Dads Can is a Lottery funded project managed by Monmouthshire Housing Association (MHA) providing opportunities and support to fathers and father figures across Monmouthshire and Newport.
In the last year the Dads Can team have been working closely with local Family Law solicitors Rubin Lewis O’Brien who have saved our dads tens of thousands of pounds in free legal advice and support.
Ruben Lewis O’Brien family Law Solicitor Rhys Warren, has championed the cause of the project and is passionate about the support he provides, he stated that “if you can give something back then you should, we are all human in this world and every child deserves to be able to know their father if possible”.
Katie Double, Dads Can Co-ordinator said: “Many dads struggle with expensive court costs, especially those working in low paid jobs trying to turn their lives around, they often face difficulties in getting legal help from the government. Quite often it’s only through the goodwill of people like Rhys Warren that our dads have a fighting chance of gaining access to their children.”
Statistics demonstrate that 1 in 3 children live without their father in the UK and the absence of fathers is linked to higher rates of teenage crime, pregnancy and disadvantage.
Research also states that the government spends £6,000 dealing with the fallout from family breakdown and just £1 helping to keep families together.
One of our dads said, "I contacted Dads Can and the level of support was amazing. They pointed me in the direction of a solicitors firm that could help me. Mr Rhys Warren who really listened to me and gave me brilliant advice. He settled my case and I couldn't have asked for a better outcome given how difficult the situation was. Thank you Rhys for all your hard work. I would recommend any dad in difficulty to contact Dads Cans.
Shane Hatherall, Dads Can Development Worker said, "working in partnership, with Rubin Lewis O’Brien has provided a valuable opportunity for dads to resolve disputes around child access much faster. Before dads are referred to the project they are often depressed, anxious and feel let down by society. However, with the support from the solicitors combined with the emotional encouragement from the Dads Can team, we are able to help dads build a brighter future".
Dads Can has worked with 120 dads this year and 10 children have been removed from the child protection register. The project has helped dads access counselling, driving lessons and regularly hosts dads only sessions such as dry stone walling, paintballing and going to see the rugby. The team also support ‘dads’ in attending meetings with social services and court and taking families out for a day of fun filled activities that are having a hard time.
References: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-22820829# & (Office for National Statistics 2012)