• Families Need Fathers | History

Our History

Families Need Fathers (FNF) is a prominent charity in the United Kingdom that has played a vital role in advocating for the rights of non-residential parents, particularly fathers, in the context of family breakdowns and separation.

Established in 1974, the organization emerged during a time when societal attitudes toward parental roles were undergoing significant shifts, and family structures were evolving.

The early 1970s witnessed a cultural transformation, marked by changing gender roles and expectations. As more women entered the workforce and societal norms evolved, the dynamics of family life also experienced a shift. Against this backdrop, Families Need Fathers was founded by Alick Elithorn, a passionate advocate for fathers’ rights, who recognized the need for an organization dedicated to supporting non-residential parents, predominantly fathers, during times of family breakdown.

The primary motivation behind the formation of Families Need Fathers was to address the challenges faced by fathers who, due to separation or divorce, found themselves in a non-residential parental role. During this period, custody arrangements predominantly favored mothers, and fathers often encountered difficulties in maintaining meaningful relationships with their children. FNF sought to challenge the prevailing assumptions and stereotypes, advocating for a more equitable approach to parenting responsibilities.

In its early years, Families Need Fathers focused on raising awareness about the importance of fathers in children’s lives and providing a platform for non-residential parents to share their experiences and support one another. The organization recognized the emotional and practical challenges faced by fathers, aiming to provide them with resources, guidance, and a community of like-minded individuals who understood their struggles.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Families Need Fathers expanded its reach and influence. The charity actively engaged with policymakers, legal professionals, and the public to bring attention to the issues faced by non-residential parents. It advocated for changes in family law to ensure that the best interests of the child were prioritized while acknowledging the crucial role both parents play in a child’s upbringing.

One of the key milestones in Families Need Fathers’ history was the implementation of the Children Act 1989 in the UK. This legislation marked a significant shift in the approach to family law, emphasizing the importance of a child’s welfare and the involvement of both parents in their upbringing. Families Need Fathers played a pivotal role in shaping the discourse around this legislation, contributing to the recognition of parental rights and responsibilities.

As the new millennium unfolded, Families Need Fathers continued to evolve and adapt to the changing landscape of family dynamics. The organization embraced technological advancements, using the internet and digital platforms to provide information and support to a wider audience. Online forums and helplines became integral components of FNF’s outreach, connecting individuals facing similar challenges and fostering a sense of community.

In recent years, Families Need Fathers has continued its commitment to supporting non-residential parents, addressing emerging issues such as shared parenting, parental alienation, and the mental health and well-being of fathers. The charity’s advocacy efforts have contributed to a broader societal understanding of the importance of maintaining meaningful relationships with both parents, regardless of their living arrangements.

Families Need Fathers has played a crucial role in the history of advocating for the rights of non-residential parents, particularly fathers, in the United Kingdom. From its inception in 1974 to the present day, the organization has been a driving force in challenging stereotypes, influencing legislative changes, and providing support to individuals navigating the complexities of family breakdowns. Families Need Fathers continues to be a beacon of support for non-residential parents, contributing to a more inclusive and equitable approach to parenting in the evolving landscape of family life.

About Families Need Fathers

Families Need Fathers, a recognized UK charity, offers valuable information and assistance to parents, regardless of marital status or gender.

FNF is dedicated to addressing the challenges associated with preserving a child’s connection with both parents amid and after family breakdowns. Established in 1974, FNF provides crucial support to thousands of parents annually.

For a membership fee that is less than the cost of a few minutes with a solicitor, individuals gain access to an extensive array of information and support that goes beyond what some legal professionals can offer.

What Our Service Users Say

” What an amazing organisation, offering help, support and advice. A really informative and pioneering charity. Thank you! ”

Families Need Fathers Testimonials - What Our Service Users Say

“ Excellent charity, and volunteers that gives hope and support with practical information, not only to fathers but grandparents / extended family too. A lifeline in devastating situations where ultimately the children are the focus. If contact with your child or grandchild is broken, this is the organization for all relevant information, support and understanding. ”

Families Need Fathers Testimonials - What Our Service Users Say

” I don’t know how I would have coped without the Shared Parenting knowledge and empowerment from the peer support of FNF. Women are welcome in most settings. ”

Families Need Fathers Testimonials - What Our Service Users Say

” FNF taught me about the realities of the UK Family Court system at a time when I was very vulnerable and in need of guidance. Their ‘Surviving Separation’ course is excellent. ”

Families Need Fathers Testimonials - What Our Service Users Say

” The only charity to support any parent or grandparent to regain contact with their child or children, I regularly attend the Manchester group once a month to provide support. ”

Families Need Fathers Testimonials - What Our Service Users Say

” Without this group I would have been lost. I am the grandmother of a son who had his children taken away by the mother and false allegations submitted to ensure no contact. It has been heart breaking but reading the stories, being part of a community and having access to meetings gives information, advice and the hope and knowledge that it can change. I will keep supporting my son and grandchildren so they are together in the future. ”

Families Need Fathers Testimonials - What Our Service Users Say

” Families Need Fathers is an inclusive organisation that supports mothers, fathers, and ultimately children. I have personally found their support to be invaluable and truly believe it has saved my life and helped me become a stronger, resilient, and positive human being, father, and husband. They have educated and coached with my own personal development, positive co-parenting, positive parenting, and Family Court and the legal/court process. In that order. The peer-to-peer support is unmatched…I’ve never experienced a more active and supportive group of individuals brought together by a single goal – Happy Families! ”

Families Need Fathers Testimonials - What Our Service Users Say
120,265

Children Helped

32,760

Service Users each year

33

Support meetings each month