A United Nations report launched today challenges many of the current practices and institutional presumptions that tend to exclude rather than include fathers. The report entitled Men in Families by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs is co-authored by the co-director of the University of East Anglia's Centre for Research on the Child and Family. This report is clearly consistent with Article 9 of United Nations Convention of the Right’s of the Child, that the child has a right both parents after separation and divorce.
The report recognises the need of effective public policy that is supportive of men’s involvement in their families. It highlights that men, like women, are an asset to family life and that their absence is detrimental to child development. One of the most valuable aspects of the report is the acknowledgement that much more needs to be done to ensure the recognition of the value that fathers bring to the lives of children.
We are, however, concerned with the report’s generalised recasting of fatherhood as a series of temporary relationships. We know that in the UK 11% of parents share the care equally of their children after separation and divorce.
“Child outcomes are significantly improved by a meaningful relationship with both parents. This cannot be achieved by a temporary relationship but by shared parenting. Many more fathers would share the parenting given the opportunity and the support. We do need to put an end to defining motherhood and fatherhood against each other as carer and breadwinner. We simply cannot define fatherhood as a temporary relationship. This is not fair for the child or either parent,” commented Becky Jarvis, FNF Director of Policy.
Notes for editors:
You can access the full report here http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/family/docs/men-in-families.pdf
Article 9 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child;
3. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child's best interests.
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