What Is Parental Responsibility (PR)?


Childcare News Rights & Responsibilities | by | 8th Jun 2016

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Parental Responsibility (PR) is explained in this guest article by Paul from FNF Both Parents Matter Cymru

Parental Responsibility or PR is an important legal issue which comes from the Children Act 1989. Someone who has PR can make decisions for, or about, children.

What is PR?

The law says that it ‘means all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property’. That might seem a bit scary but don’t worry because for most people it just means the sort of things that most parents do all the time, such as agreeing to medical treatment, school trips, setting up child savings accounts and so on.

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Who has PR?

Some people may be surprised that not every parent has Parental Responsibility for their own children. If you are a mum who gave birth to the child then you have PR. But if you are the father you may not have PR automatically. If mum and dad are married, then dad has PR. If dad is named on the birth certificate (from 1st December 2003) he also has PR.

If neither of these apply don’t worry because dads can get PR in a number of different ways including making a Parental Responsibility agreement with the mother, marrying the mother or being named as ‘the person with whom the child lives’ in a Child Arrangements Order. You can get more help about gaining PR for a child here.

Some of the important things about PR

People sometimes worry about making decisions for children whether or not they have Parental Responsibility. The law says that anyone who has care of a child but who doesn’t have PR may ‘do what is reasonable in all circumstances …..for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the child’s welfare’. That’s to make sure that anyone without PR such as grandparents, teachers and some dads are able to look after children, keep them safe and do what’s best for them (Section 3(5) of the Children Act 1989).


Next week we’ll be publishing a second blog from Paul from FNF Both Parents Matter Cymru. It will cover how to deal with issues around Parental Responsibility between parents, children’s rights and the role of schools. Keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to be the first to know when it’s live.

In the meantime if you’d like to find out about services available to you and your child in your area or would like to chat about family matters in general, get in touch with the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline.

  • Phone: 0300 222 57 57
  • Text: 07860 052 905
  • Instant message (see top of page)

We are open 6pm – 10pm Monday to Thursday and 10am – 2pm Friday & Saturday.


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