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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-04755: Ross Thomson (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 17 November 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to (a) protect fathers' rights and (b) promote a greater recognition of shared parenting.

Answered by: Annabelle Ewing 30 November 2016

The Scottish Government believes that both parents should be fully involved in their child's upbringing as long as that is in the interests of their child.

Our National Parenting Strategy included several commitments to support fathers. To deliver on these commitments, we work in partnership with a wide range of organisations who support dads. This includes jointly chairing the National Fathers Advisory board, bringing together around 20 organisations to shape policy, share knowledge and collaborate on work.

The current key policy activity is "Year of the Dad", a national campaign running throughout 2016. Year of the Dad celebrates the difference a great dad can make, in particular to child development. Fathers Network Scotland is leading the campaign, with Scottish Government support and funding. We are supporting the campaign because we know that involved dads benefit children and families, and because the campaign fits with the Scottish Government's aims around equality and fairness.

Where parents can't agree, they can ask the court to decide matters. The court's paramount consideration is the welfare of the child.

We intend to review the law in this area - the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 - to ensure the interests of children and their need to form and maintain relationships with key adults in their lives – parents, step-parents, grandparents and other family members – are at the heart of any new statutory measures.