The enemy within: mothers, money and manufacturing fatherhood

I have just been passed a copy of the All Parliamentary Group on Fatherhood’s report called ‘The Father’s Journey: a survey of help-seeking behaviour by separating and recently separated fathers.’*  Looking at the names of the people from the Fatherhood Insitute who have authored this report, I pretty much guessed the impact it would have on me, disappointingly, I also note that the report is co-authored by Families need Fathers.

I didn’t get much beyond the opening paragraph before my blood began to boil, the last lines reading

‘and it seems likely that when this population is not well supported or advised this will impact negatively on the financial and other support that they can provide to their children and their children’s mothers.’

In a nutshell then, this report continues to manufacture the idea that the role of the father is to provide for their children and their children’s mother.  This kind of rhetoric is unsurprising coming from the Fatherhood Institute, long known for its ‘latte dad’ approach to worshipping at the altar of motherhood, but Families need Fathers?  Come on boys, surely you know your membership better than that?

The report is based upon a survey of 295 fathers during 2011 and as such is not a hugely significant addition to the research field.  Actually it reads more like a justification for more money from government than a serious, in depth look at help seeking behaviour.  Purporting to examine the barriers to help seeking behaviour, the report goes on to simply reinforce them by suggesting that the major issue that government should be concerned about is men’s employment and the way in which this is affected by separation. Peppered with questions that it would not take a sixth former to work out the answer to, the report goes on to highlight the mysterious drop in working hours after a separation and ruminates upon whether this due to father’s trying to balance work commitments with parenting arrangements.  And in one gobsmacking section on children, it references research that indicates that the quality of the father child relationship deteriorates before separation, appearing to intimate that fathers may be to blame for weaker relationship post separation.  Whilst discussion is had about improvements in father/child relationships in some post separation families, it then goes on to query whether this is true, because stress is known to affect father/child relationships. They go on to say that it would have been useful to have the children’s views on this, the implication presumably being, so that the child can confirm that the father is not lying? Shame on you Fatherhood Institute and FNF too for even going near that suggestion.

I gave up the ghost on the rest of the report, too depressed was I to look at the rest of the details.  I skipped to the conclusion with heavy heart and confirmed for myself the purpose of the report which calls for ‘new initiatives’ (with a good evaluation history), that’s a plea for some cash to buy in overseas parenting programmes to you and me and more ‘father inclusive practice’, that’s a direct effort to ensure that FI get more funding, to turn out more latte dads style training, so that men can emasculate themselves enough to please women.

Not a word about father care, not a word about equality of opportunity, about sharing care and provision, about how important fathers are in children’s lives. Just the same old same old, money and mothers and making sure men conform to gendered expectations. I expect it of the Fatherhood Institute, FNF you need to examine how reports such as these support the lived experience of the people you represent.

*The father’s Journey: a survey of help seeking behaviour by separating and recently separated fathers – Ross Jones, Adrienne Burgess and Vhasti Hale – April 2012 can be obtained from the FI website. 

51 comments

  1. Jane Jackson · May 30, 2012

    I am so surprised and disappointed at the FNF in put. As you say, come on FNF people are depending on you.
    Jane

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    • Chambers · June 2, 2012

      I notice Karen Woodall has recently changed her stance to supporting shared parenting laws now, fantastic.

      However, until very recently she was very ‘anti’ a presumption of shared parenting in law and said so in her blogs loud and clear (they have now disappeared).

      Isn’t it strange and sad that instead of attacking the multitudes of those who oppose shared parenting, yet again the focus is in-fighting.

      I’m sure there are a lot of things we could all disagree with in FNF, CSF, F4J, RFFJ etc – But it simply is pointless and counter productive to whine about any of them, rather let’s just get on with pushing for real change.

      It’s great that Karen is now supportive of shared parenting laws instead of fighting against them but lets concentrate on the enemies of equal rights for all parents, rather than one-upmanship between those on the same side.

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      • karenwoodall · June 2, 2012

        Chambers, what is this? Where are the posts that you say have disappeared? When have I said that I am in favour of shared parenting laws or against them? There are a number of posts that do not appear on here because they are archived, suggesting that they have been deliberately taken off is mischievous of you. and untrue. I have consistently said, in everything that I write and voice, that I have not supported presumption of shared parenting laws but that I do support the introduction of a change in the children act and the push towards making sure that there is a social and cultural change to the way that we support families in this country. I have also said that I do not speak for fathers, I speak for the children who lose their relationships with their parents after separation. CSF is not a father’s rights organisation, it is a therapeutic support organisation which is underpinned by gender analysis, we find ourselves speaking up on fatherhood because the other voices are not strong enough or are selling their membership short in their representation. In fighting isn’t great, but neither is signing up to reports that perpetuate the same kind of barriers that face fathers and worse, raise them higher. I am not going to stand by and be silent whilst things like that happen. You may not like it chambers but please don’t try to portray me as someone who speaks with forked tongue because you will find that I do anything but. K

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      • Chambers · June 2, 2012

        Karen, so you still do not support a Presumption of Shared Parenting in legislation.

        You are at the table in negotiations with the government and not supporting the governments aim for shared parenting in law, not particularly helpful for fathers perhaps.

        Nothing will change without a radical change in law making the judiciary and other authorities change.

        Social and cultural change is already happening and has been happening for decades; it needs legislative change to gain momentum.

        I’m sorry I misunderstood your recent posts as you having moved towards supporting a Presumption of Shared Parenting in law and I’m saddened because fathers and children in particular need all the help they can get.

