At least 1.4 million families are living with "problem" debt with a further three million households on the verge of sliding into financial difficulty and leaving their children in distress, according to a new report.
The Children's Society and StepChange debt charity have warned about the emotional toll an "extremely precarious" financial position puts on the children of the family.
The stress of keeping up with repayments leads to rows, emotional distress to children and cut backs on essentials, the charities warned.
More top news
Former England cricket captain Rachael Heyhoe-Flint has died at the age of 77, the MCC has announced.
Scientists have officially declared 2016 as the hottest year since records began.
No-one has been more insulted by president-elect Trump than the Mexicans. And nowhere fears it has more to lose.