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Parents That Have Left Children When They Are Young


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Hi,

I have been on a lot of home visits and one of the questions I have been asked is, Does the dad still have parental rights even though he hasnt lived with them for the last 2 years?

The child is 3 years old now.Please help

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I had a similar discussion with my Kitemark mentor the other day and all I can say is not sure, but I am going to contact the PLA legal office for advice so will let you know when I do.

 

Peggy

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Its all just a bit confusing. What i can not understand is surely as long as there is not any underlying reason for them not to have contact they should have the same rights as any parent whether living with them or not. Especially if they see the child on a regular basis.

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I with Sue here, if not married, father has no rights, unless put in place by courts. If married, father has parental responsibility again unless otherwise is put in place by courts. I guess this parent has asked the question for a reason? It may be worth trying to find out if there is any anymosity between the parents so that you can be prewarned if there is likly to be any unpleasantness.

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I was going to post my thoughts that I the issue of being named on the child's birth certifcate

was very relevant but then doubted myself! A quick check on the children's legal centre website revealed this:

 

 

Q. Who has parental responsibility?

 

A. Mothers automatically have parental responsibility.

 

Married fathers automatically have parental responsibility and do not lose it, even on divorce.

 

Unmarried fathers do not have automatic parental responsibility, but may obtain it by:

 

marrying the mother;

having their name registered or re-registered on the birth certificate (see below);

making a parental responsibility agreement with the mother;

obtaining a parental Responsibility Order from the court;

obtaining a residence order from the court; or

becoming the child's guardian.

 

Unmarried fathers will, after December 2003, have automatic parental responsibility for their children if they have registered as the father [Children Act 1989, s. 4 and Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953, s. 10]. If a child was born before 2003, and the father was not named on the birth certificate, that child can be re-registered and the father named. Once this has been done, the father will automatically have parental responsibility.

Registration or re-registration requires both mother and father to be physically present at the registry office and sign the birth register. If one party cannot attend, they must complete and sign a Statutory Declaration confirming their absence. A Statutory Declaration is a formal document that must be signed by a commissioner, a solicitor or the courts.

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I was under the impression that unless there was a court order or other legal reason in place, then an estranged parent still had parental rights. Obviously previous posters have clarified the unmarried father side of things. It has always been one of the grey and difficult areas, hasn't it?

 

I would ensure that you have watertight policies in place for collection/release of children. As Mundia has pointed out, the parent has asked this question for a reason and you need to make sure that you have appropriate paperwork in place to support the mother,the father (should he turn up) and the staff if a situation should arise.

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thanks for that Geraldine I have a lot of mums with no dads in sight. it was some thing we were going to look into as it has always been a grey area. I always thought that if they were on the birth certificate they had equal rights unless a court stated otherwise. I tell mothers that unless they give me permission no one takes the child but them. have been in some really difficult situations when it comes to who is allowed to take the children.

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thanks for that Geraldine I have a lot of mums with no dads in sight. it was some thing we were going to look into as it has always been a grey area. I always thought that if they were on the birth certificate they had equal rights unless a court stated otherwise. I tell mothers that unless they give me permission no one takes the child but them. have been in some really difficult situations when it comes to who is allowed to take the children.

 

 

 

I'm not sure that if the father has parental right that you could refuse him permission to take his child, even though mother doesn't give permission. :oxD

 

Peggy

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Peggy is right. If the father has parental responsibility (present at registration and named on the birth certificate after 2003). The mother cannot just say she doesn't want the father to collect the child unless she has a legal document stating that he is not allowed to (in cases of possible violence or removal from this country etc.) It is worth noting that such a legal document would also have a specific time frame attached to it, so it should be date checked.

 

However, if we as carers of a child, felt that they were in danger if we released them into the care of a certain individual, whether or not they have parental responsibility, we are morally right in not doing so.

 

Monica

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We had a family 2 years ago, who had split. Parentage of Dad wasnt questioned although all his children were born before Dec 03. Mom asked that we didnt let Dad collect the daughter nor should we tell him anything about her. Then I got a letter through the post from his solicitor asking whether the child was in playgroup on a particular day. She was, but mom was saying that the child had witnessed domestic violence on that morning, when clearly she'd been with us. I had a dilemma, tell the solicitor or not. I spoke to Ofsted who didnt know what I should do and the PLA who said I couldnt tell. Well in the end I told, mom was absolutley telling a fib or was mistaken in her dates. Dad (who I knew very slightly from outside playgroup was a really horrible man,) wasnt been treated fairly. PLA said I shouldnt have done it but I couldnt have let mom tell a lie in court either and thats where this information was for. Be careful how you write your policy, be careful that you get all sides of the story and ask for as much advice from as many people as you can. My deputy supported the decision but one of the assistants clearly thought I'd broken the rules. Whatever, I couldnt live with myself if I'd lied. :)

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Can't believe this topic has come up - only today we had a hand written note from mum, passed to us by grandma (maternal side) stating that child should not go with father if he turns up to collect him. Parents married, I assumed father still has access? (not that we've ever seen him) - has anyone got a Policy or advice on where we stand?- as I need to speak with mum (not the messenger grandma) re; rights of both parents?

HELP PLEASE - new mum to the group, and I don't want to start off with 'an issue' already.

Thanks

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I usually use the excuse that the mother hasn't given us permission for any one else, it gives you time to contact mothers. I make the point of finding out how much the fathers are in the picture and if they are likely turn up. I had a child years ago who's father was divorced from the mother but they were having arguements, and it was a social work who told me to get it in writing when there was problems from a solicitor if a father didn't have the right to see the child. I always take it that the father has as much right a the mother. Sometimes you need the "thinking time" though when you are confronted by a father who you've probably heard stories about. Hate can make some mothers blinkered to what iss possibly a loving father.

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