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Entries in involving fathers (3)

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.

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.

Monday
Aug042014

Work with fathers in order to safeguard children

Mark OsbornResearch by the Fatherhood Institute has highlighted the importance of social work and other shild protection services involving fathers and other men around children, rather than just dealing with mothers.

That’s the key conclusion of an article by their safeguarding programme manager Mark Osborn, published in Child Abuse & Neglect in June 2014, which stresses that ‘serious case review after serious case review highlights…that children are dying in our country when we do not assess and work with fathers and father figures effectively’

Mark's study reviewed the policies and procedures in six English local authorities alongside an audit of recorded practice to establish a structural view of how fathers are engaged and to make recommendations that would enable, and support, improved practices, and potentially address the culture within the organisation.  

Contrasting case studies mentioned in the paper show the need for change.  

In the first case there was an exemplary piece of social work practice to find a young mother who had not been in her child’s life for the previous two years.  The teenage mum had moved to another area of the country and the social worker followed up many leads and old addresses to try to find her.  Being unsuccessful in this, the detective work continued through contacts with a practitioner who worked with a sibling of the young mum.  Finally she was tracked down, contact was made, assessments were carried out, intervention took place, and eventually the young mum came back into the life of her child.  

The next file audited also involved a teenage pregnancy.  In this case the young father was living around the corner from his child and was not in contact with the child but he was expressing concerns for the child’s safety.  There was no record of any assessment, no intervention with him, he was not invited to meetings or conferences and was not included within the core group, but no reasons for these exclusions were recorded.

FNF Scotland hears similar stories from across Scotland from fathers who have been sidelined or ignored by child protection procedures.  We will highlight this study to the authorities responsible for Scotland's "Getting It Right For Every Child" procedures.