Rob Williams joins Fatherhood Institute as Chief Executive

13 May 2009

Former Deputy Children’s Commissioner for England to lead UK fatherhood think tank

‘Helping fathers to connect with their children is one of the best ways to improve their experience of childhood’, said Rob Williams, who is returning to work after seven months spent looking after his children at home to become new Chief Executive of the Fatherhood Institute this month.

‘I know from my own experience the difficulties of balancing the twin demands of work and fatherhood. And yet research carried out by the Fatherhood Institute and others shows how important it is to get this right – children benefit greatly when they have close, positive relationships with their fathers’.

‘I stood down from my role as Deputy Children’s Commissioner last year in order to reconnect with my own family and look for a more balanced life. My new role at the Fatherhood Institute, where everyone works from home, will allow me to do that.’

About the Institute

The Fatherhood Institute collates and publishes international research on fatherhood and offers Government and local authorities’ advice about policies and services which support father-child relationships and enable families to share childcare more equally.

Previous Chief Executive, Duncan Fisher, was a co-founder of the Institute; previously known Fathers Direct, and led the organisation from 1999 to February 2009. Two of his co-founders continue as senior members of the Institute: David Bartlett as Deputy Chief Executive and Adrienne Burgess as Director of Research.

Rob Williams said; ‘This is a very exciting time to join the Fatherhood Institute, as more fathers look for ways to increase their engagement with their children, and benefit from increasing government interest in making this possible. For example, the Government’s new child health strategy, published in February, recognised strong evidence that early involvement of fathers has significant benefits for children’s social, emotional and intellectual development and wellbeing.

As a result, the strategy provides for fathers to be included in the health check reviews that are currently only carried out with mothers, and selected PCTs will pilot a new Antenatal Education and Preparation for Parenthood Programme which will emphasise including fathers.’

‘As interest grows in improving the outcomes of children growing up in the UK, I look forward to leading the Fatherhood Institute as it continues to further understanding and influence policies to give fathers and mothers the best chance of fulfilling their vital roles as parents.’

One Comment »

  • simon says:

    I watched Mr Williams on the news yesterday. I was extremely impressed by his commonsense approach to this topic. At last, an educated person who can stand up to the nitwit pronouncements of the current PM (see also Mr Cs previous remarks about rape, for example); who doesn’t lose his temper, and who doesn’t feel the need to dress up in a Batman outfit and dangle from Tower Bridge to make his point.

    After my divorce I found love again some 125 miles away from where my children live. As Mr Williams said in his piece, the law in the UK is entirely biased towards the mother, and my children were required to live with their mother. In order to stay in touch with them I had to drive 250 miles there and back on Friday evenings, and then again on Sundays to take them home. I did that for almost four years until they were old enough to take the train (which I still have to pay for.)

    Despite approaching my MP for help I was told that I could have either the cost of the fuel (but not motoring expenses), or I could claim a reduction in the maintenance equal to the one night in seven that they lived with me – but not both. Even though I incurred both costs. The tax people declined to allow these costs to be tax-deductible, bless them.

    You were right with your comments – it is no surprise that many, many fathers lose all contact with their children.

    You might like to know that it was my wife who had the affair, and insisted on the divorce. Because we have a ‘no fault’ system in the UK, it was she who had all the fun, and me who has had to do all the paying for it. Also, that when I lived with my children I was a very involved parent: as well as being the major breadwinner I did all the Brownies/Guides stuff, the football on Saturday mornings, the swimming on Tuesday nights, the tae-kwon-do on Saturday afternoons, helping with reading at schools, etc etc etc. No-one wants to know about that in the courtroom, though.

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