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Tuesday
Jun072011

Scottish Family Study Ignores Fathers

Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) is a significant source of information about family life in Scotland.  But the publication of the most recent set of results from year five highlights the fact that a key dimension is missing from this cohort study of the lives of 14,000 children growing up in Scotland.

For instance, in the GUS report on change in early childhood and the impact of significant events, the section on separation includes information on whether mothers re-partner, and on whether the likelihood of separaton is higher amongst mothers who are younger, have no qualifications, are cohabiting, or when the birth had not been planned.  None of this information is presented for the fathers in these families. In a table headed "Characteristics of Parents", only the mother's details appear.

Growing Up in Scotland is an extremely important piece of government funded research, which will be used to plan services for parents and children for decades to come.  Families Need Fathers Scotland is concerned that this study is missing the chance to explore the influence of fathers and how they contribute to the upbringing of their children. 

With 11% of the families in the GUS study experiencing parental separation in the first five years of their lives, and parental separation significantly associated with a higher likelihood of income poverty and poor maternal mental health, we need to consider the whole picture, including fathers,  in order to find the best ways of imporoving outcomes for these children.

Families Need Fathers Scotland will contact the GUS organisers to discuss whether fathers, particularly those not living with their children, could be considered more in future publications.

Thursday
Jun022011

How the law views fathers in Scotland

Janys Scott speaking at Glasgow Art ClubAt a well-attended event organised to mark the first year of work by the Families Need Fathers office in Scotland and the success of the Glagow FNF Branch, Janys Scott QC delivered a presentation on the changes in the way fathers have been viewed in Scottish family law. 

Her own recent cases include the successful challenge to the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 on human rights grounds (Principal Reporter v K).  This December 2010 decision now requires courts and children's hearings to read that legislation in a different way in respect of unmarried fathers without parental rights who have established family life with their children.

Her discussion of decisions since Lord Dunpark's very negatve 1986 decision to award custody to a mother and refuse the father access in Porchetta v Porchetta illustrated the positive direction law for fathers has taken over the last 25 years. 

A father's value is now more fully recognised and the terminology is less negative in the Scottish courts in cases involving contact and residence, although her presentation and the discussion afterwards revealed that there are still a wide range of legal and social issues to be resolved.  Fathers from Glasgow FNF group gave their own examples of difficulty in seeing or maintaining contact with their children.

Text of the presentation is now available, and film of the event will be uploaded soon.

Thursday
Jun022011

New DIY guide to Scottish Family Courts 

FNF Scotland has published a new Guide for Party Litigants and Lay Assistants to help applicants for contact or residence understand the relevant law and court procedures.

Families Need Fathers Scotland always suggest negotiation or mediation is preferable to going to court.

Sometimes, unfortunately, it can't be avoided. Increasingly we are seeing more party litigants representing themselves either because of the cost of going to court or the scarcity of family law solicitors willing to take on legal aid cases.

The Guide should also be of assistance to fathers who do have legal representation to understand the procedures and be better equipped to draw up a constructive strategy with their solicitor.

Representing yourself in a Scottish Family Court - a guide for party litigants in child contact cases is available to download from this site.  FNF Scotland welcomes comments and notes of personal experience for inclusion in this guide.

Sunday
May292011

Father's Day events in Glasgow and Edinburgh

Father’s Day can be difficult for anyone who isn’t seeing their children, and FNF has always organised activities to highlight this issue, such as a boat trip on the Thames.  This year we will be represented at two events in Scotland over the Father's day weekend.

GLASGOW: The Men’s Health Forum runs a Men’s 10k event in Bellahouston Park.  We will be publicizing FNF Scotland in the event programme, and also have some supporters taking part in FNF t-shirts.

EDINBURGH:  A Father’s Day Storytelling Celebration is being held from 11am to 4pm on Saturday 18th June, at The Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh.  As well as storytelling sessions for fathers and their children and live music, the free event includes an exhibition “My Dad and Me”, workshop sessions on ‘the challenges of fatherhood’ and ‘being a storydad’. FNF Scotland will have a stall at the event.

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