Scottish Executive seeks to broaden application of parenting orders

    The definition of those who could be subject to a parenting
    order has been broadened in an executive amendment to the
    Anti-social Behaviour Bill, writes Maggie
    Wood.

    The amendment was passed in order to increase the scope of
    parenting orders which will now include any “relevant” person who
    ordinarily “has charge of or control of a child”. This will include
    unmarried fathers and step-parents.

    Prior to this amendment  only those with “parental
    responsibilities” could be made subject to a parenting order, which
    by law is defined under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

    This automatically applied to mothers, fathers who are or were
    married to the mother and to any individual who had sought to apply
    for parental responsibilities through the court.

    Mary Mulligan, deputy communities minister said that it was
    right that those with parental responsibilities could potentially
    be made subject to a Parenting Order.

    She added however: “There are others who we believe should
    be [covered] but are excluded; unmarried fathers would not be
    subject to Parenting Orders unless they have gone through the
    cumbersome process of applying for parental
    responsibilities.”

    As a result, the amendment to the bill will now substitute
    “relevant person” and will include unmarried fathers or
    step fathers who “could be held to account for deficient
    parenting in the same way as those with formal parental
    responsibilities.”

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