        Your work is excellent and your articles are superb but without supporting shared parenting laws it seems to miss the point.

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      • karenwoodall · June 2, 2012

        Thank you Chambers, I think I have worked out who you are now, your persistence in tackling me on this in the past has been noted.

        I am not going to go into an endless circle of debate with you about whether or not we should change the law to a presumption of 50/50 shared parenting. My view is that if we did that tomorrow, we would still face the same difficulties that are present now. I work with parents who have had a 50/50 shared care parenting arrangement, a few of whom still struggle to keep their children’s transitions difficulties under control. Last weekend on a workshop I ran on Parental Alienation, based on the work that I do in the family courts, a dad who has 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off told us that he was there because his kids were struggling with the transitions. The Australian reforms showed us that the change to presumption did not make the problem go away, it means that more people needed more help to make their arrangements work for their children.

        What you are talking about when you talk about 50/50 shared care is, I know, not necessarily half time here and half time there. I know too that a shared residence order is not the same as 50/50 shared care. What I think you really mean when you talk about presumption is that it should not be possible for a mother to presume that the children will live with her and see their father on weekend visits. Here we absolutely agree. We say that the mother can assume the right to do this because of the lone parent model that underpins our social policy.

        CSF, as a therapuetically based organisation, offering wide ranging services to support changing families, believes that the lone parent model has underpinned the eviction of one parent, mostly fathers from children’s lives for too long. When we sit at the policy tables, we argue against the lone parent model in favour of a dual parenting model which is financially incentivised and supported by the state. That is a darned sight more than anyone else around that table argues for. And a darned sight further on than a simple presumption of shared parenting. Why do we argue for it? Because we know that where those countries are operating that kind of system, supporting mothers and fathers to care and work and share the responsibilities, pre and post separation, children do better and we know that this is what changes the way in which parent presume things about who they are. We are a child focused, equalities based organisation and we speak for fathers at the moment because we know that there is an imbalance in the way that legislation affects what happens at the point of separation and after.

        Presumption as you present it changes not very much at all and in my view is a red herring.The government is going down the route of changing the children act to strengthen the message that children should have a strong relationship with both parents and I am right behind that. I am behind also the early intervention approach in the court system that sets out what the court expects parents to do at the point of separation. I am also working on guidance around shared parenting and coping with children’s transitions in shared care situations so that these can be more successful and more effective from the off. I am also right behind the arguments that collaboration between parents around child maintenance should be
        supported, it is a brave move by government and I am all for it.

        You might feel let down but please don’t try to make out to me that I am somehow letting the whole side down because I will be offended. K

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      • Chambers · June 2, 2012

        Karen,
        I don’t know anyone who is putting forward something called 50/50 Shared Parenting, think you mean the term Equal Parenting (not something I have mentioned). Shared Parenting is described on various websites if you want to look it up.

        There seems to be a lot of contradictions in your views; you’re against a presumption of shared parenting in law but supportive of governments aims to have both parents having a relationship with children for example.

        The Australian reforms showed a 30% drop in litigation, less court time, less lawyers, more parents sharing the care, more children benefiting from strong relationships with both parents – A success as these things go.

        Yes I understand you want to see more funding for services like you provide and I fully agree with you, desperately needed. However, a presumption of shared parenting is desperately necessary and more important – It sends a message to all that both parents are important.

        It is a mystery still why you are not able to support a presumption of shared parenting in law.

        Please could you point to the link on your website where you detail other legislative changes you have proposed to the government?

        P.S. I agree that the FI, FNF and others probably do not always (or at all) put the case forward for shared parenting well but if they are as bad as you say and you are not backing shared parenting in law when in talks with the government – It aint looking good……. We will have to rely on politicians for real change….

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      • karenwoodall · June 2, 2012

        ss I dont have time to waste jousting with you Chambers, particularly as I have worked out who you are and know that you are not keen on me anyway, perhaps you would like to tell my blog readers what you are talking about then when you talk about presumption and at the same time, you could tell us what you think it will change and how. Over to you. K

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      • Chambers · June 2, 2012

        Well I think this link sets it out pretty well:

        http://www.sharedparenting.org.uk/shared-parenting

        I think the Australian reforms in 2006 were a major step forward for children and parents and I hope we are able to achieve something similar.

        The gains for families were set out by Professor Parkinson recently, this link is especially helpful:

        http://www.eventoddlers.biz.nf/TodProfParkR.html

        I’ve already said a couple of times I think your work is excellent and your posts superb etc. Not sure why you think I don’t like you, I don’t know you but I know of you and it is all top notch feedback. It’s great to have you battling for children and parents. If we ever had a chat I think we’d probably get on quite well I would hope.

        Seems that all we disagree on is the need for a presumption of shared parenting in law, fair enough we are all entitled to our views.

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      • Bobtb007 · June 3, 2012

        Hmm, I’m confused actually
        Shared parenting, 50/50 shared care, presumption of shared care/parenting what does it all mean and more importantly matter when there is a much bigger issue at stake
        I think that the current law makes it perfectly clear that they expect parents to co-operate for the sake of the children. Now where on earth in all that is reasonable should it be put into law that parents should co-operate for the sake of the children?
        That should be a given, so the law is there to make sure maybe just one thing
        To protect the children from a genuinely abusive parent
        But what has happened is that the legislation has been hijacked by unscrupulous patents wishing to abuse the court process for their own navarious means.
        So the courts job should be to get to grips with genuine from false claims and time and again they fail to grasp the nettle, why?
        Are they not intelligent enough to determine genuine from false or do they simply not want to
        Why can’t we simply introduce effective legislation that where it is proven one person has not told the truth sufficient to sway a decision then that person should be made to do unpaid activity on the weekend they do not look after the children, simples. Same for (clear?)breaches of the order
        That would soon put pay to Machiavellian, NPA, BPD type of personalities hijacking the system and leave it clear for the genuine cases to be properly heard and felt with within the current system
        Russ

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  2. Yvie · May 30, 2012

    Have Families Need Fathers been emasculated along with the rest of the dads!

