WE CANNOT SIMPLY SPEAK ABOUT ‘PROBLEM’ FAMILIES; GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO TAKE A CLEAR LEAD IN DEMONSTRATING THE IMPORTANCE OF BOTH PARENTS IN A CHILD’S LIFE
The civil disturbances seen across Britain last week were undoubtedly the result not of a single issue, but numerous interlinked social and economic causes which have developed over both the short and long term. The Prime Minister has identified the declining influence of the role of the family and parenting as one of these factors. Families Need Fathers agrees that more needs to be done to enable children to maintain meaningful relationships with both parents following family breakdown, but that this will require significant work on behalf of the Government to ensure that words are translated into action.
Ken Sanderson, CEO of Families Need Fathers, commented, “No one would want to oversimplify the causes of the recent disturbances which have devastated families and communities across the country. It is widely accepted though that families and parenting play a critical role in ensuring children are brought up with a strong ethic of social responsibility and a desire to improve the lives of those around them. Research strongly indicates that children have better emotional, educational and social outcomes over the course of their lives if they are able to enjoy the full involvement of both parents, regardless of whether they are still together or not.
The issue here is not as simple as ‘problem’ families, and parents not taking responsibility for their children. Good parenting is not a product of income, and though a small minority of parents may shirk their responsibilities, the great majority of parents desire to do their best for their children following family breakdown, regardless of other factors.
Mr Cameron correctly identified in his speech that people react to signals given by the Government and public bodies. For too long though, the signals given to families has downplayed the importance of children maintaining a meaningful relationship with both parents following divorce and separation. Whether it is the lack of action taken against parents who break contact orders or the struggles faced by some separated parents to even obtain their children’s school reports, the overall impression given is that parents not living with their children are of secondary importance. The Government needs to take a clear lead in family policy, and make it clear to public bodies, and indeed wider society, that both parents matter. It is a shame that it has taken the violence and destruction witnessed over the past week to bring about serious discussion on how we ensure that children enjoy the benefits of having both parents involved in their lives. I hope that Mr Cameron will follow through on his expressed desire to strengthen families and communities when the Family Justice Review presents their final recommendations in the autumn.”
For comment, case studies or information please contact:
Ross Jones, Acting Director of Policy and Research 020 7613 5060
Ken Sanderson, CEO 020 7613 5060
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