READER REPORT:

Where have the dads gone?

INNIS TUTAGALEVAO
Last updated 14:30 29/11/2012

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When I read sad stories about defenceless babies being killed by men who aren't their biological father, I bow my head in respect and thank the man upstairs that my son's stepdad is a great person.

I am one of the lucky ones. My son had a new dad enter his life in the early 2000s. It's funny seeing your son have someone else mentor him day-to-day. Some dads might be resentful. For some reason, that never happened with him and I. I got to know him and learned what a great man he is. I'm grateful he understood how much my son and I love each other and he's never tried to squash the relationship we have.

As more and more stories of these tragic events come to light, I start to ask, "where are the biological dads?".

Why are they not encouraged to be a part of their child's life, even though their relationship with the mother has come to an end? Are they that irresponsible? Uncaring, perhaps? Maybe. And that is their failing.

But, if they have fallen by the wayside due to other factors, then maybe it's time for some changes.

Maybe the appropriate authorities need to take a harder line, or even look at things differently. The authorities need to do more research. Why can't they hunt down the birth father and ask them some simple questions like, "do you love your child?", "do you want to be part of his\her life?". If the answer is yes, then make it happen!

Step in and say that the well-being of the child is more important than trying to establish a new family. If the mother is in a relationship and the new bloke is jealous or resentful of any children she may have from a past relationship, then the biological father can look after the child until the issues are resolved.

I have no problems with supporting mums by way of the Domestic Purposes Benefit etc, but maybe it's time to set some conditions on assistance. Have qualified people visit the environment on a regular basis. Have them ensure the environment is safe for the baby, make helpful suggestions and act if it's not. This is only my opinion, but being a dad who has had their child grow up safely and happily away from him, I'm only hoping other kids get to as well.

The safety of the child needs to be paramount. The chance for that child to grow and enjoy life need to be paramount.

When I see my son, now a teenager enjoying life as he should do, it makes me smile. I just wish some of the babies who have died because of the callous actions of stepdad's/mum's boyfriend were given that chance too. I hope that other babies in the care of a new man don't suffer a similar fate.


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