Hodge warns on how parental splits can damage the mental health of children

Children who experience the divorce or separation of their parents
are just as likely as children in care to have mental health
problems, said Margaret Hodge.

At a fringe event organised by children’s charity NCH, the minister
for children said children in care experienced significant trauma.
However, the same proportion of children of divorcing or separating
parents suffer mental health problems, she said.

Hodge emphasised that the green paper Parental Separation:
Children’s Needs and Parents’ Responsibilities
asked if there
was more the government could do.

“The government wants to prevent the acrimony that leads to
distress and look at how to settle disputes quickly and outside the
adversarial court environment,” she said.

Children and families court advisory and support service Cafcass
should also concentrate on “problem-solving rather than
report-writing”, and better court decisions need to be implemented,
added Hodge.

Judges should also be given a wider range of options for parents
who do not comply with orders – currently, they can only fine or
imprison them.

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