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Tuesday
May172016

Children resisting contact: from handover problems to parental alienation

Frénk interviewing his motherFNF Scotland is holding a training event in Glasgow on Friday 24th June for family lawyers, social workers and other staff working with children and families.  The event is based round the showing of short extracts from a wonderful Dutch documentary film: Rewind - my parent’s divorce.

The film is a retrospective of filmmaker Frénk van der Linden’s family separation 40 years before, after which his parents never met up again.  The two children were alienated from their mother during their teens. The story is told entirely through Frénk’s interviews with his separated parents and there is a surprise ending.

At each stage in discussing this true story the participants will be asked to consider what their own organisation might do better to resolve the situation and assist the children and parents.  This is an opportunity for professionals from a range of backgrounds to consider their own practice and learn about other possible approaches to contact resistance.

Our speakers are  Nick Child, retired Child Psychiatrist and Family Therapist, Pat Barclay, Child and Couple Separation Counsellor with Relationship Solutions Scotland and a Family Consultant with Consensus Aberdeen and Margaret Ashman, Contact Centre Manager and Social Worker.  Further information about the topics we will be covering is available on Nick Child's web site.

The event takes place on Friday 24th June at Robertson House, 152 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4TB.  To book places use the form below.

 

Monday
May022016

Research project on shared parenting

FNF Scotland have appointed a student intern to carry out research into the benefits of Shared Parenting.

Shared Parenting is when both parents are actively involved in all aspects of their children’s lives and share meaningful parenting responsibility. Children gain different things from fathers and mothers or from two same-sex parents, and therefore benefit from shared parenting whether the parents live in the same or different households.

Our intern Beth Nandwani will write a report on shared parenting which will include details from academic research, and also interviews with parents about the shared parenting they have achieved and the issues they face.  The Internship is through the University of Edinburgh Employ.ed scheme, funded by Santander.

The report will be used to promote shared parenting and help those who are trying to achieve it, and also as part of our lobbying work to encourage reform of Scots family law.

Beth will be carrying out interviews with parents to find out how they made shared parenting work and what problems were faced along the way, as well as what advice can be passed on. If you would be interested in becoming involved in this project email her for further details or ring the Edinburgh office on 0131 557 2440.

Sunday
May012016

Guide for schools supports inclusion of both parents

Two national charities have been working together to produce a new guide for schools and nurseries to encourage better parental inclusion in support of their children’s education.

 

Helping Children Learn, produced by Children in Scotland and Families Need Fathers Scotland, urges schools to be proactive in building positive and inclusive relationships in particular with non-resident parents.

 

Based on research and evidence, the guide identifies the benefits not only in children's academic attainment but also in their conduct and constructive relationships when both parents are involved in supporting their education even when they no longer live together.

 

Schools are required to draw up a parental involvement strategy and review it regularly to ensure both parents are encouraged and supported to become engaged in their child’s education and also to participate in the wider school community. However the researchers found considerable variation between schools and between authorities in the effort they appear to make to reach out to non-resident parents.

 

The report reminds schools of the current legislation, guidance and policy, and highlights examples of best practice across the country. Good practice case studies are drawn from Prestonpans Infant School, East Lothian and South Lanarkshire Council.

 

Marion McLeod, Policy Manager with Children in Scotland said:We know that in general, with some individual exceptions, children benefit for the active support and involvement of both parents.  This is particularly true in terms of educational attainment. 

We appreciate that often schools or other education bodies might find it difficult to manage differing parental expectations when families breakdown, but we know that the child benefits immeasurably when clear, transparent and constructive involvement is achieved. This is the best practice we must strive for.”

 

Ian Maxwell, National Manager of Families Need Fathers Scotland added:It is ten years now since the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act urged schools to 'work hard' to engage with fathers in general and non-resident fathers in particular and to treat both parents with equal respect. Regrettably, we still hear regularly from some non-resident parents that they have felt excluded from communication around their child’s education, or are made to feel they are causing bother by asking for their own copies of newsletters and school reports. We hope this guide will help schools and education authorities work towards a more inclusive approach, for the benefit of all involved, our children above all.”

The guide has been published to coincide with 2016, Scotland's Year of the Dad – although it is noted a non-resident parent may be either a mother or father.

 

FNF Scotland last year published EQUAL PARENTS - a 'user guide' for non-resident parents to clearing the obstacles to involvement in their children's education.

Tuesday
Apr122016

Guidance on recording meetings with professionals

Useful guidance on the ins and outs of recording meetings with social workers and other professionals has been published by the Transparency Project.

Although their research has been carried out in England most of the principles that they cover such as the Data Protection Act still apply in Scotland.  They outline some of the "pros" and "cons" of family members recording meetings with professionals, either with or without permission. 

The Data Protection act 1998 doesn't prevent individuals from making a tape recording of a meeting for personal reference, but there may be a breach if recording are published or distributed.  Anyone wishing to make use of a recording or transcript in court proceedings will have to obtain permission from that court.

Some bodies such as CAFCASS  seem open to the use of recordings, stating in their guidance: "We should have nothing to fear from covert recording. Our attitude should be, 'I am doing my job and I have nothing to hide. I can explain why I said what I said or why I did what I did'. This is within the spirit of transparency in the family courts. We should always be transparent in our work, to meet contemporary expectations, including being able to defend whatever we say or write in a court under cross-examination, because we are working to a professional standard on behalf of a child. In this sense, we should expect that everything we say or write could become public knowledge."

Some Scottish local authorities allow recording whereas others will raise objections if a parent asks to record a meeting.

Discussion of recording contact issues, particularly handovers is given in a recent article in Family Law Week, again from an English prespective.

 

 

Tuesday
Apr122016

Walk, run or cycle to raise money for FNFS this summer

Alistair Collie running in the Tough Mudder for FNFSFamilies Need Fathers Scotland is very grateful for the fundraising efforts by fathers who have used our services and want to support our work.  Two opportunities are coming up this summer in Scotland, plus a presence at the London Marathon raising money for Families Need Fathers.

The Men's 10k in Glasgow is a great chance to celebrate  Father's Day in style on Sunday 19th June.  Going from the Riverside Museum to George Square, the route snakes back and forth across the Clyde.   We will supply an FNFS running t-shirt and cheer you on at start and finish. 

For those seeking a gentler outing, The Walking Dads are holding a 12-mile charity walk on Sunday 24th July from Thriepmuir in the Pentlands.  Organised by Dads Rock, the walk is open to all dads or male carers.

And if two wheels is your choice, how about taking part in Pedal for Scotland on 11th September.  Options are the Big Belter (110 hilly miles from Glasgow to Edinburgh), the standard 55 mile route between the two cities or the Wee Jaunt (9 miles in Edinburgh).

And if you want to support a father running in this year's London Marathon on 24th April go to Alistair Collie's Justgiving page. 

He took part in the Tough Mudder event in Dalkeith in 2014 for FNF Scotland and has now gained a coveted place in this year's London Marathon.

Anyone wanting to take part in these or other events on behalf of FNFS should contact us at info@fnfscotland.org or 0131 557 2440.