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Concern over absent father stats PDF Print E-mail
(0 Votes)
Written by BBC News   

One in four children in Wales have no contact with their biological father, a children's charity suggests.

In a poll of young people from the year 7-11 school age group, 24%, when asked, said they 'don't see' their father.

More than a quarter of 15-year-olds asked said they had tried cannabis, with the figure higher among those who did not feel close to their father.

Catch22, which commissioned the survey, said it underlined the importance of a good father child relationship.

The findings form a preliminary part of a report, Growing up with Dad, based on research carried out by Catch22, a charity that helps young people out of difficult situations.

Full analysis on the research, based on the views of 18,000 young people across Wales, is due to be published in May.

The fact that nearly a quarter of the children surveyed claimed to have no contact with their biological father is a sad indictment of the way we view the importance of these relationships

Tony Ivens, Children in Wales

The findings suggested that most children living with their father felt very close to him, and that boys were more likely than girls to feel that way.

Of those young people not currently living with their father, almost half said they still felt very close to him.

A total of 39% of 15-year-olds who said they did not feel close to their father admitted to having tried cannabis, compared to 24% of those who said they had a close father child relationship.

'Specific benefits'

The analysis showed a similar trend with respect to underage drinking and smoking.

Tony Ivens, of Children in Wales (CIW), an umbrella group for young people's organisations, said the research showed for the first time the specific benefits to young people in Wales of having an involved father in their lives.

He said: "Whilst traditional support for parents has focused on mothers, we now know that we must include fathers in the equation if we are to give our young people the best possible start in life.

THE SURVEY'S RESULTS

  • Children living with their father who feel close to him - 86%
  • Children not living with their father who still feel close to him - 47%
  • Boys who feel close to their father - 79%
  • Girls who feel close to their father - 69%
  • 15-year-olds who have tried cannabis - 28%
  • 15-year-olds close to their father who had tried cannabis - 24%
  • 15-year-olds not close to their father who had tried cannabis - 39%

 

Source: Growing up with Dad

Mr Ivens, CIW's Fatherhood Development Officer, added: "The fact that nearly a quarter of the children surveyed claimed to have no contact with their biological father is a sad indictment of the way we view the importance of these relationships.

"Our children have a right to a full family life, their well being benefits from it, and many of the outcomes they enjoy in later life depend on it.

"However families in Wales today come in a variety of shapes, sizes and models. This is particularly true in respect of fathers.

"Even when a father is not present on a day to day basis many young people still feel close to them.

"As a society we need to listen to the views of these young people and do more to support these relationships."

'Positive relationship'

Pat Dunmore of Catch22 said the findings showed the value of using an evidence-based approach to the issue.

Ms Dunmore said: "The research indicates that for children growing up in Wales having a positive relationship with your father is just as important as having a positive relationship with your mother.

"We need to level the playing field and include fathers for the sake of all our children."

The statistics were based on 17,933 questionnaires collected from young people in Years 7 to 11 who attended schools in four local authority areas in Wales during the 2004-05 school year.

The sample included 3465 questionnaires completed by 15 year olds.

 



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