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    • Bobtb007 · June 3, 2012

      FNF have been hijacked by some of the same Machiavellian personalities that exist in the court system

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  3. Paul Stavely · May 30, 2012

    The Fatherhood Institute’s oral evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee enquiry into child maintenance reform, in May 2011, confirms that this latest report represents a consistent view of post separation fathering. These are all quotes from their Chief Executive, Adrienne Burgess.
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmworpen/uc1047-i/uc104701.htm

    “I am very much in favour of a very powerful child support regime that is quite punitive and that actually pursues parents for maintenance.”

    “I think no man is so unimportant that he must not pay child support.”

    [In answer to the question “we were told that the way of making payment was that automatically your earnings or benefits would be attached, are you saying that should be the default position?”]
    “Yes.”

    “I think the terms “parent with care” and “non-resident parent” are absolutely legitimate given the fact that one parent is the primary carer in the benefits and tax system.”

    If I recall correctly, Fathers Direct (as FI used to be known) once claimed that paying child support showed children that, in some primitive way, they are loved by their father….

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    • Bobtb007 · June 2, 2012

      Hi Paul

      The term parent with care (PWC) should be rebadged to reflect the reality – parent with control!

      Let us be under no illusion, for some reason, the “system” wants to give the defacto control of the decision making process “in the best interest of the child” to just one of the two parent and that is the resident parent and that is usually the mother. After that the only way that the NRP can have any “say” is via a court order. Either contact, specific issue, prohibitive steps. Can you hear the language here?
      I say again the ONLY way a NRP has any say (in the face of an uncooperative ex) is by way of court order
      The system prides itself on not being sexually biased, however by default it is, to the PWC who is usually the MOTHER

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  4. rightswithoutresponsibility · May 30, 2012

    “The report is based upon a survey of 295 fathers during 2011″…

    Not worth the paper it is written on then Karen! How can anyone pretend to claim that a survey of approx 0.0000295% (I’ve guessed at 10million fathers in the UK, I suspect theres more) of fathers has any weight whatsoever? Any statistical analysis has to be based on a sensible %age of people and 0.0000295% is not and never will be big enough to provide any meaingful data – in fact its laughable that they have published it based on that number.

    I have a bin next to me now – shall we file it there?

    Pa. Yvie. FNF have sold whatever soul they ever claimed to have for political gain – they are not representative of any fathers I know and they certainly do not speak for me.

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  5. Brian Bastable · May 30, 2012

    I have found FNF a life saver quite literally, in my work i come across absent fathers a lot and im pleased and proud to bring the FnF resources to their attention, nothing is perfect in life….look at our court system!!! but at least this organisation run by volunteer dads helps thousands each year to firstly come to terms with loss, then how to tackle the minefield that is family law…. i will be paying my yearly contribution long after my case is concluded… and will be helping others as i have been helped… thats FNF

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    • karenwoodall · May 30, 2012

      Brian, I know that FNF save lives of fathers, I too come across fathers in my work and I would never call them absent. I am not knocking the dads that rely on FNF and I am not really having a go at FNF, I just wish they would see how much they need to stand up for dads and challenge the negative stereotypes not perpetuate them. K

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  6. Tony · May 30, 2012

    Jane, I am not surprised in the slightest! FNF is now in the hands of one or two individuals, one of whose cv includes heading up a women only rehab program ( I mention this as an illustration of how people who make a living heading up various charities seem to be able to switch ideologies depending on the nature of the next job that comes along!) . Their sole aim now seems to be to utilise the membership as a commodity to hire out to other groups and institutions for financial gain, This ideology was espoused at a regional meeting a little while ago and most if not all present were shell-shocked by the idea. Have the membership of FNF been emasculated? NO have the FNF “top brass” forgotten everything that the membership stands for? It certainly seems that way.
    In response to the nonsense espoused in this report, surely in an age of equality, where both genders should be considered equal, why on earth should it be that, post divorce, one gender is supposed to provide financially for the other. Surely the financial responsibility toward children is a cost burden to be borne by BOTH parents and to back up this warped idea promoted in this report is ludicrous, particularly from a “shared parenting” organisation like FNF.
    Brian many of the volunteer Dad’s firstly would be very upset at the use of the term “absent” for many reasons including that most are enduring a forced absence, however you are right in that a great many of us do provide help and guidance to those on distress, despite the best efforts of those at the “top” of the charity.
    Karen, I read your blog with great interest as your name is often linked to clear thinking, common sense rationale regarding what can be a very emotive subject and I have found this to be true. Thank you on behalf of me, my two children with whom I have recovered a hugely strong relationship with after all attempts to remove that relationship were thwarted by sensible, level headed thinking backed up by a no nonsense judge, a strong will and good advice and the children’s amazing stepmum.

