Monday, December 6, 2004

Social worker helps father win custody battle

Social workers generally get a bad press from fathers' organisations but in an Irish Times (premium content) article (Dads doing it themselves) by Kitty Holland on 6th December, a father credits a social worker with the fact that he was able to keep his children.

David Donlea, a 37 year old Corkman, had been urged by his family and even by the GardaĆ­ (police, called to the house during arguments) to leave his wife. But he was unwilling to leave his children, a boy and twin girls, and in the end it was she who left.

She brought the twins with her and refused him access. But his daughters asked to see him and a social worker visited him to ask him to do so. At the visit to his children, overseen by the social worker, he broke down in tears and so did his daughters. The social worker helped him to apply for custody of the children and he won.

The number of lone-parent families in the Republic increased from 129,116 in 1996 to 153,863 in 2002, Holland reports. Of these, 20,834 were headed by a man in 1996 and 23,499 in 2002.

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