National Parenting Strategy: our views
Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 7:09AM
FNF Scotland in comments, national parenting strategy

Commenting on today's  launch of the National Parenting Strategy by Children's Minister Aileen Campbell, Ian Maxwell from Families Need Fathers Scotland said:

"Families Need Fathers Scotland welcomes the emphasis on fathers in this new strategy, including fathers who live apart from their children. There is a wealth of research showing that children generally do better in all areas of life when both parents are involved, even after separation.

In implementing the Strategy, we hope that the Scottish Government shows leadership in making it more likely that both parents can remain involved with their children after separation.

The Growing Up in Scotland study shows that around a quarter of Scottish children have a non-resident father. About two thirds of these fathers have contact with their children but that contact can be anything from 50:50 shared care to a few hours a month or just birthday and Christmas cards, a long way short of full involvement. 

We hear from many fathers, grandparents and a few mothers who are being prevented from any real involvement with their children for reasons other than the welfare of the children.

Although many separated parents reach amicable arrangements focussed on the interests of the children, there is a steady growth in court cases about contact and residence.  The annual number of legally aided applications for contact in Scottish courts has almost doubled over the last four years, from 2005 to 3848.

Families Need Fathers Scotland always advises non resident parents who contact us to avoid going to court if possible and try alternative means of dispute resolution but in may cases a proposal to go to mediation is rejected out of hand. In those cases the options are often to go to court or, unwillingly, to walk away.

FNF Scotland welcomes the increased support for mediation announced today. As well as increased funding to reduce delay, we look to the government to show leadership by reminding both parents at all times that their obligation is to focus on the interests and the well being of their children and avoid point scoring against each other.

Lord Reed in the UK Supreme Court called for a "change in culture" of child contact proceedings. Families Need Fathers Scotland supports the move away from the 'winner takes all' approach to child contact.

Article originally appeared on Families Need Fathers Scotland (http://www.fnfscotland.org.uk/).
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