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    • Brian Bastable · May 30, 2012

      Tony, I use the term absent loosely, what I mean by that is non resident parent…. I have seen my child for just 8 hrs in the last 4 months, progress is slowly being made but in her eyes and mind I am absent that’s all I’m saying

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  7. stephen callard · May 30, 2012

    Just typicality obvious. i now hate being a man end of! its pointless fighting a society that hate us. all i wanted was to give my children what i didn’t have. but now with the cafcass hell bent on destroying whats left of my relationship with my daughter i can see only one option, i got emotional in one phone call to her and was accused of being abusive, i have not hared from my daughter since more than three weeks ago :~( . i sent a freedom of information act application to the council to get the info on what SS was doing to help my daughter back on the strait and narrow. but she rang me to say she needed to send my daughter a permission request form out to her and this is protocol for any child over 14 years of age, so i said to send her the request.
    The mother intercepted this mail and then took it to cafcass and then court, upon hearing of this the judge John Wharton of my long standing case plus the guardian and the mother believed this to be concerning for a child under the age of16 to receive such a letter asking for release of personal info for her dad. this is just an excuse to belittle me as i know my daughter would not of minded at all for me to have such info about her and how she is doing. i’m just concerned for her future as she’s been getting into trouble with the police. what i am shocked about is the cafcass guardian rang the council to ask why a letter was sent to my daughter? and because she was told it was protocol the guardian used her solicitor to write to the council outlining the inappropriateness and to pass the letter to her Authorities who make such decisions and to rethink the protocol.

    when i received the solicitors letter i rang the council to ask about it and she said in all the years she has been doing the job not once has she ever been approached by a solicitor who is saying this way of handling information requests are highly inappropriate. and as such she will have to look into it before she processes the application. However the judge did make it clear i was entitled to such information in any event as i hold PR for the children. what i don’t feel is good is i have not heard from my daughter since the phone call so rang cafcass and chatted to her and she assured our contact was still going to happen as my daughter was adamant she wishes to see me. but between then and the info request was only about a week, i’m of the notion i have upset the guardian and so she is actively working against me. and what i fear is the mother saying things to my daughter to make it look like bad for trying to get info on her and i dont really want to ring cafcass as i don’t trust her at all as she openly acknowledged that my son has been alienated against me and if this is a result of brainwashing why does she not do what is best for the children instead of continually polarizing the family more, i know its all about the money but its my children i care about not money and no one cares this i’m sure of.

    i’m all out of hope i feel so close to the end now! if i don’t get to see my daughter then there really isn’t anything left for me

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    • karenwoodall · May 30, 2012

      Stephen, do not give up on living, do not give up on yourself, do not give up on your daughter, you are not on your own. Please keep yourself going, there are people who understand and believe what is happening to you, you are suffering in so many ways, do not ever, ever, ever give up. You are worth too much to do so. Keep in touch, we will do whatever we can to support you. K

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      • Brian Bastable · May 30, 2012

        Steven listen to Karen, you are not alone and as my good friend warned me before I embarked on this journey “it’s more Painfull than divorce mate” well that is true but with lots of little steps come great leaps, get on the FnF website, meet the parents close to you and lean on them for support, I did and now I’m strong enough to offer that support to others. It will come good in the end bud

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  8. Chris Welles · May 30, 2012

    FNF = Fake Charity

    It become blatant after joining. I did not renew my membership.

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    • Caroline · May 30, 2012

      It’s a pity your experience wasn’t good Chris. We wouldn’t have a relationship with my husband’s children if it wasn’t for FNF, so we are eternally grateful for the extraordinary support that this tiny charity has given us. FNF is a long way from perfect, but it continues to be a lifeline to parents denied access to their children who otherwise would have nowhere to turn.

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      • Chris Welles · May 31, 2012

        Caroline, I’m very pleased for you and your family.

        However, remaining pertinent to Karen’s post, Families Need Fathers are a Fake Charity pulling their punches in accordance with the level of funding they receive from the Government. The very Government that upholds the whole abusive industry.

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  9. el dermo · May 30, 2012

    why buy in overseas parenting programs when we can develop them here? if we are going to copy the best practice for our children post separation why not copy Norway where there is a default assumption of contact post separation and where equality and co-parenting is encouraged?

    unsurprisingly their stats for loss of contact between fathers and children or absent parents as my ex gleefully terms it (shes a children s social worker) are lower that ga ga jubilee land.

    as for ” the mysterious drop in working hours after a separation and ruminates upon whether this due to father’s trying to balance work commitments with parenting arrangements.” i nearly choked on my Cohiba!

    The reality is that a significant number of post separation dads face a future of poverty and the realization that that their relationships with their children lie at the mercy of the family law circus and ex partners who love nothing more than using their children as baseball bats irrespective of the emotional damage it will do to the children they love.
    If you throw in the cultural ethos which ignores the fact that many men are subject to emotional and physical abuse and meet indifference and humiliation if they dare open their mouths on the subject then perhaps we might get to the reality of the loss in productivity in the workplace instead of ludicrous platitudes and “research” worthy of the finest primary school project (come on kids lets look at absent parents?) .

    fnf have been a godsend for me and many like me. jumping into bed with the village postmistress may get your letters delivered on time but your only going to get junk mail in your letter box?

