Nation e-Edition

Fathers too

Fathers too Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley (Fp)

Thu, November 01, 2012 - 12:10 AM

Fathers will also be able to apply for maintenance for their children through the new child maintenance fund when it is up and running.

Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley said that the introduction of a child maintenance fund was to assist mothers whose child support payments had been delayed. However, he said that there were still many more interventions to be implemented to further assist in the care and protection of the children.

Speaking yesterday at the ceremony to announce Barbados’ Champion for Children, attorney-at-law Faith Marshall-Harris, at United Nations House, Lashley said that the Maintenance Act would be amended to ensure that fathers could apply for child maintenance at the Magistrates’ Court.

Last week Tuesday during the debate in the House of Assembly, Lashley said that the child maintenance fund would provide $50 per week for each child not supported financially by its father and would be administered through the Magistrates’ Court.   (LK)

Please read the full story in today’s DAILY NATION, or in the eNATION edition.

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Posted by Anthony MAP 1 year, 12 months ago
Interesting! Seems like an after thought but good nonetheless...

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Posted by Carl Harper 1 year, 12 months ago
This change of heart by Minister Lashley to allow fathers to access the child maintenance fund, and seek child support through the magistrate's court instead of being discriminated against by having to apply via the high court, is nothing but an elections afterthought.

Not one word was mentioned about fathers being recipients of the $50 per week/child during the recent debate in Parliament, when the fund legislation was piloted and passed. Instead, DLP MPs castigated men for not living up to their responsibilities toward their children, while the practice of throwing delinquent fathers in prison still exists.

Outside of MESA, I was perhaps Government's harshest critic of the inequity in the justice system, where men could only seek redress in the high court to obtain child maintenance - at expensive legal costs - while women went freely to the magistrate's court in their numbers.

Most men don't bother to go to court for maintenance because the cost of retaining the services of a lawyer is prohibitive, and that in itself, is a deterrent. They just get on with the task of raising their children without complaint, and with no contribution from the mothers.

The Minister now needs to turn his attention to having women reimburse men who pay child maintenance for children they were wrongfully accused of fathering, and the fees for paternity tests that reveal they are not the fathers of those children.

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Posted by D. Stoute 1 year, 12 months ago
I think we all know that historically too many men in Barbados have been remiss in their obligations to the children they help to create. It would be interesting to find out the percentage of men who are the sole caregivers for their children. I suspect it's not that high. Making the same child maintenance now available to fathers does appear to be an afterthought; nevertheless, it was done.

What needs to happen is that the interest of THE CHILDREN must always be first and foremost, not the gripes of males/females. Both parents - custodial and non-custodial - need to be held accountable for the welfare of the children they create, and the courts needs to legislate in these matters in a way that is fair to both parties. We need to start putting children first.

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