It’s Father’s Day and this year we are marking the occasion by releasing three brand new policy briefings about our work with young fathers and the professionals who support them.
In Policy Briefing One: ‘Key principles of father-inclusive practice’, we outline what we have learnt about the importance of father-inclusive approaches to professional practice based on our research with young fathers and with the professionals who support and champion them. We draw on existing evidence to explain what it means to be father-inclusive, highlight some of the key barriers and consider what works in practice.
Policy Briefing Two is called ‘Models of good practice for work with young fathers: cocreating knowledge about inclusive and intersectional approaches in the ‘Diverse Dads’ project’. In this briefing we present findings and approaches from the Diverse Dads project, a peer research study that supported young fathers from the North East Young Dads and Lads to research with their own community. This important work revealed the under-representation of minoritised young fathers in policy and practice and offers important recommendations for cocreating new knowledge about ways that services can improve outreach to, and support for, young fathers.
Policy Briefing Three: ‘Models of good practice for work with young fathers: the Grimsby Dads Collective case study’, discusses the value of cocreation methodology for implementing and evaluating new social interventions with, and for, young fathers and professionals with a focus on the Young Dads Collective. This briefing illustrates the value of collaborative knowledge generation between researchers, professionals, and communities/citizens for the purposes of service development. The ‘Young Dads Collective North’ and ‘Grimsby Dads Collective’ case studies are examples of “dynamic, locally adaptive community-academic partnerships” (Greenhalgh et al. 2016: 392), that are driving social change and impact through the promotion of father-inclusive practice and policy at local, regional and national levels.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and carers out there!
“[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.”
“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.”
“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... ”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“...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 ”
“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. ”
“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.”