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Labour Whip calls for state-funded parenting courses for separated couples

Godfrey Farrugia warns couples falsely separating, mothers falsely registering childrens' fathers as 'anonymous' so as to claim undue social benefits 

Tim Diacono
16 February 2016, 12:52pm
Labour Whip Godfrey Farrugia has urged the government to establish specifically-designed courses for couples about to get separated or divorced, as well as for single parents.

Speaking in his parliamentary adjournment, Farrugia warned that children often suffer as a result of their parents undergoing a separation or a divorce.

“The definition of what constitutes parenthood has widened significantly in the past 30 years, and now also includes separated couples, single parents, grandparents, and homosexual people in civil unions,” he said.

The Labour Whip later told MaltaToday that the country must tackle the reality of mothers falsely registering their children’s fathers as anonymous, so as to claim social benefits applicable for single mothers.

He warned that separating couples also abuse the marriage system –when the main breadwinner refuses to cough up maintenance to the ex-spouse, and when couples separate on paper but still live together so as to claim social benefits.

He added that some parents are abusing the milk grant – the social assistance due to mothers on the poverty line whose babies require weaning or who cannot breastfeed for medical reasons. 

“Some of these beneficiaries are obtaining milk from other sources and using the milk grant money on other items,” he said, while calling for the grant to be replaced by a voucher system.

Farrugia was recently elected chairperson of the family affairs standing committee, succeeding Deborah Schembri following her appointment as parliamentary secretary for planning.

During his adjournment, he said he intends to convene committee meetings to discuss these and other parenting issues with experts in the field, with the intention of proposing legislation in the House.



Tim Diacono is a journalist at MaltaToday