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  10. Liam · May 30, 2012

    FNF has some dedicated people helping parents through the branches and volunteer network but is run by a self serving group of despots more concerned with protecting the funding that supports their own admin jobs than promoting any real change.
    All the experienced and intelligent voices have been silenced and the pathetic excuse for a forum that is left has more moderators (none of whom could address an envelope, never mind a court) than posters with most of the long term contributors banned A number of branches that provided support to many parents have been removed from their lists because they refused to give up on the core objectives of the charity which have become an inconvenience to the paid leadership. Their behaviour would shame a 3rd world dictatorship.
    The sooner they disappear the better and their pathetic contributions to this report will be of little surprise to anyone who has had any dealings with them.
    They have become an embarrassment and a hindrance to fathers and the laughing stock of the third sector.
    They would be better saying nothing.

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    • Paul · May 31, 2012

      I would endorse your comments about FNF, Liam. To members who joined for help with their personal situations, the value offered by FNF stemmed wholly from its local branch meetings, staffed by volunteers and its busy advice forum. However, a tension sprang up between, on the one hand, many of the experienced branch volunteers and, on the other, the organisation leadership, which is fulltime, employed and wanted to stay that way. Rather than build on the traditional strengths of the group, its branches, the leadership pursued a policy of self-aggrandisment, preferring to rub shoulders with high court judges in the back of taxis, in a vain and deluded belief they were influencing changes in the law. Norgrove, however, had other ideas and spat in their faces. As a campaigning oprganisation, FNF had long lost its way, punching well below its potential collective weight. The FNF contribution to the Norgrove review of family law was particularly lame in my view. The FNF staff used their levers of control to try and silence these volunteers. As an active contributor to the forum, I was amazed to find myself one of those banned, purely for speaking out on policy matters that displeased the leadership. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that its contributions to policy development have now sunk to the level described by Karen above. The worry to me is that FNF is the official voice for fathers on the minister’s group of experts who are looking at legislative changes to the Children Act. Nice to know we’re in such a safe pair of hands. The next thing we’ll get is their ringing endorsement of changes in the law to promote better contact for fathers but ‘only where it’s safe and in the interests of the child to do so’.

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      • Bobtb007 · June 1, 2012

        Hi there if you want more low down get this

        The CEO was subject to three separate complaints following to his squaring up to one of the members at the AGM. The complaints have yet to be correctly addressed. The CEO in my opinion acted in a way that was tantount to gross misconduct
        That he is still in office is outrageous
        There are no properly elected trustees the whole organisation is in a mess it is now running under the guidance of the CEO. There is no properly elected national council
        Where is the money going?
        I have also been censured by one of the moderators for daring to stand up I am currently having my posts moderated on some trumped up reason. My complaints have been ignored and guess what?
        Same CEO has told me that my complaint needs to be addressed through him and he is refusing to let me know who the Trustees of the national council is!

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      • Bobtb007 · June 2, 2012

        I am a (4 year) member of FNF. Having been involved with the court system for some 5 years now and having helped many people (mostly dads) I have been most active posting on the forums.

        As above, I have also experienced a change in FNF that I am not happy with. It it moving away from its traditional “dual” role of firstly “first line defence or first aid” for parents wishing to come to terms with the saystem they have (unwittingly) entered into and secondly being a quasi political lobbying group engaged in the struggle to get the system changed to a fairer and more equitable point of balance.

        It now seems to dance to the paymasters tune and aligns itself (as per Karen’s post) with other groups more driven to keep the status quo!!!

        This cannot be right what is going on with FNF?

        Actually I do know but this is not the pace to do it, suffice to say that the charity is being hijacked by one or two people intent on unraveling all the good work FNF have put forward in years gone by.

        Have they been taken over by the womens groups?

        Love you posts Karen, do you have any forums that I could help out on?

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  11. hobosinfrance · May 30, 2012

    I’m nothing short of appalled at the report, what a waste of time and money!

    The report states, “These figures represent enormous costs to the State and to employers.” Having your heart ripped out doesn’t exactly leave any parent in the right frame of mind to consider the State and an employer!

    Re fathers seeking information, referrals, support from schools. The report states that schools’ potential for providing information had “…not previously been identified.” Why not? Specific members of staff in all schools receive training (provided by the Government!) in supporting and signposting separating/separated parents; that is considered to be in the best interests of children. This has been the case for at least 10 years.

    Kindest regards

    Like

  12. el dermo · May 30, 2012

    love the bit about the mysterious drop in working hours after a separation and whether this due to father’s trying to balance work commitments with parenting arrangements .i wish!!!

    this should read-

    you leave her. she will decide contact. you will pay for mediation if you don’t agree.

    your mediator is the chair of the local womens aid center and a solicitor with a leading and expensive law firm. when you inform her in your pre mediation session that you had to ask for (she has already seen your ex alone) that you were subject to domestic violence she will ask you “did you have any physical injuries?

    you will then enter a circus where you will have to justify your relationship with your children in front of a public school educated judgeperson whose siblings are a vicar and an officer in the scots guards. and who was brought up by a nanny until he went to a private boarding school. hes not a bad man. he can see your a decent sort.. he has heard of parental alienation but gets it confused with his teenage sons school rock band at times. you suspect that he may be a Freemason and wish that you has considered this pre court
    He does however have an old catholic surname (famine Irish?) so hedge your bets and play the “i don’t see them on Sunday so how can they go to mass card?”
    your losing your grip on reality.

    He will be ably assisted by a failed probation officer who even though she has worked within family law for decades and is quite frankly bored with it would not know parental alienation if it walked up to her and daubed PA on her forehead with bright red luminous lipstick.She will mutter at various times during proceedings that mum is angry and look tearfully at your ex as you will and lets face it she looks so vulnerable and alone in the court. you will want to hug your ex too. Just because she took you off your sons facebook and didn’t tell you that he collapsed in a local shop and had to be taken to A and E does not mean that shes putting her needs first.

