Debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty surveyed 1,500 clients to assess the impact of financial hardship on families and children.
Nearly two-thirds (61%) of those with children said debt had affected their ability to provide for their offspring.
Over half said they could not clothe them properly and 18% said they were unable to give them enough food.
The results of the survey coincide with the launch of Save the Children’s report, “It Shouldn’t Happen Here”, which warns that one in eight of the UK’s poorest children go without at least one hot meal a day.
Save the Children also said that one in seven are forced to get through the winter without a warm winter coat and almost a fifth are unable to join school trips because their parents cannot afford them.
The report marked the launch of the charity’s first fundraising campaign specifically aimed at supporting British children in poverty.
CAP's Chief Executive Matt Barlow said: “Parents on low incomes can so easily fall into
“It just takes something like a broken washing machine and a bit of easy credit and within weeks that family finds themselves servicing a debt with the little they have.
“That escalating pressure can have a very destructive impact on the whole family which means children suffer too.
“Our charity, and I'm sure our supporters, would agree with Save the Children's report – it shouldn't be happening. Our message is for parents in this situation is to start the school
year by seeking free debt help.”