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FNF Response to call for Evidence by the Women and Equalities Committee into Coronavirus and the impact on people with protected characteristics

FNF call for financial support in relation to coronavirus to be apportioned more fairly and for there to be a better understanding of men’s support needs.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Women and Equalities Committee in Parliament called for evidence relating to coronavirus and the impact on people with protected characteristics. FNF supplied them with our submission at the start of May this year. However, it has only just been published, after some chasing.  Curiously the date of our submission appears to have been edited by the Committee to read July instead of May!

We drew to the Committee's attention that almost half of divorces involve children under sixteen and that it seems likely that the ratio is at least as high for unmarried parents. Mothers make up 86% of lone parents. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) classify a separated parent with more than half of care overnight stays with them as a ‘lone’ or ‘single’ parent or ‘Parents with Care’. The converse of this is that 86% of separated men who are parents are classified simply as ‘single adults’, irrespective of whether their children don’t stay with them at all or stay for 182 nights a year (ie almost half). These men as far as the DWP are concerned, are classified as single individuals - just like adults who are not parents - when it comes to calculating Universal Credit, ignoring their sometimes very substantial contributions through Child Maintenance.  So for example, a mother with a child who is not working, and who receives £1500 a month from the child's father, might be classified as being below the poverty line because her income from child (or spousal) maintenance is not taken into account. This of course has an obvious effect on poverty figures which are quoted.

The essence of our submission, however, was our concern that that the Covid-19 pandemic will have had adverse effects on children's relationships with both separated parents, that there is a need for strong Government support in responding to those difficulties, and that there are problems with access to housing support for parents who share care and regarding the affordability of Child Maintenance, particularly under Universal Credit. As hundreds of thousands of parents, regardless of gender, will have specific difficulties to adjust to, it is vital that the response is appropriate and helps to alleviate rather than fuel family conflict.

You can read our submission in response to the Women and Equalities Committee’s call for evidence here.

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FNF HSSF Kite Mark

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.

FNF are pleased to announce a partnership with MyDaddy who have built this excellent app for the significant proportion of fathers who are now newly sharing parenting after separation.

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