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Entries in Scottish Government (4)


Funding support for FNF Scotland

An early Christmas present came with the announcement on 21st December that Families Need Fathers Scotland, along with a wide range of other children and family support organisations, has been awarded funding for 2016 and beyond through the Children, Young People and Families Early Intervention Fund.

Children's Minister Aileen Campbell announced this core funding by saying “Tackling inequalities is at the heart of this government’s ambition to create a fairer Scotland and charities and other third sector groups are crucial in achieving this. I’m delighted we have been able to provide funding for so many organisations that provide vital support for families and communities across the country."

Families Need Fathers Scotland is very grateful to Scottish Government and also to the Tudor Trust for continuing to provide financial support for our work in helping parents deal with contact problems and promoting the benefits for children of shared parenting after separation.

During 2016 and beyond we will seek to set up new local groups, carry out research on the provision of  support for separated fathers from various minority ethnic communities and continue to provide a wide range of information on legal issues and other forms of dispute resolution. 

We will carry on our work on the involvement of non-resident fathers in their children's education and extend this by looking at the provision of medical information to both parents after separation.


Petitions Committee backs further moves on unmarried fathers and birth re-registration

Earlier this year Ron Park submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament raising various problems faced by unmarried fathers in Scotland.

When his petition was discussed by the Public Petitions Committee on 6th May and the committee then asked various bodies, including Families Need Fathers Scotland to submit further evidence.  A wide range of submissions were made to the committee, indicating both importance of this issue and the controversy it raises.

The Scottish Government Public Petitions Committee at their meeting on 5th August supported further consideration of various aspects of Ron Park’s petition.

Jackson Carlaw MSP called on Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Roseanna Cunningham to reconsider her statement to the committee that bracketed together women who become pregnant through rape and those who become pregnant through brief affairs.  

As FNF Scotland pointed out, the Minister unhelpfully joins together women who have been raped with those who have become pregnant through a brief relationship and suggests it is not “fair” that they should have to go to court to have Parental Rights and Parental Responsibilities removed.  In equalities terms it is difficult to see how it can be “fair” for a father to be denied involvement or even knowledge of his child even if it is the result of a brief relationship.

We would not expect women who have conceived after rape to be required to name the father.

However, we feel it is incumbent on the Minister to disaggregate the numbers to give a sense of how many of the 3,009 (5.2%) sole registered births in 2012 are the result of rape and incest.

The Committee agreed to further pursue the Government’s views on four matters raised in the responses to Mr Park’s petition:

  • Families Need Fathers Scotland’s proposal that mothers should provide a reason when registering a birth without providing the father’s name; 
  • The Law Society of Scotland's proposal that courts be given the power to order DNA tests when seeking to determine paternity; 
  • CLAN Childlaw’s suggestion that the question of whether all fathers should automatically have Parental Rights and Parental Responsibilities be referred to the Scottish Law Commission for consideration of inclusion in a future programme; and
  • Why it considers that the prospect of a mother raising proceedings to remove PRRs from a man with whom she had had a brief (consensual) relationship would be unfair.

Ian Maxwell from Families Need Fathers Scotland commented:

“This response from the Committee shows that Ron Park has raised some very valid questions about the way unmarried fathers are treated in Scotland.  As the response from Clan Childlaw pointed out, 3009 births in Scotland were registered without details of the father in 2012."

"Although sole registration accounts for only 5.2% of live births, this means that nearly 50,000 Scottish children don’t have the father’s name on their birth certificate.   Even if some of these gaps are for valid reasons such as rape or incest or because the father's identity is genuinely unknown, that still leaves a substantial number of Scottish children who are being denied knowledge of who their father is.” 

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s offer to undertake a consultation on the procedures for re-registering births to include the father’s name, and hope that the Minister will reconsider her approach to unmarried fathers who have positive reasons for wanting involvement with their children, in line with her Government’s recent National Parenting Strategy which supports involvement of fathers.”


Time to recognise importance of fathers

Dads Rock is a new playgroup in Edinburgh for fathers and their children.  They are featured in an article in Scotland on Sunday by Children's Minister Aileen Campbell.

As well as enthusing about Dads Rock following her recent visit, Aileen restates the Scottish Government's aim to include fathers in their Parenting Strategy, commenting that:

"Dads these days increasingly tend to be a lot more “hands-on” in all aspects of their children’s lives.  My own personal ­experience reflects this, given that I’m lucky enough to enjoy huge support from my own husband when it comes to caring for and raising our wee one."

"We know dads have a significant influence on their children’s development from the early years through school and into adulthood, and that dads playing a part in their kids’ lives can have all sorts of positive benefits for the family and wider community. In short, it’s crucial as a society, that we truly value and support dads in the hugely important role that they have."

Her opinion piece mentions that the Scottish Government is supporting projects such as Families Need Fathers Scotland and Men in Childcare and confirms that the father's round table meetings will continue to meet as an advisory body on national policy.

Another welcome consequence of the Scottish Parenting Strategy is that the Welsh Government will now consider putting a similar emphasis on fathers in their forthcoming Parenting Strategy. 


Scottish Government agrees action on cross order jurisdiction

Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs has
agreed to take steps to increase awareness of proper procedure in family
law cases where children are taken from Scotland to England or Wales
without the agreement of the other parent.

The problem arises when courts in England or Wales wrongly assume
jurisdiction in cases of this type, rather than returning the case to be
heard in Scotland.

Following a recent meeting with Families Need Fathers Scotland at which this
issue was raised, Ms Cunningham will issue fresh guidance on
cross-border jurisdiction, and she will also raise the issue with the
UK Ministry of Justice.

Families Need Fathers Scotland  pointed out to the Minister that it can
be easier to have children returned from the other side of the world
than from England.

"We are grateful to the Scottish Government for taking action on this
issue," commented Ian Maxwell from FNF Scotland.

"We  know of several recent cases in which fathers have found it either
very difficult or impossible to have children returned to Scotland from
south of the Border"

"If Scottish children are taken outside the UK without permission or in
breach of a court order, they would be returned promptly  to the
Scotland under the provisions of the Hague Convention on child

In their first meeting with the Minister, Families Need Fathers Scotland
also raised issues about Parental Rights and Responsibilities and access
to legal aid and explained how our work in Scotland is developing,
including the emphasis on promoting shared care as a way of ensuring
both parents are involved with their children after separation.