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Entries in FNFS (5)

Thursday
Feb012018

Time to end two 'classes' of parents

FNF Scotland's submission to the consultation on the Scottish Government's proposed Education Bill argues that it is time to overturn the custom and practice that gives 'non-resident' parents a reduced level of engagement with their child's school.

Most importantly, there has never been an educational argument to defend that secondary status of the 'non-resident' parent. To the contrary, research from around the world and the experience of those schools in Scotland that have been active in engaging with non-resident parents shows that children benefit on a range of measures from the involvement of both parents in their learning.

However, FNF Scotland argues the current system that allows schools to provide a lesser level of communication with 'non-resident' parents - mostly fathers - breaches their duties in terms of Equality law. 

FNF Scotland supports the Scottish Government's overarching commitment to challenging gender stereotyping wherever it limits the expectations and opportunities of our citizens. The insistence of most schools that they will choose one parent as the main parent is unfair to both mothers and fathers.

The FNF Scotland submission says that not only the law but the administrative substructure of data gathering by schools has to be addressed. In particular it should be required that a standard Scotlandwide pupil enrolment form is devised to include details of both parents (or kinship/institutional carers). Without a standard enrolment form and the subsequent 'annual data update' form that gives both parents equal recognition the two classes of parent are likely to continue.

FNF Scotland accepts that in a minority of cases it will not be in a child's interests for the 'non-resident' parent to be given the same information flow.  Such a decision should follow some form of due process and should not simply reflect the preference of the other parent. This will involve overhauling the ambiguous terms of the 2003 Educational Records regulations, removing the burden of 'taking sides' away from school staff to an independent procedure.

Wednesday
Jan102018

FNF Scotland to launch group in Dundee

 

The group will establish a regular meeting place for parents (fathers or mothers) who are having difficulty  securing stable and consistent arrangements for time with their children after separation or even if they have never lived together. The aim of the monthly meeting is to provide advice and information about the problems they may be experiencing but will also be an opportunity for mutual support and positive encouragement in particular to dads that they have a lot to offer as parents. Around 90% of non-resident parents are fathers.

Ian Maxwell, FNF Scotland National Manager, says, “We are grateful to the Corra Foundation which has provided the funding to start a group covering Dundee, Angus, North Fife and tayside. Some fathers - and grandparents and other family members - have travelled from the area to come to meetings in Edinburgh, Stirling and Aberdeen. We take regular telephone enquiries individuals in Dundee and Tayside so it makes sense to establish a branch here where they can meet and share good parenting advice as well as help each other navigate through problems."

It is mostly but not exclusively dads who attend group meetings. Around 90% of non-resident parents are fathers. However, we also see mothers and members of the extended family like uncles, aunts and grandparents and new partners who can all be deeply equally affected when parents split.

Ian Maxwell says, “There is a wealth of research that shows children do best when there is a stable, loving and reliable relationship with both parents after they have separated. Our aim is to give support to the non-resident parent and his or her family in the effort to make sure the welfare of the children is at the heart of the arrangements they make. It is usually to everyone’s benefit if they can agree a way forward rather than head for the courts though there are many difficult situations when the parent with care refuses to co-operate and the case does end up in court. Our branch members provide emotional and practical support there too.”

The Dundee group will be FNF Scotland's 6th group. There are active groups in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Paisley as well as a monthly skype group for those further afield.

For further information about the Dundee meetings e mail info@fnfscotland.org.

 

Tuesday
Nov222016

Families Need Fathers Scotland 2016 AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the FNF Scotland charity will be held on Thursday 8th December at Robertson House, 152 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4TB from 7-9pm.

As well as receiving reports on the charity's activity during the past year, there will be news of our campaigning to change family law and encourage shared parenting and other developments such as the training for lay assistants and our "Children Resisting Contact" training events.  We will also highlight progress in developing our supporter scheme and an online forum to discuss contact and parenting issues.

There will also be a presentation from Anne O'Donnell of St Patrick's RC Primary in Denny, near Falkirk.  We have invited her to talk about the school's work to involve fathers and other parental involvement activity.  They hold Boys Nights where boys and their male parents or carers come into the school and spend the evening doing various activities ranging from literacy games to outdoor learning. 

We are keen to celebrate good examples of how fathers can be involved in school and will also talk about what FNF Scotland has been doing to encourage schools to involve separated fathers.
Attendance at the AGM is free but we welcome donations - sign up here to attend.

Wednesday
Jul062016

FNFS family picnic at Wellsfield Farm

We are holding an FNFS picnic for parents and children at Wellsfield Farm Park just outside Denny on Sunday 17th July.  This is the start of our celebrations of five years as a Scottish charity and it will also mark the launch of our Scottish FNFS supporters scheme.

This event is being held to bring people from the various Scottish FNF groups together to meet each other.  FNFS members and people who attend our meetings will get free entry to the park, thanks to support from Wellsfield Farm.  The farm park has a children's play area / adventure fun park suitable for children from 18 months to 16 years of age, and the majority of the attractions inside and outside the park are also suitable for adults and senior citizens.  The park is at Stirling Rd, Denny, Stirlingshire FK6 6QZ - open from 10am until 5.30pm.

Bring your own sandwiches or use their café, and we will have picnic tables reserved for FNFS people to meet up at lunchtime from 12.00am till 2.00pm, with wet weather options in the Fun Shack. There is no charge, but donations to support our work are always welcome.

To attend, fill in the form below and we will send out day tickets and further information.

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Sunday
Nov302014

End hostile legal corrrespondence, hears FNFS AGM

Families Need Fathers Scotland, the charity that supports parents who are facing obstructions in maintaining a relationship with their children after divorce or separation, has reported a record number of requests for support and advice in 2013-14.

 In a report to its Annual General Meeting on Thursday 27th November members were told more than 1,200 individuals contacted the organisation's two part time staff by telephone or e mail during 2013-14 - more than 100 new contacts a month. These include FNF Scotland's four local groups who meet monthly in Aberdeen, Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow at which members find moral support and share their experience of resolving difficulties.

In addition there has been an average of over 1,300 unique visitors to the FNF Scotland website (www.fnfscotland.org.uk) per month.

FNF Scotland publishes downloadable guides to help individuals understand the legal issues and procedures that they may have to deal with when there is resistance to sharing the parenting of their children after separation.

An extraordinary total of 3,890 copies of FNF Scotland's Guide to Representing Yourself in the Scottish Family Courts were downloaded in the last year.

Other guides have covered the role of the Bar Reporter where a disagreement over contact or residence has reached court; and “Equal Parents: Clearing the obstacles to involvement of non-resident parents in their children's education” a guide to the obligations of schools to actively engage with non-resident parents. An updated edition, “Equal Parents 2” was launched at the AGM.

FNF Scotland National Manager, Ian Maxwell, told the AGM: “We are mainly contacted by fathers but also by grandparents, new partners, other family members and quite a few mothers.

From the phone calls and the information that is shared at monthly group meetings we get an insight into the frustrations encountered by non-resident parents who want to do their best by their children. They feel pain and distress at the barriers that are often casually placed in their way not only by former partners but also by professionals who should understand that most children do better when both parents are fully involved in supporting their development.

 We are still distressed by the correspondence we are shown from solicitors who make entirely unhelpful personal comments about the character of non-resident parents. There are many examples where they seem to confuse their obligation to represent the position of their client with character assassination of the other parent. This kind of correspondence will never be referred to in court but over weeks and months it poisons and polarises relations between the parties in a way that does not put the children first. It has to stop.”