Separation from children is one of the major sources of stress which many veterans identify as hindering them in sustaining a tenancy long term. Veterans are more prone to homelessness than non-veterans and in Scotland veterans are 10% more likely to become homeless than in England. Servicemen and women have given so much for their country but we often forget that their children have too. Access to the resources for veterans to rebuild damaged relationships would be a small price to pay and make Scotland a better place for children to live.
The veterans I support have often left the forces a number of years ago and have had a chequered history of trying to reintegrate into civilian life and establish themselves in a permanent home. I work specifically with the resettlement of homeless veterans. They may have initially returned to the family home after being demobbed but then later suffered a relationship breakdown. Sometimes family breakdown is a result of mental health problems associated with experiences during armed conflicts.
After long periods of estrangement, rebuilding relationships is never easy.
When children and parents are getting to know each other again it is enormously helpful to be able to focus access visits around an activity that the child enjoys.
Even if children are relatively close by, veterans, like many others living on welfare benefits, find that they do not have any spare money for outings or activities with their children.
It is very easy for veterans to lose contact with their children, especially if they have to go to another part of the country to find an available place in homeless veterans accommodation. For those living on a single person’s JSA or ESA the cost of travelling to see their children is simply unaffordable.
The Scottish Government has decided to launch its National Parenting Strategy at Parenting Across Scotland’s 2012 conference, which is happening today. What do you think would make Scotland the best place in the world to bring up children? Let us know what you think by commenting here or tweet using the hashtag #pas12
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