About the project

Following Young Fathers Further is a research study based at the University of Lincoln. The study involves close partnership working with young fathers and professionals to understand the experiences and support needs of young fathers (aged 25 and under) and to promote a more father-inclusive approach to support in the UK.

Illustration of height chart with skateboard
Catherine Fortey

The project began in January 2020 but is linked to another study called Following Young Fathers, which ran from 2012 to 2015. Eleven of our participants have been involved in both studies!

Through a number of different projects, Following Young Fathers Further has sought to co-create new ways of embedding father-inclusive research, practice and policy in the UK. Our approach to this includes:

Looking at existing research to better understand what is already known about young fatherhood in different countries around the world.

Working together with young fathers and practitioners in the UK to develop and co-create new and innovative forms of father-inclusive support, including the Grimsby Dads Collective and DigiDAD.

Interviewing young fathers in the UK and Sweden to compare their parenting experiences and support needs in different countries and policy systems.

Working with young fathers and professionals in a variety of creative and visual ways over an extended period of time to develop a better understanding of the joys and challenges of being a young father.

Building this brand new one-stop community of young dads, professionals, researchers and others, with an interest in how we better support young parents and their families, is key to all that we are doing.

There is always more that we need to learn, especially about the vital importance of young fathers in the lives of their children and how we can better support young fathers and their families to live well.

We therefore continue to work in partnership with young fathers, professionals from education, health, criminal justice, family and youth support services and others, to promote father-inclusive approaches to practice.

Explore our website to find out more about how you can get involved in shaping new visions of young fatherhood and father-inclusive practice.

…all the benefits that come with dads being more involved in their children’s lives equate to benefits for families more broadly.  I think any sort of project that promotes like a level of equality for particular groups is beneficial to everyone, not just the group that it’s supporting (Coram Family and Childcare, Young Dads Collective Manager)


The Following Young Fathers Further team are based at the University of Lincoln in the East Midlands of England. With thanks to our funders, UK Research & Innovation, who have supported the study via their prestigious Future Leaders Fellowship research scheme.

Watch our short 2 minute video explaining the project and what it's all about.

For more information about the study you can read our latest report.

Download Final Report Series 1pdf

Read our latest report series, published in December 2023 to mark the first four years of outcomes from the study.

Featured report

Final report series 2023

Co-creating with young fathers

This eight-part report series reports on our findings and the innovations from the Following Young Fathers Further study between January 2020 and December 2023. These have been launched at the final conference, which took place in Lincoln on Thursday 7th December 2023.

We intend to develop further outputs from the study, supported by an additional three years of funding that will extend our work again to January 2027. So watch this space!

Toolkit front cover

From our partners and young dads

[Speaking about support of young fathers] We’ve done a lot of kind of advocation and representing them, a lot of the time there’s involvement with statutory services. They don’t have the care of the young person, the care’s provided by the state or the mother, so we’ve attended lots of meetings with the young person to offer additional support and facilitated contact where necessary and offered just general emotional wellbeing, support, improving robustness and resilience, encouraging them to have as amicable relationship as possible.

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Housing Charity

And I suppose it goes back to what we were saying before about behaviours, maybe the education side of stuff and the fact that men aren’t involved in those early conversations, you know, whether it is, I know they’re invited to come along to bumps to babies but I don’t know whether we go into the detail around some of that brain development side of stuff and things like that. Maybe that is the thing that really would change things. You know, if you were given all of that information about what happens to a child as they grow, in a scientific way, as easy to understand as possible, could be the thing that impacted on behaviour in the home.

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Children's Charity

I think both a mother and father combined, it’s communicating and both being on the same page of what’s best for your child or children, and for both, it’s just being there 100% for them and not, like, putting yourself first, it’s, you know, putting the child’s interests first...

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Jock, 33
I was 23 when I had my child

We need to be including, we need to not [just] be focusing on mum and child […] That’s a great focus but dad … dad’s not invisible, dad needs to be in the picture as well because there’s research that shows you the effect it has on children and families as a whole when dad isn’t in the picture, so services need to be changing the way in which they work so it’s more inclusive.

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Children and Families Support Organisation

Cause I think a lot of the time, some of young people who end up having children have been through the care system or support systems and they can feel quite judged or labelled by organisations and it’s breaking the cycle and breaking them out of that to feel empowered to be able to take stuff back, that’s the real interest to me. So, it’s about getting support right, as in being there and giving advice and guidance and all them things that we can do, but also making sure that we are doing with people as opposed to people.

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Children's Charity

One of the most successful projects we ever did was an informal dads’ group, and it used to be on Saturdays […] they did what they wanted, they used to do things like breakfast, and they would have breakfast together and talk about dad stuff and where they were taking their kids. And that group was always really well attended because there was never an agenda. They were never judged. They were just there together.

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Children and Families Support Organisation

...the whole stay at home dad thing is not something to be ashamed of, you know, if you’re a dad and you wanna take your daughter out for the day, or you wanna take your kid out for the day on your own, well why is that frowned upon, why can’t you take your child out for the day

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Toby, 26
I was 24 when I had my first child.

Oh…patience…compassion…tolerance, a whole boatload a’ that!  Honestly, I like a whole lot of life.  Sacrifice…compromise, yeah I think, yeah I think they, they would be the, the big, the five, I feel, I think that was five, they would be the main. 

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Ben, 31
I was 20 when I had my child

We’re currently in touch with social services for two [dads] because they don’t understand why they can’t see their children because they haven’t been informed by social services, their partner. So there’s a massive communication breakdown with those young men, so that’s the main focus of what we’re dealing with at the minute.

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Young Fathers' Support Organisation

Partners

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