Project information

Strengthening families after separation

The FNF helpline has been set up to ensure that any parent in distress as a result of a disagreement over their children can reach someone who will help them. This will ensure that a crisis does not escalate and that rational and child-centred solutions are found to difficult situations.

It is ongoing

Charity information: Families Need Fathers – because both parents matter

Families Need Fathers – because both parents matter logo
  • Need


    When a parent is faced with loss of contact with their children they can become very desperate. It is often the case that they can no longer see a way forward. Many parents (usually fathers) who are denied contact may also decide that they have no choice but to walk away from their children as the barriers to seeing them are too high. These children consequently find themselves at great disadvantage, whether socially, educationally, financially or emotionally.


    Where conflict is minimised and contact with both parents is maintained after separation, the outcomes for children are greatly improved. Father involvement is also known to place children at reduced risk and improve their social, emotional, and educational attainment as well as improve their relationships on a wider level. FNF therefore works with the parent without care, as well as the wider family to ensure that a child can maintain a relationship with both parents after separation.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To help parents in crisis find a way forward to maintaining their relationship with their children.


    » A helpline staffed by volunteers who are able to provide support and information to those needing help.
    » 50 branches nationwide where individuals can get ongoing emotional and practical support as well as with their legal cases.
    » Workshops to train volunteers in how to deal with individuals in crisis situations.

    Success will be measured by individuals being able to speak to someone on the helpline, and being encouraged to work at the parental relationship for the sake of the children.

  • Impact


    As a result of the helpline, more parents will maintain a relationship with their children after separation, and children will benefit from the continued involvement of both their parents. This will result in stronger family and emotional relationships and will improve the outcomes in life for those children involved .
    Success will be measured by more people using the helpline, and by the ability to extend the helpline working hours from weekday evenings to day time too.


    Recruiting and retaining volunteers for the helpline is an ongoing challenge. Working on the helpline requires a great deal of commitment from individuals. Furthermore, being subjected to emotionally draining experiences on an ongoing basis, many soon suffer from burn-out. This is something we understand, which means that the process of recruiting and training needs to happen on a continuous basis.


    Funders of this project will receive an update every couple of months, detailing progress, challenges and an insight in to the activities.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £42,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £12,000 Training Training and development of 20 helpline volunteers
      £30,000 Helpline Coordinator Salary and employment costs of person who recruits, trains, organises and supports the volunteers
  • Background


    As separation affects people from all walks of life, the helpline serves people throughout the UK - we even have services tailored for Scottish law as well as Welsh speakers.
    Helpline volunteers can work from home - they are linked to a central server that routes the phonecalls and allows them to log the information on each call.


    Each year around 280,000 parental couples separate – one hundred children a day lose contact with their father. It is known that where separation goes badly and where children are drawn into parental conflict, or suffer the loss of a loved parent, then the effects can be profoundly damaging for children. In order to counteract this, FNF seeks to support separating and separated parents achieve non-adverserial, child-centred outcomes, and help them maintain constructive relationships.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Families Need Fathers is the only organisation of it kind. Not only do we provide emotional, practical and legal support, but we also campaign for change, and have strong relationships at government level that enable us to represent the views of our beneficiaries. Leading agencies such as NSPCC, Citizens Advice Bureaus and CSA refer individuals to us for our specialist support which are provided by people who have had direct experience of the problems faced by non-resident parents.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Anthony Esler

    Anthony has been with FNF for over 20 years as a member, then as a volunteer. He now coordinates and supports the work of the helpline volunteers

    Joyce Brown

    Joyce has been with FNF since 2004 and is a volunteer on the helpline, having had previous experience with the Samaritans. She has three grandchildren

The FNF helpline gives Dads the support they need to carry on doing what is best for their kids, and not give up hope.

Anthony Esler