Consultation on involvement of both parents after separation heralds change
Family separation charity, the Centre for Separated Families, has welcomed the government's consultation on plans to increase the involvement of both parents in a child's life following family separation.
Commenting on the consultation, Karen Woodall, Director of the Centre for Separated Families said:
'We believe that the government is taking the right approach to dealing with the issue of children being able to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents after separation.'
'In too many cases, one parent finds that they are effectively pushed out of their child's life and that they are unable to retain a strong and meaningful relationship with their child'
'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.'
'This consultation is likely to be extremely contentious and the organisations that campaign on behalf of mothers and those that campaign on behalf of fathers are likely to be unhappy with some of the proposals, but we feel that the government is striking the right balance and trying to look at what works best for children.'
'We have never supported an automatic presumption that children's time with be split 50:50, as some people have called for, because it is artificial 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 - and that has to be addressed as a matter of urgency.'
'Far too often, it's a winner takes all situation. The lone parent model of post separation family life has failed countless children over the last forty years and we welcome the governments determination to tackle this issue.'
'But this isn't just about parents who use the courts to sort out parenting time after separation. A strong message that establishes the need for children to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, will set an expectation that all parents will aim towards achieving that. 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.'