A look at the problem of absent fathers, including the views of former Labour minister, Frank Field. Keith, an absent father to eight children, all with different mothers, has difficulty remembering his children's names and discusses his situation. Research is outlined linking absent fatherhood to poverty and a general decline in the life chances of these children throughout the rest of their lives.

This clip is from:
Panorama, Britain's Missing Dads
First broadcast:
17 January 2011

Discuss what is meant by the term 'feckless father'. How is the father in the clip different from traditional fathers? Look at the long-term effects that he will have on his children and their mothers. Explore other ways in which gender roles have changed. Discuss whether there is a suggestion of a change in societal values in the clip. Students could collect statistics for one parent families, and investigate movements which give support to willing, separated fathers. Learners could investigate how childhood and parenthood has altered over the years, and link the evidence to societal changes. Encourage them to use statistics, figures and diagrams to create a report. They could consider what the Children's Act suggests for the relationship between children and parents. In groups, students could discuss how the New Right would view feckless fathers, and consider whether the welfare state encourages men to be feckless.