25 May 2021Update

Launching new findings from the Diverse Dads Collaborative project

On Wednesday 28th April 2021 we ran a sharing and learning webinar where we launched several new resources and research findings based on a recently concluded community led research study called ‘Diverse Dads’.

Diverse Dads was a collaborative project between the North East Young Dads and Lads Project (NEYDL) and the Following Young Fathers Further team based at the University of Lincoln. The project, which was funded by the University of Lincoln QR Strategic fund and NEYDL, was also supported by advisory members Connected Voice and FutureMen. An innovative peer and community led approach to research was employed that involved supporting young men and fathers to conduct research about support provision in their region. The project aimed to address a community identified gap in knowledge about how services might reach and support more young fathers from minoritised communities in the North East of England.

The findings challenge common assumptions that young fathers are ‘hard-to-reach’ and that localities are lacking in diversity. The peer research team found that understanding local demographics, mapping local and regional resources and building new partnerships with community leaders and across services are important steps in ensuring services are more accessible to young dads, especially those that are minoritised. When professionals listen actively to young fathers they can better understand them and develop a tailored and responsive approach that empowers them.

Multiple outputs have been produced from the study including training videos for professionals and two research reports. Foregrounding the voices and experiences of young fathers from diverse communities, alongside regional organisations in the North East who support them, the reports present cutting-edge findings and recommendations about how services might develop more inclusive support and outreach for a diverse constituency of young men who become fathers under the age of 25 years old.

Training videos produced by DigiDAD (please subscribe here) and a recording of the webinar are available on the Diverse Dads tab of the Following Young Fathers Further website. You can also access them using the links below.

The full report and Practice recommendations

The webinar:

The peer research team:

The dads:

The Professionals:

Please also follow the project on Twitter for future updates: @FollowingYFF.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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

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. 

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.

Young Fathers' Support Organisation


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