One in Five Dads Lose Contact With Children When Families Break Up, Says Survey

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25th November 2013 13:00 - Central Government

According to new research it’s been estimated that of Britain’s 130,000 absent dads, one in five fathers lose contact with children from earlier relationships with more than one in five who live with second families never meeting the children born during earlier relationships. The research reveals that in total 129,000 fathers don’t have any contact with their children and 300,000 do not pay any money to support them.

The study carried out by NatCen research group and was based on a series of large-scale state and independent studies, including the British Household Panel Survey, which has followed the lives of more than 5,000 families for two decades. The research found that fathers of second families are twice as likely to lose all contact with children as men who remain single after their family breaks up. Earlier this year the Centre for Social Justice think tank found that a million children live in ‘men deserts’ meaning families without fathers and in neighbourhoods and schools where they rarely meet an adult male, which has raised concerns over the impact on children in single-parent families over the lack of men in their lives.

Furthermore the research discovered that 21% of fathers with second families admitted that have no contact at all with children from previous relationships with only 8% saying they have daily contact.  Only sixty nine per cent of fathers with two families say they have a close relationship with the children who don’t live with them compared to eighty six percent of fathers who have not had a second family remain close to the children from their earlier relationship.

The research goes on to conclude that the figures for non-resident fathers who do not pay maintenance to support their children are much lower than those accepted in Whitehall, where it has long been thought that well over a million men do not pay to support their children.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Margaret O’Brien of the Thomas Coram Research Unit which contributed to the study said: “It appears that some fathers may be losing contact with non-resident children when they start new families or when they are struggling financially.”

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