Edinburgh support for dads and kids under threat

02/03/2020

News

One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS)’s vital support for single and separated dads and their children in Edinburgh is under threat as Edinburgh City Council is expected to reject an application to continue funding the service.

At OPFS we are concerned about the decision-making process and the recommendations to the Education, Children and Families Committee, which will meet to discuss the Third Party Grant decisions on Tuesday (3 March). We are urging councillors on the committee to reconsider and we are calling on all of our supporters to share their concerns about the process.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that prevention and early intervention with children in the early years has the greatest impact and brings the greatest return on investment, only 17% of the projects being funded involve children aged 0-5 and their parents.

The Edinburgh Lone Fathers Project has supported children and their fathers for the past 17 years.

We believe that the funding recommendations fall short of meeting the council’s commitment to address children’s poverty and offer preventative support to families who need help. Almost one in four children in Edinburgh are living in single parent homes, and those families are twice as likely to be living in poverty. By choosing not to fund any support dedicated to this large group of children from an overall budget of almost £10 million, citizens are entitled to question how committed the city is in combating child poverty.

"OPFS has a dads' club. You can go and meet other people. You can rant to other dads in the same situation. You can just have a conversation, because sometimes you just need that adult interaction and someone that has been through it. Because it’s a lot different for instance than a mum and a dad as they can just speak to each other, whereas I don’t have a partner to speak to."

- Scott, single dad, 27

Read Stephen’s story of becoming a single parent and getting support for himself and his son through our Edinburgh dads’ club.

Find out more about our Edinburgh service and the support it offers.

We feel it is crucial that this group of children have the same opportunities to develop positive relationships with their fathers as children whose parents live together. In particular, we have worked with many, many fathers who have taken on the full-time care of their children following child protection concerns regarding their child’s mother. In these situations, our support has been crucial to ensure that these children remain cared for by their family.

This has an invaluable impact on the children concerned, and at the same time saves the council a huge amount of money by keeping that child from being accommodated by the local authority. The cost of the Edinburgh Lone Fathers Project for one year is roughly equivalent to keeping one child out of care for that year, not to mention the savings and benefits over their whole childhood.

We are very aware of the difficult decisions being asked of the councillors in making these funding decisions. However, with some projects receiving two grants and many other long-standing projects such as ours receiving none, we are urging the committee to query the grant process and recommendations.

It is a matter of great concern to us that single parents and their children in Edinburgh will be left unable to access truly life-changing support.

Contact the councillors on the committee

If you are concerned about these funding decisions, please contact the councillors on the Education, Children and Families Committee and urge them to reconsider.

Find the councillors' details here

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