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Father's Day 2018

 Father’s Day Message – 2018

Father’s Day is our opportunity to celebrate fatherhood. It is a chance for all dads to be reminded that they are loved and needed by those who they have cared for and loved throughout their lives. It is a recognition of the unique and vital role that fathers play in their children’s lives.

Tragically, at Families Need Fathers, we all too often work with dads whose children will not be able to celebrate Father’s Day with them. Many of them will have in their possession an order from the Family Court to say that their children should be seeing them regularly, not least on Father’s Day, but the order will not be obeyed.

Other fathers will have no hope at all of seeing their children on Father’s Day, because they have been “awarded” indirect contact. So all they can do for the child who needs them and whom they love is to send them a letter a few times a year – in the hope that it reaches them.

Worse still, many of their children will feel pressurised to reject their much-loved dads. Sometimes this will happen through coaching, but more often it will be because their main carers make coldly clear to these young minds their feelings towards their ex-partners. Why do they do this – could they have valid reasons? More often than not it is because they would not accept that the relationship had ended, because they started a new one of their own, because they were upset that their ex has started a new relationship or because they fear that their ex’s new partner will somehow usurp or diminish their role as a mother. Of course, these reasons are driven by adult emotions and it is harmful to burden the children with them. Children have more than enough capacity to love both their parents and extended families whether they live together or apart. Parents collaborating can do so much to help children to get over their parents' divorce or separation.

It is amazing that in 2018 there are still Cafcass Family Court Advisers, judges and social workers who don’t recognise alienating behaviours or appreciate their effect – putting a child in a position of having to suppress and deny their love for their father - a love that dare not speak its name. Over the last year or two Cafcass have accepted that parental alienation is child abuse and they are beginning to develop pathways and tools for identifying it and hopefully for dealing with it too.

That said the message has not reached all of them yet. Only last week we heard from an entirely reasonable, good dad whose child has been turned against him - yet neither the Family Court Adviser nor the judge showed any interest in why this might be. Incredibly, the judge and Family Court Adviser described the father as arrogant and naive for challenging the professionals' views when they had considered the wishes of his brainwashed child. The judge’s decision was horrifying – condemning a father simply for loving their child above all else – for wanting to remain part of the child’s life. They should do better. They need to be better trained. They need to have a far better understanding of recent research into child psychology and the long-term impact on a child of having to keep secret or trying to destroy their own love of a parent in order to protect themselves from the fear of loss of the other parent. It is amazing that, despite alienating behaviours being recognised by Cafcass nationally and by many experienced judges there are still those who look out to the horizon and conclude that the earth is flat. ‘Professionals’ who ignore all the evidence from those who have sailed those seas and yet when challenged don’t even show the slightest curiosity. Why for example might a child phone and say "I really wanted to see you on Father's Day, but mummy said no" and then a few weeks later, having not seen him, say "I never want to see him again"?

Of course, there are abusive men and women and a small minority will seek to hide their abuse with claims of alienation. This does not mean of course that alienation does not happen and experienced professionals can easily tell the difference. The earth is round, and no amount of denial will make it flat.

Today our thoughts are with all the good dads out there, but most especially with all those children and their dads who are needlessly apart, failed by their main carers and failed by a broken family justice system that is behind the times. Those dads will continue to suffer every single day, as will their children, many of whom will grow up living with the effects of the daily guilt of having to deny their love for one parent in order to hold on to the love of the other.

It will be very hard for these children and their alienated parents to forgive the Government and the courts for their obstruction and inaction. But if we all work constructively together, for the sake of all those children of separated families, progress can and will be made.

We wish everyone a Happy Father's Day.  If you are a father, and you are in touch or with your children - have a great day. If you are a father and for whatever reason you cannot be with your child or children, we hope that they will be happy and much loved and appreciated in your thoughts throughout the day and in the future.

17th June 2018

 

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  • Yesterday we attended the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fatherhood. Dr John Clifton of University of East Anglia presented research suggesting social workers treat mothers and fathers very differently, leading to different outcomes. Mothers are treated as primary, fathers as secondary. Social workers consider fathers as carers of last resort - often not bothering to consider how a father may be able to protect a child - a waste of resource. Men tended to be seen as all good or all bad. There were more differentiated views of mothers. https://phys.org/news/2017-07-fathers-child.html Please support FNF by following us, sharing this, liking, registering for free, making a donation or becoming a member.
  • Yesterday the Government announced its crackdown on unpaid Child Maintenance with a host of new measures such as confiscating passports, raiding sole trader's business accounts and joint bank accounts of partners as this article reports (with a quote from Families Need Fathers). They also plan to recover arrears from Job Seekers Allowances, State Pensions and other benefits designed to keep people above the poverty line. In the majority of cases it will affect the poorest in society the most whilst continuing to fail the children it is intended to help and adding to conflict between separated parents. The decision has the look of being politically motivated and designed to enable the Government to begin to write-off the £4 billion of Child Maintenance arrears they have zero chance of ever collecting - not least as most of that money did not and does not exist. We will be seeking to meet with the newly appointed minister responsible for Child Maintenance, Justin Tomlinson MP. He is the third one in the last year. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5948369/Second-wives-pay-child-support-husbands-family-crackdown-maintenance-dodgers.html You can also support FNF by sharing, liking or following us or by registering with us for free, making a donation or becoming a member.
  • That a migrant father has been re-united with his four year old daughter is to be welcomed. The Home Office acted illegally and heartlessly. Now how about helping dads (and some mums) needlessly separated from their children due to lack of enforcement of their own orders and equally heartless policies? And what about ending the nonsense that someone making allegations against another person can get Legal Aid, whilst denying it to the accused. Is that legal? Is there any morel justification for such an 'inequality of arms' as the lawyers call it? Any lawyer want to test it? Please support us by following us, liking this, sharing, registering for free on our website, making a donation or becoming a member. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44797805
  • The latest social attitudes survey tells us what most of us have known for some time - attitudes about women being carers and men working have been changing rapidly . Almost three quarters of people disagreeing with this. Just a few weeks ago the Government's response to Select Committee recommendations that fathers should have a month of paid paternity leave were dismissed, saying "The long term solution lies in promoting and securing a wider culture change". Seems the Government are behind the curve of public opinion - again! So are the judiciary, Cafcass and local authority social workers! Please support us by sharing this, liking it, following us, registering for free, making a donation or becoming a member. Don't forget to write about this to your MP too. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jul/10/survey-finds-uk-is-abandoning-traditional-views-of-gender-roles
  • 'Gatekeeper' mums affect father's later parenting says study. The message is - let dads be dads and involve them from day one. https://news.osu.edu/news/2018/06/11/father-parenting-quality/ Support us by liking this page, sharing, following us, registering for free, making a donation or becoming a member.
  • Today's Telegraph reports on the rise of Non-Molestation orders following changes in Legal Aid that resulted in only the accuser, but not the accused, being able to qualify for such state funding in family disputes. The Midlands had increases in such orders of 123%. Derby had a particularly spectacular increase of use of such orders of 962%! Is anyone investigating why? Please support us by sharing this, liking and following or you can register for free, make a donation or become a member. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/03/husbands-wrongly-accused-abuse-changes-legal-aid-rules-charity/

FNF HSSF Kite Mark Award

Families Need Fathers has been awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Kite Mark which is a new UK government accreditation scheme for organisations offering help to separated families.

Families Need Fathers work with a range of family law professionals, including Family Law Panel

 

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23/07/2018 Mon: London Central Meeting
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