    The CAFCASS lady? she will become shewolf albeit at a later stage. (you know little of wishes and feelings at this stage)..

    equally although your ex ends up with rupert murdochs son you will continue to pay a large chunk of your income towards their care. oh yeah and by the way theres a good chance that you wont see them anyway because your kids have made an informed choice at the age of twelve that that should be the way forward.

    your work productivity will continue to be good..

    Like

    • Paul · May 31, 2012

      Genius, sheer genius!

      Like

  13. Paul Welsh · May 31, 2012

    if motheres dont want there kids fathers 2 see them and for them 2 fight through court no fathere should be forced 2 pay 4 there kids unless thy aggree 2 pay 4 them its fathers who dont wana see there kids who should pay 4 there kids the 1s who go around sleeping around and not taking care its them who should be punished , not fatheres who wana see there kids get punished like we r the system is wrong , 4 excample if i didnt wana see my child when he was first born i would of probly been forced 2 see my child but cos fatheres wana see there kids thy get stoped

    Like

  14. excludedfather · May 31, 2012

    It seems to be a report that is poor both in concept and in execution. As has been said, one knows what to expect from FI but hopefully FNF’s involvement will at least serve some useful purpose as they have made it abundantly clear that they are the Judas Iscariot of childrens’ rights. Shame indeed.

    Like

  15. StuG · May 31, 2012

    Any dialogue supporting the ethos that separated dads should support the sole resident mother’s choice of lifestyle betrays the campaign for change. From what I hear, FNF are useful at guiding helpless and lawyer-fleeced litigants through the non-system; they are affectionately known as the ‘field hospital’ where dads can learn to be effective victims. Whilst that could be construed as criticism, it is actually a realistic and pragmatic doctrine to adopt. Kow-towing and ‘Playing the Game’, however demeaning, perverse and sickening it is, helps in more cases than not. But far more has to be done, and should have been done, by FNF to change the Game. In this respect, I have bitterly been disappointed at the performances of seniors at Parliamentary debates. I saw one where their leader quoted only one piece of pro-father research that was already more than ten years old. With such a large membership and involvement, they should have been spending money on their own research, not least on mental health, suicides, costs, outcomes etc. They were the first to refuse to cooperate with other groups soon after they received funding and effectively stopped public campaigning. I was out with one of the founders of FNF not long ago and he informed me the only reason they got funding was because their early intellectual militancy was severely embarrassing the government of the day. Upon receiving the conditional funding the group changed tack, lost (or jettisoned) the best brains and became servile to their new paymasters in return for a token seat at the table. So you have a paradox; catering as well as could be for the victims at the lower end whilst not doing much to change their lot at the top. The organisation is carried by the mid management, most of whom are exemplary in both deed and character.

    Sole residency is desired because desperate mothers want the financial rewards and the autonomy. But too many demonstrate they are unfit to carry the elevated status and responsibility the law entrusts them with and socio-legal professionals are corrupt in encouraging the aberrant maternal behaviours we see all too often. It is all an awful social construction in a universal policy of deliberated structural violence against families:(http://academic.marion.ohio-state.edu/dchristie/Peace%20Psychology%20Book_files/Section%20II%20-%20Structural%20Violence%20%28Winter%20%26%20Leighton%29.pdf).

    A reader mentioned Norway above. The real reasons Scandinavian countries succeed in this area is that they never had the same financial reward system for anti-social behaviours. Mothers are expected to share parenting so they can work. Employers facilitate week on week off arrangements. Some parts of Scandinavia would not understand what a contact dispute is unless it is the mother suing for father to be more involved. I understand the Coalition is removing benefits for mothers once the child reaches eight years. So the second reason is that, whilst Scandinavian women are historically equal to men in culture, they never really embraced feminist or, perhaps because of their proximity to the USSR, Marxist policies, and cannot be fooled otherwise.

    Like

  16. Wanderer · May 31, 2012

    Of course FNF has it’s faults. Show me an organisation that doesn’t. I’m a member. Am I happy with everything? No – by a long way.

    On the other hand…without the support and help provided by many people in it my son would not have me in his life at all. The charity has been a lifeline to me. I would have given up without it. A long time ago.

    Not happy with FNF people? Join, play a part and remake it in a model that sits with your conviction. It’s too easy to carp, complain about what `someone’ (which usually means `someone else’ should be doing.

    It’s a big job. The more people we have, the quicker things get sorted. It wasn’t long ago that Erin Pizzey said that men’s organisations have an amazing capacity to fight themselves to a standstill and achieve precisely nothing: A lot of the negative comments here prove that point.

    If the charity needs improving…DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Presumably you’re angry because it’s your fight. Identifying our problems and weaknesses is actually a strength and something we can address.

    Constant complaining though? What’s the point?

    Like

    • Elvis · May 31, 2012

      I agree that FNF, particularly through the online forum and local meetings, is a very good place to join to get support and advice – although too often the advice given on the forum is well-meaning but not necessarily of particularly good quality.

      I also agree that FNF seems to have completely sold out and the people at the top either aren’t bothered about campaigning for shared parenting or just aren’t up to the job.

      If you need somewhere to go for advice and support for your own case, go to FNF, your no1 priority has to be your own case and your child. But if you’re interested in change FNF isn’t the place to be at the moment – try to change it from the inside as Wanderer suggests and you’ll very quickly get banned/ thrown out, presumably for posing a threat to their income.

