Government support for shared parenting is the right way forward
Family separation charity, the Centre for Separated Families, has welcomed the government's proposals to encourage more shared parenting arrangements after separation.
Commenting on the announcement, Karen Woodall, Director of the Centre for Separated Families said:
'We believe that the government's intention to introduce a legislative statement into the Children Act (1989) is by far the most appropriate way to support children's ongoing relationships with both parents after divorce or separation.'
'All the evidence shows that the children who adjust most successfully after family separation are those who are able to maintain meaningful relationships with both of their parents. In most cases, that has to mean much more than a couple of hours a week.'
'We have never supported an automatic presumption of 50:50 shared care, as some people have called for, because it is artificial and arbitrary and fails to take children's individual needs into consideration. But far too many children are missing out on the input of one parent - usually dad.'
'Over the last 40 years, we've seen huge increases in divorce and separation, fatherlessness and inter generational family breakdown. The lone parent model of support to separated families has failed countless children over that time and we welcome this government's approach of helping parents to work together around children's needs.'
'And this isn't just about parents who use the courts to sort out parenting time after separation. A strong message in the Children Act, that establishes the need for children to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, will set an expectation that all parents will aim towards that goal. In many ways, it's about changing the environment in which parents make choices.'
'But we also think that the government needs to go further. We believe that it is vital that they invest in training all of the services that families come into contact with after separation. Unless family mediators, Cafcass officers, social workers, child support professionals, children’s centre staff and all the other individuals and agencies that parents come into contact with start to work outside the lone parent paradigm, children will continue to miss out on the vital relationships that allow them to grow and develop into psychologically secure and fulfilled adults.'
'We absolutely support the government's drive to encourage more collaboration between parents after separation and ensure that children do maintain meaningful relationships with both parents. But we also need to see services that support that change, services that can offer parents the information and advice they need to make it work.'