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. 

Our front line work with families across the country tells us that significant 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 work with families in debt and see first-hand the impact of debt on children.

We run specialist programmes that give families working to break the cycle of debt the support they need. This includes a peer to peer mentoringpiloting in three locations across the country which enables parents that have been through debt to be trained as a mentor to help families struggling with similar problems. 

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.