§ Mr. Hopkins
To ask the Minister of State, Lord Chancellor's Department when he plans to implement the commitment that unmarried fathers will have the same responsibilities as married fathers under the Children Act 1989. 
§ Mr. Hoon
With one in three children born outside marriage, the Government want to encourage unmarried fathers to recognise their responsibilities towards their children. The Children Act 1989 already enables unmarried fathers to acquire parental responsibility either by making a parental responsibility agreement with the child's mother or by applying to the court for a parental responsibility order. When an appropriate legislative opportunity arises, the Government intend to introduce a 603W provision that unmarried fathers who sign the birth certificate jointly with the mother will acquire parental responsibility without further formality.