FATHERS DIRECT RESPONSE TO GOVERNMENT GREEN PAPER ON BIRTH REGISTRATION

26 June 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fathers Direct hails “groundbreaking” government paper on Birth Registration

But debate must not move on to punishing mothers, warns charity

Fathers Direct, the national information on fatherhood, today welcomed the government’s Green Paper on Birth Registration, and categorically rejected previous claims that such proposals mean ‘punishing’ mothers.

Duncan Fisher, Chief Executive of Fathers Direct said:

“This Green Paper is groundbreaking – it marks a major step in defining the responsibilities of fathers as strongly as we define the responsibilities of mothers.”

He continued:

“The need to do more to engage with young fathers, who make up such a large proportion of the fathers who do not sign the birth certificate, is particularly welcome, given how much they are currently excluded around the birth of a baby.

“Also welcome is the proposal to make registration a bigger event, with good information and access to support for parents who want it. This needs real Government commitment and investment.”

But the organisation was keen to stress that the proposals should not be interpreted as forcing mothers to register fathers, and therefore punishing them if they do not.

Duncan Fisher said:

“Fathers Direct categorically rejects previous suggestions that mothers should be punished for not declaring who the father is. This discussion has been a major distraction from the real issues of defending the child’s rights and welfare. Ultimately, it’s the child’s rights and welfare that have to be at the heart of any law-change.”

Fathers Direct today publish its pamphlet: ‘Birth registration and Parental Responsibility: proposals for changing the law’, outlining its full response to the government’s proposals.

Ends.

To request a copy of the Fathers Direct pamphlet ‘Birth registration and Parental Responsibility: proposals for changing the law’ and to arrange interviews with Duncan Fisher, please contact Melissa Milner 020 7793 4035 melissa@dhacommunications.co.uk

The pamphlet is also available on the Fathers Direct website

Key facts:

• 18% of unmarried fathers do not sign the birth certificate in the UK, which is 7% of all fathers.
• This means just under 45,000 children each year in the UK have no registered father at birth. In Australia, the rate of mother-only birth registrations is half that in UK – so we know there is room for change.



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