ADDRESS INSTITUTIONAL BARRIERS WHICH PREVENT THE INVOLVEMENT OF FATHERS BEFORE CASTIGATING ALL WHO ARE ‘ABSENT’
David Cameron’s comments in the Sunday Telegraph risk casting all separated fathers as irresponsible, when many wish to see their children but are prevented from doing so.
Families Need Fathers believes that David Cameron, though correctly identifying the importance of both parents in a child’s life, has given the false impression that separated fathers who do not have a relationship with their children choose willingly not to do so. Going by the experiences of the thousands of parents (and their wider families) that FNF supports each year, this is simply not the case for the majority of separated fathers.
Ken Sanderson, CEO of Families Need Fathers, said, “Mr. Cameron appears to have overlooked the complexity of separated families. Very few fathers choose deliberately to walk away from their children, and it is damaging in the extreme to suggest that this is the common experience. Rather than simply wringing his hands about the ‘bogeyman’ of the absent father, Mr. Cameron would be well advised to examine how his government can ensure that the importance of fatherhood is better reflected in law, rather than simply in rhetoric.”
Ken Sanderson continued, “Mr. Cameron gives the impression in his article that he does not believe the government can do anything to ensure that fathers are involved in children’s lives following separation. If he genuinely wishes for fathers to be more involved in children’s lives, he needs to ensure that the law reflects the importance and status of fathers in families. There is plenty that Mr. Cameron could do in this regard. This could include requiring both parents to sign their child’s birth certificate, or ensuring that local services such as schools and doctors treat both parents equally and provide them with the same information on their children, regardless of which parent lives with the child.
If Mr Cameron sincerely believes that both parents need to be involved in a child’s life, he will no doubt signify his support for the upcoming Private Member’s Bills being presented by Brian Binley MP and Charlie Elphicke MP. These bills aims to introduce a presumption of shared parenting in law for separating parents where there are no welfare concerns for the involved parties. Such a presumption would be the best way the government could both send out a message to all parents that they are equally responsible for their child’s wellbeing post-separation. More importantly, it would ensure that children are able to maintain meaningful relationships with both parents and their wider families throughout their lives, enjoying the social, psychological and emotional benefits that such relationships have repeatedly been demonstrated through academic research to provide.”
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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