      Like

    • Chris Welles · May 31, 2012

      Wanderer, paragraph 3 of your post has no relevance to such a Fake Charity as Families Need Fathers.

      The upper echolons have no appetite for change.

      The financial carrot dictates who or what FNF stands for. Sadly, points within Karen’s post is an example of this.

      Like

    • Bobtb007 · June 2, 2012

      Wanderer
      You say DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?
      Well I have tried and the charity have attempted to shut me and others up
      You are most disengenuos and have the temerity to post on this blog hoping to support the charity that on the forums you moderate upon.
      I understand FNF via the forums and meeting give very good front line help to parents wishing to understand their position, I myself go to the meetings, help on the forums and via my Mckenzie role, help mostly dads second line and in more detail than can be published in a forum environment.
      I have been a member of 4 years and have seen first hand what has gone on. I saw how some members wishing to stand as trustees were sidelined by the hierarchy of fnf, so don’t tell us to do something about it we have

      Like

  17. Bartholomew · May 31, 2012

    Speaking of charities, they seem to come into existence with very noble intentions, but soon thereafter lose their way…

    Consider Women’s Aid. It now exists in large part to spread the untruth that all men are inherently violent, psychologically and sexually deviant, and that all women are victims. The bigger the lie, the better, naturally. It does this with the express aim of attracting more funding, of duping the government and the taxpayer, of putting their back up against the wall with the tacit threat that there will be hell to pay in terms of votes if “women and children” are not protected. To this end, WA is especially good at preying on separating women, just as the solicitor firms who refer them to WA are. Both stand to gain financially, and generously, the better the statistics are.

    Then there is FNF. A much more respectable institution, with very little funding in comparison. But there is not much of a raison d’etre for it once the status quo changes. It is a great source of help for the thousands of dads out there who are forced to step through the seven circles of hell just to see their children twice a month; but perfectly spineless in its politics.

    Like

  18. karenwoodall · June 1, 2012

    What I find interesting is this. CSF is funded by government, not very much, but enough to put us around the policy tables. That funding hasn’t changed our policy stance on jot, we still speak with the same tongue and we still say the same things that we have always said. We don’t aim to be liked in the third sector (and are not well liked as you can imagine), we aim to do a job and that is to represent the families whose lives have been utterly crucified by outdated and discriminatory legislation and show the government that there is a different way. And there is a different way. Our work with families demonstrates that different way, our therapeutic services offer mothers and fathers the holistic support that can guide them through the worst of their separation and out to the other side. Our training offers early years workers a new way of thinking about family separation, one that isn’t about bad dads and good mums but about children and how much they need both of their parents to get through what is happening to them and beyond. Our work on high conflict cases has built a reputation, not for being dad focused but for being child focused and helping both parents to understand the need for a child to have two parents working together. And finally our work on PA has begun to be accepted as an important contribution to treatment routes for intractable cases. And all of this is because our work is underpinned by gender analysis. This is not about one parent good, the other parent bad, this is about equality of opportunity and the child’s right to have a strong and enduring relationship with both parents throughout life.

    In flagging all of this up to government we are explicit in our critique of current policies and as part of that strategy we would never, ever, put our name to anything that perpetuated stereotypes about fathering. This is because we know that in a gender analysis, fatherhood is in a powerless position in relation to family separation, it is not merely difficult for fathers to maintain their relationships, it is, in many cases, impossible to do so because of the barriers that are put in their way. Barriers that are created and maintained by attitudes set out in this report.

    Government funding should not require silence on the matters that the people you represent are struggling with everyday.

    And if it is about being liked by others in the third sector, its not doing your job properly. K

    Like

  19. Bartholomew · June 1, 2012

    Well, it is very encouraging, Karen, to hear you say that your work is underpinned by gender analysis.

    This is what FNF and the FI (which as you rightly point out is doing squat diddle to challenge the lies and cliches) are incapable of understanding, because they are effectively managed by the same conservative mindset that rules the judiciary, and which has caused all the problems in the first place. What is more, FNF’s reputation is tainted by some members who for some reason think that feminism is some monolithic monster, and that feminism rather than exploitative and abusive free market economics is the problem; all this does is make it an embarrassment in political circles, and a charity with no clout. Several of its own members have tried to move it in a healthier direction, but have been stamped on.

    I also agree with you that government funding should be in direct proportion to the manner in which a charity challenges injustice and stereotypes.

    Like

  20. karenwoodall · June 1, 2012

    Message for bobbt007:

    I don’t normally moderate comments but I can’t publish yours because its a matter that could get me/you into a claim for defamation and I don’t want that. I can see how difficult it is and I really do hope that it gets resolved because fathers voices are vital in the struggle ahead of us. Best wishes Karen

    Like

    • Bobtb007 · June 1, 2012

      I understand and graciously accept your decision.

