Ian Maxwell – National Manager, Families Need Fathers Scotland
We welcome the emphasis on fathers in the Scottish Government’s new National Parenting Strategy, including fathers who live apart from their children. There is a wealth of research showing that children generally do better in all areas of life when both parents are involved.
In implementing the strategy, we hope that the Scottish Government shows leadership in making it more likely that both parents can remain involved with their children after separation.
The ‘Growing Up in Scotland’ study shows that around a quarter of Scottish children have a nonresident father. About two thirds of these fathers have contact with their children but that contact can be anything from 50:50 shared care to a few hours a month or just birthday and Christmas cards, a long way short of full involvement.
We hear from many fathers, grandparents and a few mothers who are being prevented from any real involvement with their children for reasons other than the welfare of the children. Although many separated parents reach amicable arrangements focused on the interests of the children, there Letters to the Editor with the writer’s contact details, should be emailed to email@example.com or faxed to 0131 272 2116.
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has been a steady growth in court cases in Scotland about contact and residence.
We also welcome the increased support for mediation. As well as increased funding to reduce delay in commencing mediation, we look to the Government to show leadership by reminding both parents at all times that their obligation is to focus on the interests and the wellbeing of their children and to avoid point scoring against each other.
Lord Reed in the UK Supreme Court recently called for a “change in culture” in child contact proceedings. Families Need Fathers Scotland supports the move away from the ‘winner takes all’ approach to child contact.