Debt has negative effects on a child’s mental and physical health. It can undermine their relationships with their peers and their school experiences and cause long term harm to a child’s life. We are lifting the lid on the damaging impact debt has on children. 

A daily struggle

We know that nine out of 10 parents in problem debt have had to cut back on essential items for their children within the last year so they could keep up repayments. 

Debt can damage children’s health and happiness and do long-term harm to their lives. Children see, hear and feel what is going on around them. They feel debt’s sharp effects and are often left sad, confused and scared.

Parents have told us that they are lying awake at night, worrying about how to provide their children with the very basics. They are stressed and fearful for their children’s future.

How are we helping families get out of The Debt Trap?

We have a network of programmes across the country that support the most disadvantaged children and teenagers. Through our frontline work, we frequently see first-hand the impact of debt on children.

We also work closely with other charities and organisations such as StepChange and Citizen's Advice, referring families to these organisations for financial debt advice. 

 The Debt Trap campaign so far 

We’ve been campaigning to end the Debt Trap for families since May 2014. In that time, we have tackled many of the biggest issues for families in debt, including:

More recently, we have been campaigning for the Government to introduce a breathing space for all families and young people in debt, giving them time and space to repay their debts with no rising fees or visits from intimidating bailiffs.