      Like

      • Bobtb007 · June 1, 2012

        I appologise for allowing my frustrations to get the better of me. I did not wish that my comments would cause you trouble, I trust however that, reading between the lines (lol) I am not best pleased with fnf hierarchy atm
        I am a Mckenzie friend and my approach is to help dads try and understand why their ex’s are doing what they do and how they can better cope with their situation. My approach is not based on the law but on understanding. With understanding comes acceptance, with acceptance comes a better way of coping with matters, with coping comes hope, with hope comes belief and with belief comes confidence and with confidence comes a virtuous circle of that the future can be better and can be influenced
        That a man does not have to surrender his masculinity in order to fight for his children but can do so in a much more subtle and effective way, and in a way that fits his self image and makes him a worthy person to step forward to the plate and empowers him to be there for his children
        Russ

        Like

  21. karenwoodall · June 1, 2012

    Oh how I agree with you Russ, that a man does not have to surrender his masculinity in order to be a father and to fight for his and his children’s right to have that masculinity in their lives. K

    Like

  22. Jenny · June 2, 2012

    Wanderer, the greatest problem with FNF is that they don’t allow any discussion and will not tolerate those who disagree with what’s stated by the NC and particularly the CEO. I think CSF have one major advantage over FNF. It is being run by the very people who understand what is going on and have personal and direct experience themselves. FNF on the other hand, has been run since being funded by government by CEOs who don’t come at the job with first hand experience related to the exclusion of fathers. The NC, of which I was part for a number of years, forced out many of us with real experience of the problems fathers (mostly) face because our faces no longer fitted. We are now left with an NC who do not communicate at all with the membership, and another CEO who hasn’t come at it through experience but as a job. What can I do? I do all I can at a local level, and wish I had the time and energy to do more. But FNF worked better before the funding imho. Nine years ago, the membership were the charity with disagreements certainly, but we felt part of a whole. Now we are disconnected from each other and that is very sad. But I do agree. FNF was a lifeline and for that I shall always be grateful.

    Like

  23. Liam · June 2, 2012

    Karen,

    I think that fathers are very fortunate to have such an articulate voice as your own and those of us who understand that the so-called “presumption of shared parenting” will amount to little or nothing of consequence are also glad to support an advocate who understands the underlying issues and is able to address them with the insight and precision so lacking from FNF and the couple of trolls like Chambers they dispatch around various legal websites, mindlessly (and laughably) attacking anyone who points out the obvious.
    What they fail or refuse to grasp is that, in over twenty years of the CA and a substantive body of case law supporting the involvement of both parents, there is an ocean of failure on the part of any number of services and agencies to move away from a single parent paradigm and, until that changes, nothing of any real consequence will change in terms of outcomes for the parents of separated children.
    Australia is not a good comparison; what may (or may not, depending on who you listen to) have worked there will not necessarily work in the UK. Australia is a young country with different societal norms and values; it was subject, prior to the current legislation, to a much older Family Law Act from the seventies; it invested hugely in support services and education; has a different benefits system, different employment law and a host of other differences, which would give FNF a migraine to contemplate.
    Much easier to repeat a mantra like “shared parenting” over and over again with the mindless repetitiveness of masturbating idiots. They have achieved nothing in their entire history and never will because they jettisoned anyone capable of grasping the nettle and recognising what needs doing.
    Keep up the good work and don’t be intimidated by these no-hopers. I’m sure there are plenty within the rank and file members of FNF who salute your work.

    Like

  24. Jane Jackson · June 4, 2012

    Everyone has their point of view of equal value.
    I am preaching to the converted when I say, the important people in all of this heartbreak is the children. Children who find themselves caught up in adult conflict of which they have no control.
    A generation of children not being allowed the love and care of both parents and extended family.
    As far as support/charities is concerned, it is at local level groups run by volunteers that are doing what support groups do best, supporting.
    When an organisation gets too big, it needs to get funding and to employ staff, very often, in my experience,losing the real reasons that they were set up for. No longer run by people who know through their own experience exactly what being denied contact is like.
    Which is why my grandparents support group is independent which enables me to say what I like to whom I like without fear of not towing any particular political line.
    The buck stops with me!
    Jane

    Like

  25. Paul · June 6, 2012

    I don’t see the big distinction between Gardner’s definition of the Parental Alienation Syndrome and the reformulated definitions so beloved of researcher’s today. In both cases, and as Gardner himself took pains to point out in responding to these politically-palatable redefinition of the ‘alienated child’, in all cases it still takes an alienating parent to set the condition off, no matter what the contribution of the other parent may be. In other words, parental alienation is real. If the parent doesn’t alienate then you don’t get an alienated child. He was also arguably correct in sticking to his theory that as a cluster of symptoms typify the condition, which no researcher today would disagree with, then his use of the term ‘syndrome’ to describe the condition is both medically accurate and appropriate.

    Like

  26. StuG · August 16, 2012

    “I would like to leave some comments re: your 30/05/2011 post. Firstly, the ”10% of parents” mantra appears everywhere and if I ask you the source you will probably reply it is from the ONS Omnibus series (though many commentators appear unaware of this). However, this 2004 sample is small and flawed. If the 10% has another source I would appreciate knowing of it as the claim does not square with the amount of custody court orders issued (90,000 in the years 2002 and 2004).
    Secondly, the Nuffield report states that there is no \’empirical evidence\’ that shared parenting improves outcomes for children (apparently Bauserman is unknown to them and the 2004 Swedish survey of 950,000 children – see the Lancet – is also unknown to them along with Warren Farrell\’s 2001 book).
    Could it be that since shared residence and parenting orders are in effect illegal in Britain since the Children Act 1989 there is nothing to measure so there will be no empirical evidence of the kind they allude to ?
    Some commentators may not even be aware of the pre-1989 scenario where in the court circuits in the South and Midlands ”joint custody orders” (as they were known then) totalled some 30% to 50% of all orders issued by courts – depending on the court\’s area.
    You will note in the official statistics that ’contact’, ’residence and ’no order’ orders are recorded but no column exists for ’shared residence’ orders also allowed by the 1989 Act. This, one suspects, is because none have been given.”

    Like

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